10 New Books for December

This month, we’ve got our eyes on Beasts of a Little Land, No Humans Involved, ​​Tell Me How to Be, and 7 other titles by writers from the West.

december book picks
Alta
1 BEASTS OF A LITTLE LAND, BY JUHEA KIM
beasts of a little land,  juhea kim
Ecco

Set against the backdrop of the Japanese occupation of Korea, Kim’s debut novel follows a hunter, a Japanese soldier, an orphan, and a young girl sold to a courtesan school as their paths collide and meld together, forging bonds that will reverberate for decades. The story takes these characters from Seoul to the forests of Manchuria as they participate in events that will shape the fate of their country. Ecco, December 7

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2 CALL US WHAT WE CARRY: POEMS, BY AMANDA GORMAN
call us what we carry, amanda gorman
Viking

Gorman was the youngest presidential inaugural poet in history, and her highly anticipated debut book of poetry explores themes of identity, language, and culture through the prism of the grief caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Weighty and sober as they may be, Gorman’s poems are full of grace and hope. Viking, December 7

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3 COLORING THE ZODIAC, BY CHRISTINA HABERKERN
coloring the zodiac, christina haberkern
Plume

Just in time for holiday gift-giving comes this coloring book from Haberkern. Coloring the Zodiac is full of history and information about each zodiac sign, as well as intricate and original patterns for enterprising readers to fill in. Grab some coloring pencils (or crayons, for all you purists), and get creative. Plume, December 7

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4 CREATIVE TYPES: AND OTHER STORIES, BY TOM BISSELL
creative types and other stories, tom bissell
Pantheon Books

The coauthor of The Disaster Artist returns with this collection of short fiction, centered on the dilemmas of the artistic and the political. In one story, a married couple hires an escort, only to hit a roadblock when the husband is put off by the escort’s “CLA$$Y LADY” tattoo. In another, Bissell parodies an assistant to a celebrity hosting Saturday Night Live. Pantheon Books, December 14

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5 THE DEATH OF MY FATHER THE POPE: A MEMOIR, BY OBED SILVA
the death of my father the pope, obed silva
MCD

Silva spent his childhood shuttling between his mother in California and his father in Chihuahua, Mexico, until his father drank himself into liver failure. This memoir is an exploration of Silva’s grief, despite (or perhaps because of) his father’s alcoholism and tendency to love and mistreat in extremes. MCD, December 7

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6 A HISTORY OF WILD PLACES, BY SHEA ERNSHAW
a history of wild places, shea ernshaw
Atria Books

No resident of a Northern California commune called Pastoral is allowed to travel beyond its borders, lest they bring back a disease. But when one resident tests the rules of the commune, he uncovers family secrets and evidence of criminality: two people who visited the commune have since disappeared. This thriller is the first adult suspense book from young adult author Ernshaw. Atria Books, December 7

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7 IMA AND COLI ARE THE TREE THAT WAS NEVER A SEED/IMA Y COLI SON EL ARBOL QUE NUNCA FUE SEMILLIA, BY ALEJANDRO PÉREZ-CORTÉS
ima and coli are the tree that was never a seed, ima y coli son el arbol que nunca fue semillia,  alejandro pÉrez cortÉs
Akashic

In this poetry collection, published in Spanish and in English, Pérez-Cortés spins images of his hometown of Colima, Mexico: ancient, pre-Hispanic Colima and Colima today. The tree in the book’s title becomes a character in its own right, as it dances in and out of these poems. Akashic, December 7

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8 NO HUMANS INVOLVED, BY ANN PHILBIN, ERIN CHRISTOVALE, ANTHONY BOGUES, ZAKIYYAH IMAN JACKSON, SYLVIA WYNTER
no humans involved, ann philbin, erin christovale, anthony bogues, zakiyyah iman jackson, sylvia wynter
Delmonico Press/Hammer Museum

In this exhibit catalog, contemporary artists respond to a question posed in 1994 by Jamaican scholar Wynter, following the discovery that police refer to cases that involve Black and Latino men and sex workers as “No Humans Involved”: How do we participate in a social mindset that has led to such exclusion? No Humans Involved features assemblage, photography, and sculpture. Delmonico Press/Hammer Museum, December 21

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9 REIMAGINING SUSTAINABLE CITIES: STRATEGIES FOR DESIGNING GREENER, HEALTHIER, MORE EQUITABLE COMMUNITIES, BY STEPHEN M. WHEELER AND CHRISTINA D. ROSAN
reimagining sustainable cities, stephen wheeler and christina rosan
University of California Press

Coauthored by a professor of human ecology and a professor of geography and urban studies, this book presents a solutions-oriented approach to modernizing cities to mitigate climate change. At the same time, Wheeler and Rosan’s analysis takes into account necessary societal changes beyond infrastructure. Their book posits the restructuring of political and economic systems with social and racial equity in mind to create net-neutral, sustainable urban spaces. University of California Press, December 7

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10 TELL ME HOW TO BE, BY NEEL PATEL
tell me how to be,  neel patel
Flatiron

One year after his father’s death, Akash returns from Los Angeles to help his mother, Renu, pack up his childhood home in Illinois. The process stirs memories of past choices and relationships. Renu sends messages to a lost love, while Akash can’t escape memories of his own first heartbreak and the secrets he has kept since. This novel is about a mother and son learning to grow together. Flatiron, December 7

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