Cover Here are the best new books to read in December 2021 (Art: Chesca Gamboa/Tatler Hong Kong)

From gripping thrillers to epic stories of love, here are the best new books to read during the festive season

The holiday season is here. In addition to staycations, Christmas trees, markets, displays, decorations, gifts and food, you can make this month ever merrier with these new books. Spend a relaxing day at home, snuggled amidst the Christmas lights with a hot cup of coffee while reading a book.

This month, there are plenty of gripping mystery thrillers that will keep you off the edge of your seat in addition to epic stories of love that span decades. Need more books to put on your 2022 reading list? Read on to find out the best new books coming out this month.

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1 / 9

A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw

When it comes to locating missing people, Travis Wren is your guy. Needing only a single object to find the missing person, families have hired Travis as a last resort. So he takes on a new case, that of Maggie St James, an author of dark children’s books and he’s led to a place that only exists as a legend.

Mystery, fantasy, thriller—A History of Wild Places combines fairy tales but takes a dark spin on it.

Release: December 7

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2 / 9

The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Rachel Kapelke-Dale’s debut novel, The Ballerinas follows a trio of ballerinas who meet at a ballet school in Paris. Fourteen years ago, Delphine abandoned a soloist spot at the Paris Opera Ballet, trading it for a fresh start in St. Petersburg. She brought with her, a secret kept between her fellow dancers, Lindsay and Margaux. But now, Delphine has returned to Paris to choreograph the ballet which she hopes will kick start the next chapter of her career.

But as she’ll soon learn that secrets can’t stay buried forever.

Release: December 7

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3 / 9

The Women I Love: A Novel by Francesco Pacifico

Francesco Pacifico’s newest novel, The Women I Love revolves around Marcello, an editor and poet, who’s about to enter his 40s. To chronicle his life, he’s writing a novel that’s set to focus on the women in his life. But for Marcello, the many women in his life cannot be labelled so he cannot simply write about love.

So instead, he turns to the complexities of his relationships whether it’s towards Eleonora, his junior editor, his former protege Barbara or his estranged queer sister.

Release: December 7

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4 / 9

It’s Getting Dark: Stories by Peter Stamm

It’s Getting Dark follows several characters—Georg on the verge of retirement so no one notices him anymore, Sabrina who sees herself as a work of art for the first time and David who wants to rob a bank.

Through these characters, author Peter Stamm asks us to rethink what we know about the world, especially when the familiar turns strange and how fragile our reality really is.

Release: December 7

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5 / 9

Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim

Beasts of a Little Land by Korean American author Juhea Kim is an epic story of love, war and redemption set against the backdrop of the Korean independence movement. It’s 1917 in occupied Korea, deep in the snowy mountains, a penniless hunter saves a young Japanese officer from an attacking tiger. This act connects their fate together, one that will span half a century.

Later, a young girl is sold to a courtesan house. There, she befriends an orphan boy and they soon develop a deep friendship. But as the two come of age, the boy becomes swept up in the fight for independence and the girl becomes a sought-after performer, waiting to be married to a man of noble birth. The two must decide whether they would risk everything for each other or let fate play out.

Release: December 7

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6 / 9

The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa

Cat and book lovers rejoice. The Cat Who Saved Books is all about the celebration of books, cats and the people who love them. The story follows high school bookworm, Rintari Natsuki who’s about to close the secondhand bookstore that he inherited from his bookworm grandfather.

Suddenly, a talking cat appears—demanding the teenager’s help in saving the books. To do so, the two must liberate lonely books left unread and unloved by their neglectful owners. This brings them to an adventure filled with mazes to set the books free.

Release: December 7

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7 / 9

Tell Me How to Be by Neel Patel

Author Neel Patel makes his debut in Tell Me How to Be which tells the story of an Indian American family confronting the secrets between them. Renu Amin’s life seems perfect—dashing husband, luxurious house and equally doting sons. But as the one-year anniversary of her husband’s death approaches, instead of feeling sad, she’s filled with old resentments and spend most of her days binge-watching soap operas. On her mind, she’s wondering if she chose the wrong like 35 years ago.

Over in Los Angeles, her son Akash also seems to have everything he ever wanted. As he tries to kickstart his songwriting career and commit to his boyfriend, memories of the past continue to haunt him. When Renu tells Akash that she’s selling the family home, Akash returns hoping to say his final goodbye and move on. But secrets of the past come knocking at their door.

Release: December 7

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8 / 9

Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman

After her powerful performance at the inauguration of US President Joe Biden, poet Amanda Gorman has become a star. After releasing The Hill We Climb book earlier this year, the award-winning poet is back with Call Us What We Carry and it’s Gormat at her finest.

The new collection includes The Hill We Climb and other poems that explore the themes of identity, grief and memory. Filled with the language of hope and healing, it’s a must-read as the year wraps up and we welcome a new one.

Release: December 7

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9 / 9

Twenty Years Later by Charlie Donlea

Best-selling author Charlie Donlea returns with another thriller mystery in Twenty Years Later. The book follows TV reporter, Mason who’s the best of the best when it comes to grabbing the audience’s attention. Her latest story is a sure win.

But she soon finds out that there’s more to the case than she previously thought. Now, she’s determined to uncover the truth behind the murder, decades after the initial investigation was put to rest.

Release: December 28

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