December is the most wonderful month of the year to curl up with a good book. Whether you're home for the holidays or making your own traditions, the hustle and bustle of the season means that those times when you can curl up with a book are particularly special. As you settle in with a blanket and a warm cup of cocoa, make sure you have one of the best fiction books of December 2016 to keep you company.
The year is winding down, but the selection of amazing literature isn't. There are some fantastic book coming your way this month — short story collections, imaginative fantasy explorations, anthologies and more. These books will provide the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
I'm also very excited because this month, we're getting the opportunity to connect with some iconic writers. We have work that haven't been accessible to American/English-speaking audiences until now, writers whose work ought to be more well-known than it is, and well-known authors writing in new landscapes.
Nothing makes me feel more warm or more comfortable than a good book. So ready your cocoa and come explore these wonderful new titles.
1. Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? by Kathleen Collins (December 6; Ecco)
Whether you're just now discovering the treasure that is Kathleen Collins or you already know her from her pivotal work in film, you'll find something special in this collection of intimate short stories, published posthumously. Each one of these stories will take you somewhere deep and familiar, the kind of writing that makes the world around you fade away.
2. Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days by Jeanette Winterson (December 6; Grove Press)
Every year, Jeanette Winterson writes a new story for the holidays, and in this collection she's compiled her top picks. Each one of these stories is enchanting, imaginative, and blissfully fresh.
3. The Moravian Night by Peter Handke (December 6; Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
Translated from German, this book unfolds as an endangered storyteller gathers a group of his friends and family to deliver a multi-layered tale that combines fantasy history. An exciting story, with gorgeous writing, and the enchanting feel of 1001 Nights.
4. In Sunlight or In Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper , edited by Lawrence Block (December 6; Pegasus Books)
You don't have to be a fan of American painter Edward Hopper to be enthralled by this striking collection. Each story is inspired by a particular Hopper painting, and each one is stark and fascinating in their own way, This book features original work by some of our favorite authors, including Joyce Carol Oates, Megan Abbot, Stephen King, and Lee Child.
5. Ema the Captive by César Aira (December 6; New Directions)
An early work by one of Argentina's most iconic authors, Ema the Captive (originally Ema, la Cautiva) has been translated into English for the first time, giving readers the opportunity to connect with Aira's twisting and imaginative storytelling. Set in 19th century Argentina, this lyrical novel tells the story of Ema, a fierce and determined character, as she's held captive by a band of brutal soldiers.
6. The Private Life of Mrs. Sharma by Ratika Kapur (December 13; Bloomsbury)
After success in the U.K., The Private Life of Mrs. Sharma is coming to the U.S., and it is an absolute treat. Set in India, the book follows Renuka Sharma, a dutiful wife and mother who is torn between traditional values and contemporary ideas. Clocking in at just 192 pages, this is a book you'll be tempted to read in one sitting.
7. Kill The Next One by Federico Axat (December 13; Mulholland Books)
If you're looking for a suspenseful story to get sucked into, this is your book. Like a chilling, murder-y version of Pay It Forward, this thriller unfolds as a man seeking to end his life is given the opportunity to kill two other people and then be killed, so as to avoid subjecting his family to the added grief that comes with suicide. But as he embarks on the mission, he discovers that there is more to this scheme than meets the eye, and that perhaps reality itself cannot be trusted.
8. Miniatures by John Scalzi (December 31; Subterranean Press)
This collection of short fiction is fun and creative in the best of ways. For a taste of Scalzi's flair, titles include "The AI are Absolutely Positively Without a Doubt Not Here to End Humanity, Honest," "Pluto Tells All," and "When the Yogurt Took Over."