This is it—the last load-in of new books of the year! So here’s your rapid-fire overview of what’s landing at the end of 2022…
The holidays are a great time for picking up factoid-packed non-fiction that lends itself to looking up and telling whoever’s in ear shot, “hey did you know…?” Heather Radke’s Butts: A Backstory is just such a book, packed with curious insights about the cultural history of the derriere, from fashion’s attempts to maximize or minimize our hindparts to the evolutionary biology of our glutes as distinctly human features.
Speaking of human quirks, Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains by Bethany Brookshire will give you a fresh perspective on how our constructed environments have created demarcations between animals who we welcome and ones we seek to exclude or even eradicate—and how those animals have adapted to survive despite us.
Stella Maris, the sequel to Cormac McCarthy’s still brand-new novel The Passenger, picks up in a setting adjacent to the first book, but strikes a mournful tone with the story of Alicia Western, a brilliant young woman who checks herself into a psychiatric hospital. If two McCarthy novels in rapid succession feels like more than you can handle, note that Stella Maris is more of a long novella and will fit entirely into a lazy late December afternoon.
Each of the books in rocket scientist-turned-novelist Susan Kaye Quinn’s Nothing is Promised self-described “hopepunk” series would also fill out a block of leisurely winter days. The latest is Yet You Cry When It Hurts.
Crime novelist S. A. Cosby’s 2021 breakthrough Razorblade Tears prompted a republishing of his earlier, overlooked work including My Darkest Prayer, a story about a small town vet and ex-sheriff’s deputy who everyone trusts to get to the bottom of a beloved local minister’s murder—even if the authorities would rather sweep it under the rug.
In 2016 comedian Rob Delaney’s son Henry died at the age of three from a brain tumour—an illness that grew in severity while Delaney was working on the TV series Catastrophe which he co-wrote and co-created. Delaney was open about his grief on twitter (a medium in which Delaney excels) and we now have his heartfelt reflections on the loss of Henry and the emotional storm that raged in the aftermath in his book, A Heart that Works.
Sadly, the nearly year-long war in Ukraine is unlikely to end before the new year is rung in. As conflict rages, the first books attempting to document the events are beginning to be published, such as Invasion: The Inside Story of Russia’s Bloody War and Ukraine’s Fight for Survival by Luke Harding, a journalist who has worked as a foreign correspondent for The Guardian newspaper and was based in Russia until being deported for his critical writing. Also out now is A Message from Ukraine: Speeches 2019 – 2022 by Volodymyr Zelensky, through which readers can get a view of the mindset of the Ukrainian president during the military aid scandal that led to the impeachment inquiry of US President Trump through to the current invasion by Russia.
Piper Rayne’s The Greene Family pauses to celebrate the season in A Greene Family Christmas, the 9.5th book in the romance series.
Kosoko Jackson’s A Dash of Salt and Pepper is a rom-com about single-father chef Logan who needs help being the manager his short-staffed restaurant kitchen needs, and recently-dumped Xavier needs a job. At first they can’t stand each other, but then the sparks start to fly…
Finally, in the spirit of setting New Year’s resolutions you’ll want to keep, there are several self-help books that emphasize self-acceptance, such as How to Meet Your Self: The Workbook for Self-Discovery by Dr. Nicole LaPera, How to Be Love(d): Simple Truths for Going Easier on Yourself, Embracing Imperfection & Loving Your Way to a Better Life by Humble the Poet. And for those of you who like your self-compassion to feel like exercise, there’s The Self-Talk Workout: Six Science-Backed Strategies to Dissolve Self-Criticism and Transform the Voice in Your Head by Rachel Goldsmith Turow.