December’s new books have everything: Turkish socialites, badass lady computer scientists, vanishing princesses and curmudgeonly Hollywood types. Read on to discover five new titles we can’t stop talking about.
THE CLOTHES MAKE THE GIRL (LOOK FAT)? BY BRITTANY GIBBONS
Brittany Gibbons is a blogger (Brittany, Herself), plus-size model and body-image advocate. Her second book is a deep dive into the world and mind of a plus-size woman, focusing specifically on her love/hate (but mostly hate) relationship with fashion. Funny and relatable, women of all sizes will recognize that uniquely frustrating feeling of hating everything in your closet and how it looks on your body. The only difference is, Gibbons provides actually helpful solutions for how to talk yourself up when those moments strike.
ENCHANTRESS OF NUMBERS: A NOVEL OF ADA LOVELACE BY JENNIFER CHIAVERINI
Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician and writer, and is widely recognized as the first computer programmer (go, girl). One of famed poet Lord Byron’s daughters, Lovelace also had a tumultuous relationship with her mother, who forbade her from pursuing anything creative. Chiaverini’s historical novel recalls Lovelace’s childhood neglect, discovery of her profound talent and acceptance of her father’s influence on her intellect. It’s a fascinating portrait of not only a fraught mother-daughter relationship, but also a supremely impressive woman we wish we had known about sooner.
THE VANISHING PRINCESS: STORIES BY JENNY DISKI
Up until her death last year, Jenny Diski was a prolific writer with a cult-like following. Published in the U.K. in 1995, this is the first U.S. release of The Vanishing Princess, a collection of 12 stories. In them, Diski covers a ton of ground, from dreamy, novel-like fiction (about everything from two people swept up in an extramarital affair to a woman determined to create the perfect bath) to introspective nonfiction, about Diski’s own struggles with mental illness that led to bouts of institutionalization. If you’re a longtime fan, The Vanishing Princesswon’t disappoint, and if you’ve never read Diski, we bet you’ll soon count yourself in the former category.
THREE DAUGHTERS OF EVE BY ELIF SHAFAK
Celebrated Turkish writer Shafak tells the story of Peri, a married, wealthy, beautiful Turkish woman with skeletons in her closet. On her way to a dinner party in Istanbul, a beggar grabs Peri’s handbag and a photograph falls out. It’s an old Polaroid that reminds her of a past she had tried desperately to forget. Jumping between the past (when the photo was taken) and the present (at an opulent-slash-pretentious party in contemporary Turkey), the novel touches on Islam, the nature of God and a bunch of –isms, including nationalism, feminism and terrorism.
YOU’RE NOT THAT GREAT (BUT NEITHER IS ANYONE ELSE) BY ELAN GALE
Self-help books would have you believe that if you just repeat positive affirmations and surround yourself with Pinterest-y inspirational quotes, you’ll get everything you want. Gale (who’s a producer of The Bachelor), on the other hand, is a touch more cynical. His funny book is about harnessing the negativity in the world and using it to improve your life. Advocating for negative thinking, he suggests taking everyday feelings like self-loathing and regret and making them work for you. A refreshing antidote for anyone who’s had enough with the so-called power of positive thinking.