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5 new books to read in December

December 1, 2021, 12:00 PM UTC

A historical novel set between Seoul and Pyongyang during the Korean independence movement; a manifesto from one of the leaders of Hong Kong’s present-day fight for democracy; and an optimistic guide (and bright spot to end the year) to experiencing a satisfying career.

Here is a selection of new books being published this month.

December-Books-2021-Out-of-Office
Courtesy of Knopf

Out of Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working From Home by Charlie Warzel and Anne Helen Petersen

Available Dec. 7

While not everyone has been working from home since March 2020 (and some careers don’t allow for remote work whatsoever), enough time has passed that the retrospectives are about to pour in and examine what the WFH experiment means for the future of work. Journalists Charlie Warzel and Anne Helen Petersen examine both the benefits and pitfalls of remote work in societal terms but also in light of the couple’s move from New York City to Missoula, Mont. For better or worse, our relationship with the office has changed forever.

December-Books-2021-beasts-of-a-little-land
Courtesy of Ecco Press

Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim

Available Dec. 7

Set in 1917 against the backdrop of the Korean independence movement, this novel about love and war follows the lives of two characters: a young girl sold by her family to a courtesan school and a poor orphan boy begging on the streets of Seoul. They forge a deep friendship, but that bond is put to the test over time, with the boy growing up into the independence movement while the girl has a chance to marry out of poverty and into a higher social status.

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Courtesy of Harpervia

Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding

Available Dec. 7

Upfront as a trigger warning, readers should know that this novel deals with themes of severe addiction and alcoholism. It also addresses recovery and the painful road that entails as the protagonist, haunted by her failed career but also kept alive by her love for her son, will need to make a difficult choice if she’s truly to achieve redemption.

December-Books-2021-Freedom
Courtesy of Experiment

Freedom: How We Lose It and How We Fight Back by Nathan Law with Evan Fowler

Available Dec. 7

Nathan Law was Hong Kong’s youngest elected lawmaker before he was imprisoned in August 2017 by Chinese authorities for his role in the Umbrella Movement, a series of sit-in protests that commenced in 2014. In Freedom, the Nobel Peace Prize nominee has penned a manifesto about how quickly freedom can be eroded or dismantled—and how every generation must fight to protect it.

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Courtesy of Dial Press

The Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again by Catherine Price

Available Dec. 21

In the follow-up to How to Break Up With Your Phone, journalist Catherine Price continues the dialogue about how to balance your screen life with your actual life (IRL). In The Power of Fun, Price suggests that the actual key to success in your career and in life is quite simple: having fun.

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