December can be a slow month for new releases, so our list this month is shorter than usual. But there’s lots of competition for book recommendations this month from all of the best-of-the-year lists, including our own, which will be out in a couple of weeks. We’re also compiling a list of your favorite books of 2022, so if you’d like to put in your two cents please fill out this form here. In the meanwhile, here are some great reads to look forward to this month.
ROSES, IN THE MOUTH OF A LION by Bushra Rehman
In this coming-of-age story set in 1980s Queens, NY, Razia Mirza engages in small acts of defiance with her friend Saima but still enjoys a deep connection with her Muslim Pakistani American family and community. When she enters an elite high school and falls for a girl in her class, the gap between her family’s wishes and what she wants for herself begins to widen. “A distinctive and infectious voice takes hold of the reader from the first page... This deeply immersive novel heralds the arrival of an exciting new writer.” (Publishers Weekly)
SCATTERLINGS by Rešoketšwe Manenzhe
Alisa, the descendent of enslaved Jamaicans, has experienced alienation and condemnation her entire life, even in times of material comfort. When South Africa’s 1927 Immorality Act is put into law, her interracial (and already fragile) marriage to Abram is rendered illegal and the safety of their entire family is threatened. This sets the scene for Alisa’s final tragic, destructive act. “A poetic and wrenching story of one family’s upheaval... Manenzhe steeps this saga in stories and rituals passed down from elders to children... The novel feels both grounded and timeless, as Manenzhe fuses this tragedy of South Africa’s segregationist policies with a long tradition of folklore. There’s great heft to this universal story.” (Publishers Weekly)
CURSED BUNNY by Bora Chung. Translated by Anton Hur
Chung, already a hit author in Korea, was nominated for The International Booker Prize for this English-language debut, a biting, creepy collection of stories. “Whether borrowing from fable, folktale, speculative fiction, science fiction, or horror, Chung’s stories corkscrew toward devastating conclusions—bleak, yes, but also wise and honest about the nightmares of contemporary life. Don't read this book while eating—but don’t skip these unflinching, intelligent stories, either.” (Kirkus Reviews)
THE TATAMI GALAXY by Tomihiko Morimi
A student at Kyoto University explores four options for extracurricular activities: the Ablutions film club, an ad for “Disciples Wanted”, a softball club, and a mysterious group called Lucky Cat Chinese Food. Each activity presents an opportunity for a different path, Groundhog Day style. “Morimi’s delightful campus novel follows the quixotic adventures of an unnamed student dreaming of the perfect college experience... Light and sweet in its confection.” (Publishers Weekly)
THE VIBRANT YEARS by Sonali Dev
Investors are interested in 25-year-old Callie's pitch for a new dating app—but she actually made it up on the spot. She needs to develop and test it quickly, so she enlists her recently divorced mother and her paternal grandmother to help. “Regrets, secrets, and love drive this beautifully told multigenerational saga... Dev easily gets the reader to root for her well-rounded characters, and the intertwined story lines wrap up with a delightful ending. This effervescent tale is sure to please the author’s fans and win her new ones.” (Publishers Weekly) Dev is known for her Bollywood-influenced romances, including the Austen-Bollywood mashups Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors (2019) and Recipe for Persuasion (2020).