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Arts + Culture

7 Books You MUST Read This Month

Let's face it, there's no better time to snuggle up by the fire in a cozy inn with a good book than now. Here, the seven novels to dive into this December.

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1

The Undoing Project, Michael Lewis

Everyone’s talking about Michael Lewis’ new book about the masterminds behind Behavioral Economics. In 1969, two Israeli scientists and psychologists, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, joined forces to conduct a series of studies that revolutionized the theories of human behavior. In the same vein as Freakonomics and Outliers, the inspiring story reveals how the duo’s efforts ultimately earned them a Nobel Prize.

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2

The Sun Is Also a Star, Nicola Yoon

Disclaimer: This novel is technically young adult fiction. But please don’t, ahem, judge a book by its cover. Nicola Yoon explores the themes of fate, family and the future as she weaves a nostalgic romance between two high school graduates. The twist? The plot spans 12 hours in New York City. Daniel is interviewing at Yale to appease his strict Korean parents, and Natasha is spending her last day in America after her family, illegal immigrants from Jamaica, gets deported. Both through the central relationship and the intricate backstories of side-characters, Yoon proves there’s always more than meets the eye.

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3

Game of Queens, Sarah Gristwood

No, Game of Thrones fans, this is not an extension of the hit HBO series. Though it could be, with all the strong female characters, power struggles and politics following Europe’s 16th-century royals. Some key players: Anne Boleyn, Bloody Mary Tudor, Virgin Elizabeth, and Mary, Queen of Scots. Historian Sarah Griswold does a masterful job penning a book that is equally factual as it is fun to read. After all, who runs the world? Girls.

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4

Mincemeat: The Education of an Italian Chef, Leonardo Lucarelli

If Chefs Table is your Netflix go-to, and Kitchen Confidential is your bible, then you’ll eat up every word of this new memoir by acclaimed chef Leonardo Lucarelli. Like Bourdain, Lucarelli gives a behind-the-scenes account of what’s really cooking in the kitchen, from Italy’s cut-throat (and sometimes criminal) restaurant world to the group of misfits, swindlers and rogues that rule the roost.

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5

In Sunlight or in Shadow, Lawrence Block

In this hot new book, Lawrence Block taps an array of award-winning authors to write an anthology of 17 stories inspired by the Edward Hopper’s iconic American art. Literary stars including Stephen King, Lee Child and Joyce Carol Oates give the paintings life through their prose. And though each anecdote is of its own genre, the one thing they all have in common is the thread of loneliness and despair symbolic of Hopper’s work.

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6

The Moravian Night, Peter Handke

The Moravian Night is a story about a story (talk about meta). The main figure, an elderly writer, invites a group of friends to a houseboat on the Morava River to tell them about his odyssey across Europe. It has all the trappings of a good tale: eccentric experiences, countries in conflict and a mysterious stranger, a woman who still haunts his dreams. But as the narrative unfolds, the line between fact and fiction begins to blur due to his anxiety and aging memory.

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7

A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women, Siri Hustvedt

From novelist and feminist Siri Hustvedt comes this bold collection of essays examining the fraught relationship between gender, philosophy, art and science by interrogating the work of artists and great thinkers including Susan Sontag, Picasso and Jeff Koons. Divided into three parts, the book tackles such heady topics as the way psychology influences our desires, beliefs and fears.

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