7 New Books to Watch For in December

‘Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House,’ by Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz (Crown, Dec. 8)

Maddow and Yarvitz dive into the other Watergate-era scandal: The antihero of this book is Spiro Agnew, Richard Nixon’s vice president, whose corruption during his tenure as Maryland’s governor became a critical issue as federal prosecutors raced to remove him from office, lest he take over as president when Nixon resigned. The book, which builds on previous reporting, traces the efforts to cover up Agnew’s crimes and bring him to justice.

‘Black Futures,’ edited by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham (One World, Dec. 1)

Wortham, a staff writer at the Times Magazine, and Drew bring together photographs, screenshots, illustrations, recipes and more to answer the question, What does it mean to be Black and alive right now? Dozens of artists, activists, musicians and more contributed to the volume, including Alicia Garza, Morgan Parker, Ziwe Fumudoh, Teju Cole and Solange Knowles.

‘The Invention of Medicine: From Homer to Hippocrates,’ by Robin Lane Fox (Basic Books, Dec. 8)

Now more than ever, many of us are acutely aware of how medicine and the philosophies of doctors shape our lives. Fox traces this history back to the Greeks, exploring how the West’s ideas about sickness and healing have evolved over thousands of years.

‘An Inventory of Losses,’ by Judith Schalansky. Translated by Jackie Smith. (New Directions, Dec. 8)

Schalansky opens with a preamble detailing things that were lost while she was writing this genre-bending book — the Boeing 777 en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur; mosques in Mosul, Iraq; Guatemala’s Lake Atescatempa — and each of the chapters uses a lost item as a narrative jumping-off point. As Schlansky writes, the collection is above all concerned with the “diverse phenomena of decomposition and destruction.”

‘Perestroika in Paris,’ by Jane Smiley (Knopf, Dec. 1)

If you’re looking for a feel-good escape, try this new novel by Smiley, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. This time Smiley’s hero is a curious racehorse named Paras, who escapes her stall and makes her way over to the Place du Trocadéro. There, Paras strikes up a friendship with a lonely German pointer named Frida, who’s unusually skilled at looking after herself. Plenty of other Parisians, human and animal, show Paras compassion and help her find her way in the city.

‘Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of “Harriet the Spy,”’ by Leslie Brody (Seal Press, Dec. 1)

This biography sheds plenty of new light on Fitzhugh, who was especially reticent about her personal life and sexuality. Brody delves into her artistic and creative influences, and makes the case that Fitzhugh’s most enduring creation — Harriet — is just as much at home along Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem as Scout Finch and Jo March.

‘Sylvia Pankhurst: Natural Born Rebel,’ by Rachel Holmes (Bloomsbury, Dec. 15)

This new biography of the English suffragist (1882-1960) argues that Pankhurst was one of the “greatest unsung political figures of the twentieth century.” Throughout her life, as an advocate of workers’ rights, anti-colonialism, anti-fascism, feminism and more, Pankhurst understood the intersections between gender, class and race. As she once wrote of herself: “When victory for any cause came, she had little leisure to rejoice, none to rest; she had always some other objective in view.”

Follow New York Times Books on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, sign up for our newsletter or our literary calendar. And listen to us on the Book Review podcast.

Source: Read Full Article