Holding by Graham Norton
Hodder, 2017 (first published 2016)
The old lady turned, her expression suitably shocked and intrigued. Pleased by her reaction, PJ continued. ‘I’m after finding a body.’
‘A human body!’
He had waited his whole life to utter those words, and it felt as good as he had always imagined.
‘God spare us!’ Mrs Meany gasped and raised both hands to her neck as if gathering close an imaginary cardigan. ‘Where?’
Beatlebone by Kevin Barry
And the season is at its cusp, as if this is the night precisely that spring will give way to summer, as if it is all arranged in advance, at celestial council, and the world soon will throw back its doors and open out its moments.
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
Faber & Faber, 2015
Just know one thing, young comrade. When the hour’s too late for rescue, it’s still early enough for revenge. So let me hear your promise again. Promise me you’ll hate the Briton till the day you fall from your wounds or the heaviness of your years.
Candide by Voltaire
Penguin Popular Classic, 2001 (first published 1759)
‘It is demonstrable’, Pangloss would say, ‘that things cannot be other than they are. For, since everything is made for a purpose, everything must be for the best possible purpose. Noses, you observe, were made to support spectacles: consequently, we have spectacles. Legs, it is plain, were created to wear breeches, and are supplied with them. Stone was made to be quarried, and built into castles: that is why his lordship has such a fine castle – for the greatest baron in the province must also of necessity be the best housed. Pigs were made to be eaten: so we eat pork all the year round. It follows that those who say that everything is good are talking foolishly: what they should say is that everything is for the best.
Oh My God, What A Complete Aisling – The Novel by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen
Gill Books, 2017
I was not in the mood to be sharing the lift with happy partygoers. Probably going to spend the night off their heads on bang-bangs or yippers or whatever keeps them up until 11 a.m. the next morning talking shite. I heard some of Majella’s neighbours one time I stayed over, talking absolute nonsense in their garden at six in the morning about giant squirrels. You wouldn’t catch me at that.
Stay With Me by Ayòbámi Adébáyò
I turned to look Akin in the eyes, hoping that somehow he was not part of the ambush. His gaze held mine in a silent plea. My already-stiff smile slipped. Rage closed its flaming hands around my heart. There was a pounding in my head, right between my eyes.
Wonder by RJ Palacio
Corgi (Penguin Random House), 2014
I know I’m not an ordinary ten-year-old kid. I mean, sure, I do ordinary things. I eat ice cream. I ride my bike. I play ball. I have an XBox. Stuff like that makes me ordinary I guess. And I feel ordinary. Inside. But I know ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. I know ordinary kids don’t get stared at wherever they go.