The Best Books of December 2017: From Chiaverini to Arden

Every month, Signature combs through the upcoming releases to provide a look at the most exciting titles rounding the bend.

December brings with it everything from fast-paced thrillers to self-help books. The final month of the year is a time to celebrate, entertain, and have fun, but also a time to reflect. So enjoy Robert Crais’s latest Elvis Cole and Joe Pike thriller, but then pick up Courtney Carver’s Soulful Simplicity for a look at doing much more with much less. Have a festive and lively holiday season, and remember to indulge in some books along with all that egg nog.

  • The cover of the book Enchantress of Numbers

    Enchantress of Numbers

    A Novel of Ada Lovelace

    In Enchantress of Numbers, Jennifer Chiaverini breathes life into the too-often-forgotten story of Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, who is considered by many to be the very first computer programmer. Ada grew up estranged from her famous poet father, mainly due to the wariness of her mathematician mother, who did not want her daughter corrupted by him. Her mother went to great lengths to keep Ada from following in his footsteps—Ada’s education was grounded in math and science, to keep any sparks of poetical madness from igniting within her. But math and science were Ada’s passions, and when she was old enough to be introduced into London society, she became a part of intellectual circles that stimulated her mind. In her latest novel, Chiaverini tells the story of a brilliant woman who stepped out of her father’s shadow and helped to form the world we know today.

    Out December 5

  • The cover of the book The Girl in the Tower

    The Girl in the Tower

    A Novel

    The Girl in the Tower, the sequel to The Bear and the Nightingale, is the second book in Katherine Arden’s enchanting Winternight Trilogy. This series is the perfect thing to curl up with on a cold night this holiday season. It follows Vasilisa, who has grown up on the edge of a Russian wilderness, and has a gift for seeing things that others do not. This gift came with great responsibility in The Bear and the Nightingale, and in The Girl in the Tower, things are no easier as Vasilisa has been chased out of her hometown and is faced with marriage or a convent. This book is perfect for those who love fairy tales, deep winter stories, and a good adventure.

    Out December 5

  • The cover of the book Global Discontents

    Global Discontents

    Composed of twelve transcribed discussions between Noam Chomsky and David Barsamian, Global Discontents lays out Chomsky’s thoughts on the discontent heard round the world in modern times, and what it portends for “the world we are leaving to our grandchildren.” He considers climate change, potential nuclear war, ISIS, economic inequality, Donald Trump’s presidency, and more. More importantly, he considers our responses to them, what they are lacking, and how they might be improved. If our current system of dealing with threats to our species is insufficient, Chomsky argues, then it’s up to us to change it.

    Out December 5

  • The cover of the book Happiness in This Life

    Happiness in This Life

    A Passionate Meditation on Earthly Existence

    Happiness in This Life is a collection of homilies and speeches from Pope Francis that brings together his thoughts on the subject of happiness. Read together or one at a time, Pope Francis’s thoughts are meditations for the faithful and the secular in a divisive time. This book is a reminder that we are all human, and that happiness does indeed exist, just in time for the holidays.

    Out December 5

  • The cover of the book Nightblind


    Ragnar Jonasson’s latest thriller follows Ari Thor Arason, a local policeman in a tightknight Icelandic community recently shattered by murder. When one of Ari’s colleagues is shot to death in the dark of night, what was once felt to be an idyllic village (where no one even felt the need to lock their doors) becomes a much darker place, where anything can happen to anyone.

    Out December 5

  • The cover of the book The Saboteur

    The Saboteur

    Paul Kix’s The Saboteur takes us back to World War II to tell the true story of Robert de La Rochefoucald, an aristocrat turned anti-Nazi saboteur. Raised with every privilege one could hope for, La Rochefoucald escaped to England to learn to fight from the officers of Special Operations Executive when the Nazis imprisoned his father. Upon his return to France, with his newfound skills, La Rochefoucald organized Resistance cells and embodied something of a pre-James Bond James Bond.

    Out December 5

  • The cover of the book Believe It to Achieve It

    Believe It to Achieve It

    Overcome Your Doubts, Let Go of the Past, and Unlock Your Full Potential

    Just in time for the new year comes Brian Tracy and Christina Stein’s Believe It to Achieve It. This motivational guide to banishing negative thoughts and unlocking your potential is exactly what you need to make those hastily-written resolutions stick. (Or what you need to help form them.) If you’re feeling stuck and need that push to get going, this book is just the thing.

    Out December 26

  • The cover of the book Live Lagom

    Live Lagom

    Balanced Living, the Swedish Way

    Scandinavian culture continues to inspire us, if the continued phenomena of hygge and fika are any indication. Enter lagom, the Swedish concept of finding a balance between aesthetics and function in the spaces we inhabit and in our daily practices. Lagom is a call to slow down, to appreciate the little things, and not to work harder, but to work better. As the year comes to a close, we could all use some reminding of these small truths.

    Out December 26

  • The cover of the book Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics

    Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics

    A 10% Happier How-to Book

    After having a panic attack on live television, ABC news anchor Dan Harris rethought his cynical stance on meditation. He documented this journey in his bestselling memoir 10% Happier, inadvertently becoming one of meditation’s most vocal advocates. In Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, Harris turns his attention to the millions of people who want to practice meditation but aren’t doing so. What’s holding them back? Harris and his friend Jeff Warren took to the road to find the answer. Here, they explore what they learned about common obstacles to meditation, and how we can all overcome them.

    Out December 26

  • The cover of the book Soulful Simplicity

    Soulful Simplicity

    How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More

    When Courtney Carver was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), she was no longer able to live the busy professional and personal life that she had once lived. And after come time, Carver thought that might not be such a bad thing, because more does not always equal better. In Soulful Simplicity, Carver explores the tactics she employed in her own life after her MS diagnosis that allowed her to do much more with much less. In getting rid of the excess, she was able to joyfully live within the new confines of her life.

    Out December 26

  • The cover of the book The Wanted

    The Wanted

    In his latest Elvis Cole and Joe Pike novel, Robert Crais takes the pair of investigators on the deadliest case of their lives. Single mother Devin Connor has hired the duo because she suspects her teenage son Tyson of dealing drugs and wants him stopped. In actuality, the truth is much worse: Tyson is but one piece of a trio responsible for a string of high-end burglaries. He disappears when one of his partners is killed, and it soon becomes clear that those he has burgled aren’t going to take this sitting down. They’re coming for him, unless Cole and Pike can find him first.

    Out December 26