17 Books We Can’t Wait to Read: December 2023

Cover of 17 Books We Can’t Wait to Read: December 2023



Yours for the Taking by Gabrielle Korn – December 5 (St. Martin’s Press)

“A startlingly realistic vision of where the climate crisis is taking us coupled with root rot in white girlboss feminism, Gabrielle Korn has imagined the defining feminist dystopia for our times. Yours For the Taking is a page-turner; its propulsive heat is matched only by the chills that come from realizing, as a reader, how close we are to the kind of world Korn so beautifully, and frighteningly, immerses us in. An electric, essential read. I couldn’t put it down.” –Jeanna Kadlec, author of Heretic


Flores and Miss Paula by Melissa Rivero – December 5 (Ecco Press)

“Deeply compassionate and tender, Melissa Rivero’s new novel paints a striking portrait of the mother-daughter bond with wisdom and empathy. In alternating chapters, we see an immigrant mother and millennial daughter unfold and evolve–with stunning depth. Melissa is a phenomenal talent who combines authenticity and a bold, fresh voice to deliver raw, unforgettable women/characters. Not to be missed!” — Etaf Rum, author of A Woman Is No Man


Here in the Dark by Alexis Soloski – December 5 (Flatiron Books)

“From its very first page to its final revelation, Here in the Dark will possess you with a mix of acerbic wit and Highsmithian invention. I blazed through this book, delighting equally in the cleverness of its plot and the delicious wickedness of Vivian Parry–a woman you can’t look away from even for a second. And why would you, when there’s a life-or-death mystery, dialogue that feels beamed in from a classic noir, and a ballet about rabies on offer? Even if you’ve never seen a play, you’ll be thrilled by the ways author Alexis Soloski takes the novel of suspense and turns it into a meditation on seeing and being seen, knowing and being known, judging and being judged.” –Isaac Butler, author of The Method: How the Twentieth Century Learned to ACT


Holy American Burnout! by Sean Enfield – December 5 (Split Lip Press)

Sean Enfield delves into the great American condition: burnout. Threading his experiences both as a Texan student and later as a first-year teacher of predominately Muslim students at a Texas middle school, Holy American Burnout! weaves personal essay and cultural critique into the historical fabric of Black and bi-racial identity


The End of the World is a Cul de Sac by Louise Kennedy – December 5 (Riverhead Books)

In these visceral, stunningly crafted stories by the author of the much-acclaimed Trespasses, women’s lives are etched by poverty–material, emotional, sexual–but also splashed by beauty, sometimes even joy, as they search for the good in the cards they’ve been dealt. A wife is abandoned by her new husband in a derelict housing estate, with blood on her hands. An expectant mother’s worst fears about her husband’s entanglement with a teenage girl are confirmed. A sister is tormented by visions of the man her brother murdered during the Troubles. A woman struggles to forgive herself after an abortion threatens to destroy her marriage. Plumbing the depths of intimacy, violence, and redemption, these stories are “dazzling, heartbreaking . . . keen to share the lessons of a lifetime” (Guardian).


Meet the Benedettos by Katie Cotugno – December 5 (Harper)

“The perfect escapist novel: Meet the Benedettos is a funny, flashy, heartfelt story of self-discovery, a champagne-soaked romance, and a family drama, all in one. Cotugno’s loveable, impetuous, sharp-witted characters find love and family bonds in the most hopeless places. These people are so vivid, I forgot they weren’t real and tried to google them. Somebody make this book a movie, please.” — Meredith Goldstein, columnist for Boston Globe Love Letters and author of Things That Grow


Welcome Home, Stranger by Kate Christenson – December 5 (Harper)

“Rachel Calloway is a compelling heroine for the present moment–angry, honest, independent, witty, brilliant, and in pain. She sometimes makes impulsive choices, but her integrity is always intact. This is the most contemporary novel I have ever read, and I immersed myself in Rachel’s Portland, Maine, her family and friends, her knowledge of coming climate catastrophes, and her confusion about where home is for her. Then suddenly, I realized that I was reading about the entire human condition, portrayed in crystal sentences I will return to many times. Welcome Home, Stranger is a novel for now and for the ages.” — Alice Elliott Dark, author of Fellowship Point and In the Gloaming


Second Changes in New Port Stephen by TJ Alexander – December 5 (Atria Books)

Eli Ward hasn’t been back to his suffocating hometown of New Port Stephen, Florida, in ages. Post-transition and sober, he’s a completely different person from the one who left years ago. But when a scandal threatens his career as a TV writer and comedian, he has no choice but to return home for the holidays. He can only hope he’ll survive his boisterous, loving, but often misguided family and hide the fact that his dream of comedy success has become a nightmare. Just when he thinks this trip couldn’t get any worse, Eli bumps into his high school ex, Nick Wu, who’s somehow hotter than ever. Divorced and in his forties, Nick’s world revolves around his father, his daughter, and his job. But even a busy life can’t keep him from being intrigued by the reappearance of Eli. Against the backdrop of one weird Floridian Christmas, the two must decide whether to leave the past in the past…or move on together.


