The 7 Best Books of December

The end of the year brings many of us a much-needed winter break, and whether you're headed to a ski lodge or cocooning yourself at home in front of a fire, there's plenty of new reading material out there to keep you company. (Or to buy as gifts at the last minute, if you’re a procrastinator.) This month, you can choose from a morbid satire set in contemporary China, a memoir from one of New York’s most iconoclastic artists, an intelligent guide on how we can eat better, and more.

The Relic Master, Christopher Buckley (Simon & Schuster)
Novelist and satirist Buckley (Thank You for Smoking) has always been interested in politics, just like his famous dad, National Review founder William F. Buckley. In his tenth novel, Christopher turns to political intrigue in the 16th century, telling the story of two men who try to pull off a plot that involves forging the Shroud of Turin.

House of the Rising Sun, James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster)
Montana author Burke is probably best known for his mystery novels featuring Cajun detective Dave Robicheaux, but his 36th book continues the story of another of his recurring characters, Texas Ranger Hackberry Holland. This novel finds Holland trying to find his estranged son, while being pursued by an Austrian who wants an artifact that Holland has stumbled upon. 

The Wilderness: Deep Inside the Republican Party's Combative, Contentious, Chaotic Quest to Take Back the White House, McKay Coppins (Little, Brown and Company)
BuzzFeed writer Coppins, called a "slimebag" by Donald Trump, chronicles the Republican party’s attempt to reinvent itself after failing to win the presidency in 2012. Expect plenty of cameos from now-familiar names, from rising stars Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, to flameouts like Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker.


Drawing Blood, Molly Crabapple (Harper)
Celebrated New York journalist Crabapple is also one of America's best, most original artists. Her memoir tells the story of her remarkable life, from her days modeling for Suicide Girls to her groundbreaking Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School and her work with Occupy Wall Street. The book contains her writing as well as her unique art. 

Like Family, Paolo Giordano, translated by Anne Milano Appel (Pamela Dorman)
Giordano, the young Italian novelist and physicist, scored a worldwide hit with his debut book The Solitude of Prime Numbers. His third novel follows a family dealing with a complicated pregnancy who hires an older woman as their nanny, maid, and housekeeper. When the woman is diagnosed with cancer, the family is left reeling.

Year of the Goose, Carly J. Hallman (Unnamed Press)
The debut novel from Hallman, an American writer living in Beijing, is a dark satire about a young woman trying to convince her tycoon father that she’ll be a trustworthy heir to his food company. The tale involves a fat camp for kids that goes horribly awry, a turtle that can talk, and, of course, the titular goose.

First Bite: How We Learn to Eat, Bee Wilson (Basic)
How and when do we learn what to eat? British food writer Wilson takes a look at what forms people’s eating habits, using research from professional nutritionists and psychologists. Not a healthy eater? Don’t worry: Wilson argues that it’s never too late for people to retrain themselves to subsist on a more healthful diet.