Good Reads for the Holiday Season
Given that these pre-Christmas weeks often pass in a panicked flurry, we decided to share the five books that have seen us through 2022, in the hope that over the holiday season you can put your feet up and escape into someone else’s drama.
We’ve also tagged a few that are coming out in 2023 which, we’ve heard, are not to be missed…
- Animal Joy by Nuar Alsadir
Taking laughter's revelatory capacity as a starting point and rooted in Nuar Alsadir's experience as a poet and psychoanalyst, Animal Joy seeks to recover the sensation of feeling alive and embodied. Writing in a poetic style, blending the personal with the theoretical, Alsadir ranges from her experience in clown school, Anna Karenina's morphine addiction, Freud's unfreudian behaviours, the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, the problem with adjectives, to how poetry can wake us up. At the heart of the book, though, is the author's relationship with her daughters, who erupt into the text like sudden, unexpected laughter. These interventions - frank, tender, and always a challenge to the writer and her thinking - are like tiny revolutions, pointedly showing the dangers of being severed from our True Self and hinting at ways we might be called back to it. An avidly curious and striking debut, Animal Joy is an ode to spontaneity and feeling alive.
- Small Fires An Epic in The Kitchen by Rebecca May Johnson
Cooking, we are told, has nothing to do with serious thought; the path to intellectual fulfilment leads directly out of the kitchen. In this electrifying, innovative memoir, Rebecca May Johnson rewrites the kitchen as a vital source of knowledge and revelation. Playfully dissolving the boundaries between abstract intellect and bodily pleasure, domesticity and politics, Johnson awakens us to the richness of cooking as a means of experiencing the self and the world – and to the revolutionary potential of the small fires burning in every kitchen.
- Nomad Century by Gaia Vince
Long-listed for the Financial Times Business Book of the Year award, the vital message of this book is that migration is not the problem - it's the solution. Drawing on a wealth of eye-opening data and original reporting, author Gaia Vince shows how migration brings benefits not only to migrants themselves, but to host countries, many of which face demographic crises and labour shortages. While the climate catastrophe is finally getting the attention it deserves, the inevitability of mass migration has been largely ignored. In this rousing call to arms, Vince provides, for the first time, an examination of the most pressing question facing humanity.
- Dance Move by Wendy Erskine
In Dance Move, a collection of quiet, unobtrusive stories from Wendy Erskine, we encounter characters seeking to wrest control of their lives, only to find themselves defined by the moment in their past that marked them. These stories - as in real life - the comic, the tender and the tragic go hand in hand. Full of warmth, the familiar and the unusual, these stories are about what it means to live in the world, how far you can end up from where you came from, and what it means to look back.
- Ghost Music by An Yu
A gorgeous and atmospheric novel of art and expression, grief and survival, memory and self-discovery, Ghost Music animates contemporary Beijing through the eyes of a lonely yet hopeful young woman and gives vivid colour and texture to the promise of new beginnings.
Coming out in 2023…
Shy by Max Porter
From the bestselling author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers and Lanny – the polyphonic story of a troubled teenager, with all of the humanity and trademark invention we expect from Max Porter. SHY is the story of a few strange hours in the life of a troubled teenage boy wandering into the night listening to the voices in his head: his teachers, his parents, the people he has hurt and the people who are trying to love him. SHY is a novel about being lost in the dark, and realising you are not alone.
Expected publication: April 6th 2023.
Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld
A comedy writer thinks she’s sworn off love, until a dreamy pop star flips the script on all her assumptions—
Romantic Comedy is a hilarious, observant, and deeply tender novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Eligible, Rodham, and Prep. With her keen observations and trademark ability to bring complex women to life on the page, Curtis Sittenfeld explores the neurosis-inducing and heart-fluttering wonder of love, while slyly dissecting the social rituals of romance and gender relations in the modern age.
Expected publication: April 4th 2023.