It’s December, apparently. Are we reading? We’re still reading. What are we reading? Books. Which books? Maybe some of these. The end of the year traditionally brings a very intriguing assortment of titles, and this year is no exception. Looking for strange, genre-defying work? We’ve got that, sure. Seeking sharply-written nonfiction? We’ve got that covered as well. Here are some December books that have caught our eye.
Eugen Bacon, The Road to Woop Woop and Other Stories
(Dec. 1, Meerkat Press)
Do you like your fiction to avoid easy genre classification? Well then! You might have read Eugen Bacon’s exploration of her own work here earlier this week; you might well have just been drawn in by the excellent cover artwork. If fresh and original work piques your interest, get ready for an abundance of it here.
Mark de Silva, Points of Attack
(Dec. 1, CLASH Books)
As big admirers of his novel Square Wave and his work at the journal 3:AM, we’ve been eager to see what Mark de Silva would do next for a few years now. Th answer, it turns out, is an essay collection. Points of Attack explores global issues and personal struggles, offering readers a wide-ranging exploration of life in a frequently-changing world.
Jay Deshpande, The Umbrian Sonnets
(Dec. 1, PANK Books)
Can a time-honored literary form, in use for centuries, still be used to explore questions of life in the modern world? Jay Deshpande’s The Umbrian Sonnets endeavors to answer that question, contrasting the aesthetics of a medieval-era castle with the conflicts of the 21st century.
Michelle Gallen, Big Girl, Small Town
(Dec. 1, Algonquin Books)
Plenty of novels take their protagonist on extended journeys, whether in a specific region or across the world. Michelle Gallen’s Big Girl, Small Town opts for the opposite effect: its protagonist lives in a small town in Northern Ireland which she’s never left. The pull of home and family and an abounding sense of restlessness help to give this book its unexpected spark.
Cody Goodfellow, Gridlocked
(Dec. 1, King Shot Press)
Cody Goodfellow’s previous book Unamerica was sprawling and ambitious, bringing together borders, conspiracies, and hallucinatory experiences. Gridlocked offers up Goodfellow’s work at a smaller scale: two novellas venturing into his more pulp side. Think punk bands, motorcycle gangs, and the end of the world — what’s not to like?
Karen Powell, The River Within
(Dec. 1, Europa Editions)
Set in North Yorkshire in 1955, Karen Powell’s The River Within focuses on a group of young friends grappling with the aftermath of a drowning. One tragic event isn’t all this book is about, however; instead, Powell’s novel explores the repercussions of this tragic event, and the other disquieting things that come to light in the weeks that follow.
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, The Freezer Door
(Dec. 1, Semiotext(e))
Throughout the years, writers, philosophers, and public intellectuals have explored questions of human connection, intimacy, and desire. With her new book, it’s Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s turn to explore these time-honored questions and offer up a distinctive take on them, all the while exploring why they resonate so deeply right now.
Ge Fei, Peach Blossom Paradise; translated by Canaan Morse
(Dec. 8, NYRB Classics)
We were big admirers of Ge Fei’s novel The Invisibilty Cloak, a surreal and resonant tale set in modern China. This sprawling novel shows a very different side of the author’s work, focusing on a tumultuous period of Chinese history and exploring questions of societal change, gender conflict, and utopian thinking. Intrigued? We are.
Chelsea G. Summers, A Certain Hunger
(Dec. 8, Unnamed Press)
What happened when an acclaimed food writer decides to turn her talents towards murder? That’s the question at the heart of Chelsea G. Summers’s A Certain Hunger, a novel both visceral and satirical. In the right hands, that’s a winning combination, and the acclaim Summers has been getting for this book suggests she’s found the ideal balance of the two.
Michael Bible, The Ancient Hours
(Dec. 15, Melville House)
Plenty of towns across the country (and the world) have violence in their history if you look back far enough. In the case of Michael Bible’s The Ancient Hours, the setting is a North Carolina town with unsettling elements in its past both near and far. Bible focuses in on on particularly horrific summer in the town’s history here, placing his characters in a host of harrowing situations.
Note: all release dates and artwork are subject to change.
Brick photo: Patrick Tomasso/Unsplash