Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season (cookie prep! gift shopping!), it’s important to set aside a little time for self-care and curl up with a good book and a cup of tea (or glass of wine—we won’t judge). But what book, specifically, should you curl up with? We’d suggest one of these seven new releases, from a #MeToo-esque story about a former piano prodigy to a compelling takedown of the pressures and expectations we put on mothers.
7 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in December
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For too long, society’s picture of the perfect mother was thin, blonde and perfectly made up. Her kitchen was immaculate, her meals restaurant-worthy and her children perfectly behaved. As much as we know how unrealistic this picture is, New York Times opinion writer Jessica Grose argues that we’ve probably internalized much of it. (She knows she did.) After she failed to meet every one of her own expectations for her first pregnancy, she devoted her career to revealing how morally bankrupt so many of these ideas and pressures are. In Screaming on the Inside, she weaves together her personal journey with scientific, historical and contemporary reporting to be the voice for American parents she wishes she'd had a decade ago, explaining how we got to this moment and how we can move forward.
“My body has not betrayed me; it has continued rebounding against all odds,” writes journalist, editor and pop-culture critic Evette Dionne in her second book (after Lifting as We Climb: Black Women's Battle for the Ballot Box). “It is a body that others map their expectations on, but it has never let me down.” In Weightless, Dionne explores the minefields that fat Black women are forced to navigate every day. From her early experiences of harassment to her diagnosis with heart failure at 29, Dionne tracks her relationships with friendship, sex, motherhood, self-image and more.
If you’ve ever thought, Boy, they just don’t make celebrities like they used to, this illuminating biography of Elizabeth Taylor is right up your alley. Primarily known for her beauty, her magnetic screen presence and her vastly compelling private life, she was also the first major celebrity activist to lead the fight against HIV/AIDS, co-founding amfAR and raising more than $100 million for research and patient care. She was also a smart businesswoman who made a fortune as the first celebrity perfumer. This first-ever authorized biography reveals the world through Taylor’s very famous eyes, drawing from the star’s unpublished letters and diary entries and off-the-record interview transcripts as well as interviews with 250 of her closest friends and family.
Described as My Dark Vanessa meets The Queen's Gambit, the latest from Rachel Kapelke-Dale (The Ballerinas) is a gripping thriller about the bonds of family, the limits of talent, the risks of ambition and the rewards of revenge. When former piano prodigy Saskia returns home to Milwaukee after her mother's unexpected death, she expects to inherit the family estate. She soon learns, though, that her mother's will bequeathed the home to a man that Saskia shares a complicated history with, forcing her to reexamine her own past—including the romantic relationship that changed the course of her life.
For a time, everyone who wanted to be seen at the hottest restaurants in New York City went to places Michael Cecchi-Azzolina helped run. Think: Raoul's in Soho, the casually elegant River Café, Keith McNally's Minetta Tavern and more. From his early career serving theater stars like Tennessee Williams and Dustin Hoffman at La Rousse to the pandemic-driven shutdowns of restaurants, Your Table Is Ready breaks down how restaurants really run (and don't), and how the economics work for owners and overworked staff alike.
After losing her mother to cancer, illustrator Alessandra Olanow, whose clients include Bergdorf Goodman, Clinique, West Elm and more, was overwhelmed by sadness and uncertainty. In this intimate book, she draws insights from her personal experience with loss and her training as an end-of-life doula to explore the complex process of grief. In words and more than 75 drawings, she shares her own struggles and shows that with time, grief evolves and we relearn the world changed by that loss.
Money expert and Financial Feminist podcast host Tori Dunlap was always good with money, but she quickly realized that her experience with money was pretty unusual, especially among her female friends. Attempting to explain this financial literacy and wealth gap, she found that girls are significantly less likely to receive a holistic financial education than boys. In Financial Feminist, she distills the principles of her shame- and judgment-free approach to paying off debt, figuring out your value categories to spend mindfully, saving money without depriving yourself and investing.