R29 Reads: The Books We’re Picking Up This December

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Year in, year out, the festive season has us pining for log fires in faraway cabins. Snowy winter walks and lots of mulled wine feature heavily in this daydream but it would also include the opportunity to fall back onto a cloudlike sofa and get lost in a good book. Santa might not have gifted us this holiday just yet but we can get started on the reading part immediately.

Last month Team R29 uncovered a range of interesting new releases, including capitalist critique The Cabinet by Un-Su Kim. The South Korean novel was praised for its take on modern work culture, charting the journey of one paper pusher who discovers a cabinet full of ‘symptomers’ (aka humans with strange abilities). In a similar vein, Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki sat high on our list for its fantastical take on Faustian bargains and space-set adventures.

This month we’re turning our attention away from otherworldly stories and getting stuck into some more grounded reads. From a novel set during the height of the pandemic to a self-help book full of thoughtful, actually useful advice, we’ve got plenty of great reads on our wish list this month.

To check out everything that Team R29 is reading this December, click through the slideshow ahead…

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn a commission.

<strong>Katy Thompsett, Sub Editor</strong><br><br><strong>Book: </strong><a href="https://uk.bookshop.org/books/these-precious-days/9781526640963" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:These Precious Days by Ann Patchett" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><em>These Precious Days </em>by Ann Patchett</a><br><br><strong>Why? </strong>tktk<br><br><br><br><strong>bookshop</strong> These Precious Days, $, available at <a href="https://uk.bookshop.org/books/these-precious-days/9781526640963" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:bookshop.org" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">bookshop.org</a>
Katy Thompsett, Sub Editor

Book: These Precious Days by Ann Patchett

Why? tktk



bookshop These Precious Days, $, available at bookshop.org
<strong>Sadhbh O'Sullivan, Health & Living Writer</strong><br><br><strong>Book: </strong><em>The Fell</em> by Sarah Moss<br><br><strong>Why? </strong>I love Sarah Moss’ writing – the stream of consciousness really works for me and I love how each novel builds a picture of a seemingly innocuous day by layering each character's perspective. She does this exceptionally well in <em>Summerwater</em> and brings the same formula to <em>The Fell</em>, which follows the fallout of a woman getting lost on a walk during lockdown. It’s quite surreal to read works set during the coronavirus pandemic but this one really gets to the heart of the paranoia, claustrophobia and worry that defined that time. A quick, immersive read.<br><br><strong>Sarah Moss</strong> The Fell, $, available at <a href="https://uk.bookshop.org/books/the-fell-9781529083224/9781529083224" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Bookshop" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Bookshop</a>
Sadhbh O'Sullivan, Health & Living Writer

Book: The Fell by Sarah Moss

Why? I love Sarah Moss’ writing – the stream of consciousness really works for me and I love how each novel builds a picture of a seemingly innocuous day by layering each character's perspective. She does this exceptionally well in Summerwater and brings the same formula to The Fell, which follows the fallout of a woman getting lost on a walk during lockdown. It’s quite surreal to read works set during the coronavirus pandemic but this one really gets to the heart of the paranoia, claustrophobia and worry that defined that time. A quick, immersive read.

Sarah Moss The Fell, $, available at Bookshop
<strong>Alicia Lansom, Editorial Assistant</strong><br><br><strong>Book:</strong> <em>A History of Wild Places </em>by Shea Ernshaw<br><br><strong>Why? </strong>Nothing says ‘Merry Christmas’ quite like a story about mysterious disappearances. As investigator Travis Wren tries to piece together the clues surrounding missing author Maggie St James, he finds himself within the confines of a commune. Founded in the 1970s, the secluded community was believed to be disused but not long after arriving, Travis disappears too. With two outsiders now missing, it becomes the responsibility of a lifelong community member to figure out what happened to Maggie and Travis, which leads to the unearthing of some long-held secrets. <br><br><strong>Amazon</strong> A History Of Wild Places, $, available at <a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/History-Wild-Places-Shea-Ernshaw/dp/1982164808" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a>
Alicia Lansom, Editorial Assistant

Book: A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw

Why? Nothing says ‘Merry Christmas’ quite like a story about mysterious disappearances. As investigator Travis Wren tries to piece together the clues surrounding missing author Maggie St James, he finds himself within the confines of a commune. Founded in the 1970s, the secluded community was believed to be disused but not long after arriving, Travis disappears too. With two outsiders now missing, it becomes the responsibility of a lifelong community member to figure out what happened to Maggie and Travis, which leads to the unearthing of some long-held secrets.

