Have you ever noticed that not that many books come out in December? It’s true. It’s a publishing thing. Exactly when people are in stores shopping for holiday gifts, new releases are scarcer than ever. The good news is the books that do come out in December can get even more attention. So look for these titles when you’re running around crazy trying to find the perfect gifts. They’ll be hot off the press and can help you cross all your loved ones off the list.
‘Bed Stuy: A Love Story’ by Jerry McGill
Rashid, a young Black man from Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, falls in love, unexpectedly, with Rachel, a married woman 20 years older than he is, and who is also the daughter of a Holocaust survivor. But how will this end?! Will love conquer all or are there too many barriers to cross, including race, religion, and, um, her being married?!?
‘Tell Me How to Be’ by Neel Patel
This debut novel about an Indian-American family has all the right ingredients: family secrets, love, sexuality, loss, identity questions and remorse. Renu is a widow whose husband passed away a year earlier and now she’s going back and rethinking an ex from 35 years ago. Her songwriter son, Akash, is gay and lives in Los Angeles, but has never gotten over the heartbreak of his first relationship. When they meet to pack up the family home, all sorts of things from the past bubble up.
‘Beasts of a Little Land’ by Juhea Kim
This sweeping novel about love, war and redemption takes place alongside the Korean independence movement. A young girl and a destitute hunter’s son have fates that are intertwined, thanks in part to a tiger, deep in the snow in 1917. The story, which spans five decades and includes the search for independence, takes us from Pyongyang and Seoul to the forests of Manchuria, in a truly immersive way.
‘The Twelve Monotasks: Do One Thing at a Time to Do Everything Better’ by Thatcher Wine
My mother always told me to slow down and “do one thing at a time.” Turns out, that age-old advice really is the best. If only I would listen. Thatcher Wine, Founder & CEO of Juniper Books, really wants to get his point across and spends this book teaching us how to maintain focus on just one thing. This book just might change your entire life. If you can stay focused long enough to read it.
‘Bright Burning Things’ by Lisa Harding
This book is so good. Lyrical, poetic and sparsely written, each word in Lisa Harding’s novel has a point. And the point, it seems, is to pull us into the interior life of Sonya, a former actress with quite a life behind her, whose life stage of motherhood comes with alcoholism. As Sonya struggles against her addiction to be there for her son, she is caught between what she feels compelled to do and what she loves. Told in brilliant scenes and heartbreaking moments, “Bright Burning Things” is a fantastic read.
‘Sea State’ by Tabitha Lasley
Author Tabitha Lasley’s memoir about her investigation into a book on oil rigs yielded another book -- this one! -- about her six months in Scotland researching a work community without women. Her presence there set off a sea change among the men and threatens the journalistic framework she set out with. When she starts a dalliance with a married rig worker, all bets are off.
‘Apparently There Were Complaints’ by Sharon Gless
You might recognize Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actress Sharon Gless from the TV shows “Cagney & Lacey,” “Queer as Folk,” “Burn Notice” or the other zillion things she has been in. Her memoir, which she wrote after five decades in Hollywood, goes all the way back to her own parents’ divorce, her struggle with alcoholism and her journey to the screen, big and small.
‘Call Us What We Carry’ by Amanda Gorman
When Amanda Gorman read her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, the nation held its breath in reverence. Talent is an understatement. Now she has released an expanded collection of poetry that promises to secure her station as America’s leading poet.
‘Everyday Trauma: Remapping the Brain’s Response to Stress, Anxiety and Painful Memories for a Better Life’ by Dr. Tracey Shors
Trauma doesn’t end when the traumatic event ends. It impacts our brains, especially women’s brains. Neuroscientist Dr. Tracey Shors explains more about trauma and how it can happen at any time and then can re-emerge as an encoded memory. She said when we relive the trauma in our minds, our brain duplicates the memory (like copy and paste), which makes it stick even more. The lasting impact includes anxiety, depression, addiction and more, but there’s hope and Dr. Shors has a unique program to counteract the detrimental effects of trauma.
‘The Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again’ by Catherine Price
Fun. What does fun even look like in this COVID era? My husband points out that whenever I like something, I describe it as “fun.” But what do I even mean?! Catherine Price helped us stave off phone addiction in her first book, “How To Break Up With Your Phone,” and now tackles how to have fun in a tech-central world. This doesn’t mean scrolling on a phone. Instead, it involves flow, connection and playfulness.
‘My Darling Husband’ by Kimberly Belle
Kimberly Belle is the bestselling author of “Dear Wife” and “The Marriage Lie.” Now she has a new thriller coming out about Jade and Cam Lasky, a happily married couple with two kids and a great business, whose lives were going splendidly until a masked invader broke into their home and demanded a ransom or else he would hurt their kids. Turns out this was not the best time for Cam to tell Jade that he was actually in debt and that the restaurant business wasn’t working out as well as he’d made it seem. But wait: Jade suddenly realizes the invader’s eyes look familiar. Was the invasion not as random as it seemed?! Hold onto your hats as things happen at a break-neck pace.
‘Find Your Unicorn Space: Reclaim Your Creative Life in a Too-Busy World’ by Eve Rodsky
Eve Rodsky’s groundbreaking book on gender norms and the household division of labor, “Fair Play,” was talked about in book clubs and bedrooms all over. Now Rodsky tackles personal goal-setting and how to find what really makes you tick. Unless we all prioritize making time for our “things,” particularly creative endeavors, we might always feel like something is missing.