Grown-Up Reads

The Best Grown-Up Reads of December 2017

by Jennie Yabroff

Photo credit: jayk7, Moment Open/Getty Images

In December, thoughts turn to holiday gifts, winter travel, and, possibly, all the things we’re going to do differently in 2018. If one of your resolutions for the New Year is to read more, there’s no time like December to get a jumpstart on that plan by gifting yourself one of these fantastic books hitting the shelves this month. (And when making your holiday shopping lists, don’t forget to include yourself!)

  • Enchantress of Numbers: A Novel of Ada Lovelace

    by Jennifer Chiaverini

    Ada Byron King was Romantic poet Lord Byron’s only legitimate daughter — but that was the least interesting thing about her. In this novel based on fact, Chiaverini tells the story of the world’s first computer programmer, who just happened to be a woman, and how her passions for math, science, and the love of her life made her truly beyond her times. A great read for anyone interested in the stories behind our computing age.
    (On Sale: 12/5/17)

  • The Girl in the Tower

    by Katherine Arden

    This second novel in the Winternight Trilogy follows the continuing adventures of Vasilisa, a young Russian girl whose magical gifts gain the attention of the Frost Demon, and also her neighbors, who, in this book, fear Vasilisa’s powers and threaten her life. Blending traditional fairy tale and folklore with a thrilling plot, Arden has crafted the perfect read to get your pulse racing on frigid winter evenings.
    (On Sale: 12/5/17)

  • Happiness in This Life: A Passionate Meditation on Earthly Existence

    by Pope Francis

    The 266th Pope of the Catholic Church has consistently preached messages of tolerance, acceptance, empathy, and simple acts of inclusion. Some of his most accessible and inspiring homilies and speeches are collected here, intended to give guidance to anyone who’s struggled with faith, friendship, family, or forgiveness — in other words, all of us. His message is broad and humble enough to appeal to nonbelievers as well.
    (On Sale: 12/5/17)

  • One Station Away

    by Olaf Olafsson

    Magnus is a neurologist, so he knows better than most how exactly the brain works to allow us to communicate love and fear — and what happens when it fails. In this touching novel, Magnus tries to unravel three mysteries simultaneously, all involving women who play critical roles in his life. His mother, his girlfriend, and his patient each cause him to examine how the brain, and heart, make us who we are. Prepare to feel, and think, deeply.
    (On Sale: 12/5/17)

  • Spy of the First Person

    by Sam Shepard

    When Shepard died earlier this year, the world lost a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and an accomplished actor. What many people may not know was that we also lost a talented short story writer. This novella, published posthumously, presents an unnamed narrator near the end of his life reflecting on family, travel, and the meaning of it all. An existential and moving read from one of the greatest dramatists of our time.
    (On Sale: 12/5/17)

  • Why Comics? From Underground to Everywhere

    by Hillary Chute

    What do Batman, Bart Simpson, and Little Orphan Annie have in common? They all began as characters in comics. In this history of the art, writer Hillary Chute explains how comics moved from the pages of comic books to TV screens, movie theaters, graphic novels, and the Broadway stage. As likely to appeal to the Peanuts fan as the Art Spiegelman devotee.
    (On Sale: 12/5/17)

  • Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker

    by A.N. Wilson

    Charles Darwin — the man who explained evolution, popularized the idea of survival of the fittest, and continues to represent the highest ideals of scientific inquiry — is as close to a god as many rationalists get. Writer A.N. Wilson has another view. In this controversial biography, he writes that Darwin was more a clever borrower than scientific genius, and suggests that his theories helped perpetuate economic inequality and class bias. Sure to spark lively debate.
    (On Sale: 12/12/17)

  • Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics

    by Dan Harris and Jeff Warren with Carlye Adler

    Meditation is the new exercise — we all know it’s good for us, we all know we should be doing it, yet, somehow … it just doesn’t happen. In this book, 10% Happier author and meditation-skeptic-turned-true-believer Dan Harris interviews scores of Americans about why they don’t meditate, and offers simple solutions to incorporate moments of mindfulness into their daily lives. His no-nonsense approach practically guarantees it will work for you, and requires a lot less energy than that 45-minute spinning class you’ve been putting off.
    (On Sale: 12/26/17)

  • Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More

    by Courtney Carver

    If there’s ever a time for a book about the “less is more” philosophy, it’s the holidays, when it’s easy to feel like we’re drowning in a sea of wrapping paper, gift receipts, and decorative cookie tins — and still feel like something is missing. Popular minimalist blogger Courtney Carver explains how to cut the clutter, not just to de-stress but to make more room in our lives for love. Sure to simultaneously inspire and soothe.
    (On Sale: 12/26/17)

What books are you looking forward to reading this month? Let us know in the comments below!