Amazon A History Of Wild Places, $, available at Amazon
<strong>Elly Parsons, Acting Managing Editor</strong><br><br><strong>Book:</strong> <em>The How: Notes On The Great Work Of Meeting Yourself </em> by Yrsa Daley-Ward<br><br><strong>Why? </strong>This is self-help without the self-help. Since Yrsa Daley-Ward’s <em>bone</em>, I always make space for the Preston-born poet’s drops and <em>The How</em> doesn’t disappoint. Its unfiltered, truth-seeking writing encourages readers to develop deeper, more knowing relationships with their true identities. It speaks to me as I continue on my post-pandemic mission to stop self-editing for the benefit of anyone other than myself.<br><br><strong>Yrsa Daley-Ward</strong> The How: Notes on the Great Work of Meeting Yourself, $, available at <a href="https://uk.bookshop.org/books/the-how-notes-on-the-great-work-of-meeting-yourself/9780141998879" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:bookshop.org" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">bookshop.org</a>
Elly Parsons, Acting Managing Editor

Book: The How: Notes On The Great Work Of Meeting Yourself by Yrsa Daley-Ward

Why? This is self-help without the self-help. Since Yrsa Daley-Ward’s bone, I always make space for the Preston-born poet’s drops and The How doesn’t disappoint. Its unfiltered, truth-seeking writing encourages readers to develop deeper, more knowing relationships with their true identities. It speaks to me as I continue on my post-pandemic mission to stop self-editing for the benefit of anyone other than myself.

Yrsa Daley-Ward The How: Notes on the Great Work of Meeting Yourself, $, available at bookshop.org
<strong>Vicky Spratt, Features Editor</strong><br><br><strong>Book:</strong> <em>Orwell's Roses</em> by Rebecca Solnit<br><br><strong>Why:</strong> In 1936 George Orwell planted roses in the garden of his cottage in Hertfordshire. When she discovered this nugget of information, Rebecca Solnit ran with it. In her hands, a seemingly superfluous piece of trivia about Orwell, arguably one of the greatest reporters on society of all time, becomes a metaphor and a starting point for a really unique book that explores politics and social justice unlike anything I’ve read before. <br><br><strong>Rebecca Solnit</strong> Orwell's Roses, $, available at <a href="https://uk.bookshop.org/books/orwell-s-roses/9781783785452" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:bookshop.org" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">bookshop.org</a>
Vicky Spratt, Features Editor

Book: Orwell's Roses by Rebecca Solnit

Why: In 1936 George Orwell planted roses in the garden of his cottage in Hertfordshire. When she discovered this nugget of information, Rebecca Solnit ran with it. In her hands, a seemingly superfluous piece of trivia about Orwell, arguably one of the greatest reporters on society of all time, becomes a metaphor and a starting point for a really unique book that explores politics and social justice unlike anything I’ve read before.

Rebecca Solnit Orwell's Roses, $, available at bookshop.org
<strong>Maybelle Morgan, Entertainment Editor</strong><br><br><strong>Book: </strong><em>Horror Caviar</em> by A24<br><br><strong>Why? </strong>Film merch can often veer on the side of uncool so A24 has come up with the perfect fright-filled solution for foodies and film buffs alike: a cookbook packed with recipes inspired by the likes of <em>Rosemary’s Baby</em>, <em>The Shining</em> and <em>Midsommar</em>. Think Bone & Pork Dumplings with Black Angel Hair Pasta or Dark Magic Martinis. I can honestly say I’ve pored over it every day since it came into my life. Beautifully grotesque and I love it. <br><br><strong>A24</strong> Horror Caviar, $, available at <a href="https://shop.a24films.com/products/horror-caviar" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:A24 Shop" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">A24 Shop</a>
Maybelle Morgan, Entertainment Editor

Book: Horror Caviar by A24

Why? Film merch can often veer on the side of uncool so A24 has come up with the perfect fright-filled solution for foodies and film buffs alike: a cookbook packed with recipes inspired by the likes of Rosemary’s Baby, The Shining and Midsommar. Think Bone & Pork Dumplings with Black Angel Hair Pasta or Dark Magic Martinis. I can honestly say I’ve pored over it every day since it came into my life. Beautifully grotesque and I love it.

A24 Horror Caviar, $, available at A24 Shop

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