The season is nearly upon us. For the Northern Hemisphere, it’s almost time for curling up by the fire with a warm beverage and a book. For the Southern Hemisphere, it’s time to stock up on reading material for camping adventures, sunbathing on beaches, and whiling away hours in city parks.
Get your iPads, e-readers, and old-fashioned bookshelves ready. These are the best new books to read this December.
The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar: Evolution’s Most Unbelievable Solutions to Life’s Biggest Problems
The Glyptapanteles wasp injects a caterpillar with her young – which then feed on the victim, erupt out of it, and mind-control the poor (and somehow still living) schmuck into protecting them from predators. These are just one of the curious critters of The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar, a jaunt through evolution’s most unbelievable and ingenious solutions to the problems of everyday life. Join Wired science writer Matt Simon as he introduces you to the creatures that have it all figured out, the ones that joust with their mustaches or choke sharks to death with snot, all in a wild struggle to survive and, of course, find true love.
It is 1994, and in the desert near Tillman, Arizona, forty miles from Tucson, a grand experiment involving the future of humanity is underway. As climate change threatens the earth, eight scientists, four men and four women dubbed the “Terranauts,” have been selected to live under glass in a prototype of a possible off-earth colony. Told through three distinct narrators, The Terranauts brings to life an electrifying, pressured world in which connected lives are uncontrollably pushed to the breaking point. Author T.C. Boyle indelibly inhabits the perspectives of the various players in this survivalist game with his characteristic humour and acerbic wit.
One of the most hotly anticipated releases of the year, Swing Time is an ambitious, exuberant new novel from the multi-award-winning author of White Teeth and On Beauty. The story takes place between London and West Africa, following the diverging lives of two young girls who begin as friends in dance class. Kirkus called the novel a “moving, funny, and grave” exploration of friendship, race, class, dance, and global politics. The Guardian called it “Smith’s finest novel yet.”
The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream
Are we living the good life? And what defines ‘good,’ anyway? Americans today are constructing a completely different framework for success than their parents’ generation, using new metrics that TED speaker and On Being columnist Courtney Martin has termed collectively the “New Better Off.” The New Better Off puts a name to the American phenomenon of rejecting the traditional dream of a 9-to-5 job, home ownership, and a nuclear family structure, illuminating the alternate ways Americans are seeking happiness and success today.
Following on the heels of his New York Times bestselling novel Telegraph Avenue, Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon delivers another literary masterpiece: a novel of truth and lies, family legends, and existential adventure—and the forces that work to destroy us. Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession of a man the narrator refers to only as “my grandfather.” It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and marriage and desire, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at midcentury, and, above all, of the destructive impact—and the creative power—of keeping secrets and telling lies.
Men and Style: Essays, Interviews, and Considerations
Men and Style reaches beyond standard “what to wear” advice. It is equal parts style guide and intriguing conversation about the masculine identity within the world of fashion. David Coggins explores the history of men’s style and learns from some of the most notable tastemakers in the industry and beyond, sharing their wisdom via a collection of essays and interviews. These singular men have lived well, and any magnificent bastard stands to learn something from their exploits and worldviews.
A Gambler’s Anatomy
The author of Motherless Brooklyn and The Fortress of Solitude returns Every Cannibals in Love
Soulful, gritty, and hilarious, Cannibals in Love is the debut novel from a bold new voice in fiction, and a manifesto for the generation that came of age at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Mike Roberts tells his post-9/11 tale of love, self-destruction, absurdity, and ambition in eighteen vignettes, weaving tender moments and summer idylls with violent late nights and the frustrations of the Millennial generation. The novel dives deep into the guts of masculinity and identity in the age of the Internet, and Roberts joins an emerging group of young writers who are redefining the contemporary novel.
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Noah illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty.
The Association Of Small Bombs
When brothers Tushar and Nakul Khurana, two Delhi schoolboys, pick up their family’s television set at a repair shop with their friend Mansoor Ahmed one day in 1996, disaster strikes without warning. A bomb—one of the many “small” bombs that go off seemingly unheralded across the world—detonates in the Delhi marketplace, instantly claiming the lives of the Khurana boys, to the devastation of their parents. Mansoor survives, bearing the physical and psychological effects of the bomb, and eventually becomes entangled with a fearless young activist. Karan Mahajan writes brilliantly about the effects of terrorism on victims and perpetrators, leading The Association Of Small Bombs to be hailed as one of the best books of 2016 by Buzzfeed, Esquire, Time magazine, Vulture.com, and others.
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