10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in December

The Intercept, Me Before You, A Possible Life, Pow!, and Safe House top our list of December must-reads.

  • December’s most high-profile debut novel comes from Dick Wolf, creator and executive producer of TV’s Law and Order series. The Intercept sounds like a nail-biter. So far this thriller about a NYPD Intelligence officer trying to thwart a terrorist plot is receiving enthusiastic praise from reviewers and will probably continue to get lots of media attention.
  • Me Before You is the second novel from British author Jojo Moyes, in which a young caretaker attempts to quash the suicidal plans of her quadriplegic patient, a former playboy, adventurer and business tycoon. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called it “a lovely novel, both nontraditional and enthralling.”
  • Sebastian Faulks, bestselling author of Birdsong and Charlotte Gray, has a new collection of five linked novellas called A Possible LifeLibrary Journal gushes, “Faulks's literary artistry is on gorgeous display.”  Publishers Weekly calls it “intensely absorbing.”
  • Mo Yan, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature, has a new book for English language readers: Pow!, originally published in his native China in 2003. Pre-publication reviews in the U.S. have yet to materialize, but an excerpt was published in the November 26 issue of the New Yorker for those looking for a preview.
  • Chris Ewan, popular author of the “Good Thief” series, comic mysteries featuring professional burglar and mystery writer Charlie Howard in various global hotspots (such as 2012’s The Good Thief’s Guide to Venice), has a new stand-alone mystery called Safe House. This book’s tone sounds much less lighthearted than Ewan’s usual: a man who has just experienced a motorcycle crash tries to piece together a knotty mystery that clashes with his personal memory. “With its well-structured plot, crisp dialogue, and moral ambiguities, this is a compelling mystery that could win him new fans.” (Booklist)
  • A Hollywood studio executive plunges into depression and claws his way out of it by leaving his life and family behind and travelling the globe in Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See, a fiction debut from screenwriter and journalist Juliann Garey. Library Journal calls it “A compelling read” and Kirkus Reviews declares “Garey breathes life into an uncomfortable and often misunderstood subject and creates a riveting experience.”
  • Jose Saramago’s Raised from the Ground was first published in 1980 and is only now available in English. This mid-career work by the late Nobel Prize winning author, a story of feudal life on farms in Southern Portugal, is considered both deeply personal and stylistically significant.
  • Another work posthumously published in translation comes from renowned Mexican author Carlos Fuentes: a clever satire called Adam in Eden. Although it is not one of his major works, “Fuentes's humor and keen eye make it quite rewarding,” according to Publishers Weekly.
  • New Yorker contributor Tessa Hadley has a new collection of fiction called Married Love and Other Stories. Her last novel, The London Train, was selected as one of the San Francisco Chronicle’s best books of 2011—now Married Love is on the just-released New York Times list of Notable Books for 2012.
  • Canadian writer Zsuzsi Gartner’s latest collection of satirical stories, Better Living Through Plastic Explosives, was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2011, and is now available in the U.S. According to Publisher’s Weekly, these stories “rollick into the depths of dark humor and absurdity.”  Booklist calls it “saturated with pop-culture references and intellectually hilarious.”

Are you looking forward to an upcoming new release? Tell us about it!