Books to Look Out for in December 2018

Cover image December’s not the shiniest of months for new titles but there are some potential treats to be found if you look hard enough. One such is Tom Barbash’s The Dakota Winters, set in 1979 New York where twenty-three-year-old Anton Winter returns home after a stint in the Peace Corps to be greeted by his father Buddy. ‘Before long Anton is swept up in an effort to reignite Buddy’s stalled career, a mission that takes him from the gritty streets of New York, to the slopes of the Lake Placid Olympics, to the Hollywood Hills, to the blue waters of the Bermuda Triangle, and brings him into close quarters with the likes of Johnny Carson, Ted and Joan Kennedy, and a seagoing John Lennon’ say the publishers, promisingly. This one comes garlanded with praise from all manner of writers, from Jennifer Egan to Michael Chabon.

I wasn’t overly impressed by David Szalay’s All That Man Is which never seemed to coalesce as a novel but that hasn’t stopped me from casting an eye over Turbulence, described by his publishers as a short story sequence, which follows twelve characters en route across the globe. ‘Szalay deftly depicts the ripple effect that, knowingly or otherwise, a person’s actions have on those around them, and invites us to consider our own place in the vast and delicately balanced network of human relationships that is the world we live in today’ according to the blurb. It’s the idea of the journey that attracts me to this one.

Just one paperback for December but it’s one of 2018’s unexpected favourites for me. Lissa Cover image Evans’ Old Baggage tells the story of Mattie, once met never forgotten, picking it up in 1928, ten years after British women who met a property qualification were enfranchised, and it’s an absolute treat. Evans’ story romps along replete with period detail, wearing its historical veracity lightly while exploring themes of social justice with wit, humour and compassion. I loved it. For those of us struggling with the current political climate, Old Baggage is a happy reminder that things can get better.

That’s it for December. Click on either of the first two titles if you’d like a more detailed synopsis; the third will take you to my review. It’ll soon be time to cast an eye back over my books of 2018 before looking ahead to the goodies the publishing world has planned for us in 2019.

23 thoughts on “Books to Look Out for in December 2018”

    1. Hopes are never very high for December so I’m pleased when there’s anything worth mentoning. Old Baggage is good enough to stand for two! Yes, shadow reading is over now. We’ll be announcing our winner later in the week.

  1. Oops your first book there – which does sound interesting – reminds me that I still have a book of short stories by Tom Barbash that Jacqui sent me an age ago still to read. Old Baggage is brilliant, I’m thinking of getting it for a friend for Christmas.

    1. Please don’t feel in the least bit guilty about this, Ali. There are one or two gifts in my TBR that have been there for years! Anyway, the novel does sound interesting – I do like a New York setting in my fiction. 🙂

  2. I’m so thrilled about the paperback of Old Baggage; the cover is wonderful and I’m delighted to be able to send it to even more people.

  3. Old Baggage sounds great, and I’ve seen nothing but raves for it across Twitter and the blogosphere. Can you remind me, is this a prequel to another book? Crooked Heart?

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