The Wildest Sun by Asha Lemmie – December 5 (Dutton)

“Lemmie follows up her smash debut Fifty Words for Rain with a poetic and moving portrayal of Delphine Auber, a lost young woman searching for the man she needs to believe is her father: Ernest Hemingway. Rarely has a literary protagonist grown on this reader more, as Delphine builds a new family for herself in post-war America and pre-revolutionary Cuba, and commits to her own unique gifts in life. The Wildest Sun is an entrancing and wonderfully surprising novel that explores the burden of memory, the bounty of the past and the true source of all great endeavor: ourselves.” –Natalie Jenner, internationally bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society


Prophet Song by Paul Lynch – December 12 (Atlantic Monthly Press)

On a dark, wet evening in Dublin, scientist and mother-of-four Eilish Stack answers her front door to find two officers from Ireland’s newly formed secret police on her step. They have arrived to interrogate her husband, a trade unionist. Ireland is falling apart, caught in the grip of a government turning towards tyranny. As the life she knows and the ones she loves disappear before her eyes, Eilish must contend with the dystopian logic of her new, unraveling country. How far will she go to save her family? And what–or who–is she willing to leave behind? Exhilarating, terrifying and surprisingly intimate, Prophet Song offers a shocking vision of a country at war and a deeply human portrait of a mother’s fight to hold her family together.


Familia by Lauren E. Rico – December 26 (Kensington Publishing Corporation)

Familia is a compelling and emotional narrative that explores a past wrapped in secrets, the bonds of sisterhood, and what it means to be family. With twists that unfold in every chapter, Lauren E. Rico crafts a compulsive story with engaging characters that hooked me from the start. Gabby and Isabella will stay with you long after you finish the last page. This is a must read! –Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post & Amazon Charts Bestselling Author




Suicide: An Anthology – December 1 (House of Vlad Press)

On September 21, 2021 CORY BENNET and JON LINDSEY posted a request for writing by survivors of suicide. This 250-page paperback book, co-published by CASH FOR GOLD BOOKS and HOUSE OF VLAD PRESS, contains some of the many responses, including: Allie Rowbottom, B.R. Yeager, Brad Phillips, Charlene Elsby, Chris Clinebell, Cory Bennet, David Fishkind, Dylan Boyer, Evan Cerniglia, Felicia Urso, Garth Miró, Joe Haward, John Tottenham, Jon Berger, Jon Lindsey, Karter Mycroft, Lily Lady, Nick Farriella, Peppy Ooze, Sam Berman, Sarah Gerard, Steve Anwyll, Tj, And Troy James Weaver.


Songs on Endless Repeat: Essays and Outtakes by Anthony Veasna So – December 5 (Ecco Press)

The late Anthony Veasna So’s debut story collection, Afterparties, was a landmark publication, hailed as a “bittersweet triumph for a fresh voice silenced too soon” (Fresh Air). And he was equally known for his comic, soulful essays, published in n+1, The New Yorker, and The Millions. Songs on Endless Repeat gathers those essays together, along with previously unpublished fiction. Written with razor-sharp wit and an unflinching eye, the essays examine his youth in California, the lives of his refugee parents, his intimate friendships, loss, pop culture, and more. And in linked fiction following three Cambodian American cousins who stand to inherit their late aunt’s illegitimate loan-sharking business, So explores community, grief, and longing with inimitable humor and depth.


Zero at the Bone by Christian Wiman – December 5 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Zero at the Bone begins with Wiman’s preoccupation with despair, and through fifty brief pieces, he unravels its seductive appeal. The book is studded with the poetry and prose of writers who inhabit Wiman’s thoughts, and the voices of Wallace Stevens, Lucille Clifton, Emily Dickinson, and others join his own. At its heart and Wiman’s, however, are his family–his young children (who ask their own invaluable questions, like “Why are you a poet? I mean why?”), his wife, and those he grew up with in West Texas. Wiman is the rare thinker who takes up the mantle of our greatest mystics and does so with an honest, profound, and contemporary sensibility. Zero at the Bone is a revelation.


Airplane Mode: An Irreverent History of Travel by Shahnaz Habib – December 5 (Catapult)

The color of one’s skin and passport have long dictated the conditions of travel. For Shahnaz Habib, travel and travel writing have always been complicated pleasures. Habib threads the history of travel with her personal story as a child on family vacations in India, an adult curious about the world, and an immigrant for whom roundtrips are an annual fact of life. Tracing the power dynamics that underlie tourism, this insightful debut parses who gets to travel, and who gets to write about the experience. Threaded through the book are inviting and playful analyses of obvious and not-so-obvious travel artifacts: passports, carousels, bougainvilleas, guidebooks, trains, the idea of wanderlust itself. Together, they tell a subversive history of travel as a Euro-American mode of consumerism–but as any traveler knows, travel is more than that. As an immigrant whose loved ones live across continents, Habib takes a deeply curious and joyful look at a troubled and beloved activity.


Molly by Blake Butler – December 5 (Archway Editions) 

A gripping, unforgettable memoir from one of the best, most original writers of the 21st century. Blake Butler has changed the world of language with his mind-melting literary thrillers, and now he brings his abilities to bear on the emotional world.


How to Draw a Novel by Martín Solares – December 12 (Grove Press)

In this finely wrought collection of essays, Martín Solares examines the novel in all its forms, exploring the conventions of structure, the novel as a house that one must build brick by brick, and the objects and characters that build out the world of the novel in unique and complex ways. With poetic, graceful prose, that reflects the power of fascination with literary fiction, Solares uses line drawings to realize the ebb and flow of the novel, with Moby Dick spiraling across the page while Dracula takes the form of an erratic heartbeat. A novelist, occasional scholar, and former acquiring editor in Mexican publishing, Solares breaks out of the Anglo-American-dominated canon of many craft books, ranging across Latin and South America as well. He considers how writers invent (or discover) their characters, the importance of place (or not) in the novel, and the myriad of forms the novel may take. Solares’ passion for the form is obvious, and his insights into the construction of the novel are as profound as they are accessible. This is a writer’s book, and an important contribution to the study of craft and fiction.



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