As always, the warmer weather does wonders for our reading habits. We're swapping cosy Netflix sitcoms for fiction we can absorb under the sun and by the sea. December is here, which means summer reading is too. As we all scramble to reach the book quotas we set as our New Year's resolution, take this list of new releases to chow down on in December 2022.
Schmutz, Felicia Berliner
Smutty, filthy and as soiled as the name suggests, Felicia Berliner's debut novel navigates the tension of sexuality in her Hasidic female protagonist's life. Set in an Orthodox Williamsburg community, 19-year-old Raizl awaits an arranged marriage that will land her a husband just like the other women in her community, unlike them however, she harbours a dirty secret: her addiction to porn. A coming-of-age story guaranteed to end the year on a bang, it's really quite wholesome and human.
Dear Love, Sarah Bahbah
We've watched her short films, snapped up the limited edition prints, and some of us even have her subtitle lights glowing on our bedroom walls. Now, we can secure a decade's-worth of Sarah Bahbah's art bound in the pages of her first coffee table book, Dear Love, a hefty 424-page tome comprising of more than 600 of her signature captioned and heavily romanticised images. It's entirely self-funded and self-published, with a sliding scale payment system in the interest of making art accessible.
Bimboland, Erin Taylor
A short but sweet poetry collection from New York City-based writer Erin Taylor. The 108-page debut muses on desire, vulnerability, money and Taylor's relationship to it as a socialist, as well as their experiences as a sex worker. An exciting release if you've followed their writing across publications like Allure and Bitch Media.
A Left-Handed Woman, Judith Thurman
It's always an exciting time when a voice as prolific as Judith Thurman is bound in the pages of a physical book. Having spent more than twenty years as a staff writer at The New Yorker, Thurman's writing has landed her comparisons to modern greats like Joan Didion, Janet Malcolm, and Susan Sontag, she's a winner of the National Book Award and countless other accolades too. So what does she have in store for us with A Left-Handed Woman? The book is another collection of essays and profiles across the subjects of arts, fashion, culture and books. Looking forward to gobbling it up!
No One Left To Come Looking For You, Sam Lipsyte
It's Manhattan's East Village in the early 90s, crime is high, rent is low, the ideal conditions for teenagers looking to make it big, whatever that may mean. No One Left To Come Looking For You follows a young rock musician from New Jersey days before his band's biggest gig to date. When their lead singer goes missing with Jack's prized bass, he must navigate the underworld of New York City, with its gangsters, bad cops, junkies and charlatans to find his mate, uncovering a few dark secrets along the way.
Sydney: A Biography, Louis Nowra
What is Kings Cross without Louis Nowra? What is Louis Nowra without Sydney? The poet and playwright has always had an aptitude for pinning down a sense of place, something that him and his wife and fellow writer Mandy Sayer have in common. In the same way he did with Woolloomooloo and Kings Cross, Nowra writes a colourful history of Sydney, both high and low, touching on everything from the fraught relationships between the original Eora peoples and Governor Phillip to Harry Seidler's architectural footprint and his arrogant fondness for building low ceilings.
Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion, Bushra Rehman
If your heart attached itself to the queer coming-of-age story told by Ocean Vuong in On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, order yourself a copy of Bushra Rehman's latest novel. We meet Razia Mirza amid the wild grape vines and backyard sunflowers of Corona, Queens, where she's never without her best friend Saima. When the two girls are forced apart by a family rift, Razia is heartbroken. Soon enough Razia encounters Taslima, then later at university Angela, as history threatens to repeat itself, the teenager must reconcile her faith and culture with her desire to be her true self.
Uncultured, Daniella Mestyanek Young
A memoir that travels from the "tall, foreboding gates of The Children of God commune in Brazil" to a macho military unit in the sands of Afghanistan, Daniella Mestyanek Young deftly writes her experience being raise in one cult and indoctrinated into another, and the strength of will to leave them both behind.
Image: Clueless (1995)