The 10 Best Books of 2023, According to the New York Times

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Last week, the New York Times released its 100 Notable Books of 2023. That wasn’t their only contribution to this year’s Best Books of Year list landscape, though: today, they posted their 10 Best Books of 2023.

These are the five fiction and five nonfiction books that the staff of the New York Times agree are the best of the year — after a lot of debate. If you want to browse the long list of all 100, check out their previous list.

Some of the New York Times top ten are consistent across other lists we’ve seen recently, like Chain-Gang All-Stars and Master Slave Husband Wife. Others have seen less attention on other best books of the year lists, like Bottoms Up and the Devil Laughs. See all ten below.

Fiction

The Bee Sting by Paul Murray: “This is a book that showcases one family’s incredible love and resilience even as their world crumbles around them.”

the cover of North Woods

Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah: “The United States of Chain-Gang All-Stars is like ours, if sharpened to absurd points.”

Eastbound by Maylis de Kerangal: “The insecurity of existence across this vastness and on board the train emphasizes the significance of human connection.”

The Fraud by Zadie Smith: “As always, it is a pleasure to be in Zadie Smith’s mind, which, as time goes on, is becoming contiguous with London itself.”

North Woods by Daniel Mason: “Mason’s ambitious, kaleidoscopic novel ushers readers over the threshold of a house in the wilds of western Massachusetts and leaves us there for 300 years and almost 400 pages”

Nonfiction

The Best Minds by Jonathan Rosen: “The Best Minds is a thoughtfully constructed, deeply sourced indictment of a society that prioritizes profit, quick fixes and happy endings over the long slog of care.”

the cover of Some People Need Killing

Bottoms Up and the Devil Laughs by Kerry Howley: “…a book that is riveting and darkly funny and, in all senses of the word, unclassifiable.”

Fire Weather by John Vaillant: “…the real protagonist here is the fire itself: an unruly and terrifying force with insatiable appetites.”

Master Slave Husband Wife by Ilyon Woo: “…Woo’s immersive rendering, which conjures the Crafts’ escape in novelistic detail, is equally a feat — of research, storytelling, sympathy and insight.”

Some People Need Killing by Patricia Evangelista: “Offering the intimate disclosures of memoir and the larger context of Philippine history, Evangelista also pays close attention to language, and not only because she is a writer.”

Check out the full list with commentary, as well as links to their reviews, at the New York Times.

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.

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