Here we are in December, probably unsure of what to do with ourselves as we work hard to stay offline for at least part of the day, lest we sink more fully into a black hole of despair. And so: Why not pick up a book? Books always help! Here are five books coming out this month that we endorse as being just the right things to read right now. And if you want to be completist about it, here are our lists of best monthly books for January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November. Enjoy!
Enchantress of Numbers: A Novel of Ada Lovelace by Jennifer Chiaverini (available December 5)
Perhaps you'd like to take a break from a news cycle filled with the deeds of horrific men? Perhaps! So how about dive right into this novel about the brilliant Ada Lovelace, daughter of infamous Romantic poet Lord Byron and a mathematician mother, whose life is the stuff of legends. Raised by her mother in a strict style designed to deter any creative ventures, Lovelace would, in fact, grow up to work in the type of mathematical field her mother wanted (Lovelace is often called the world's first computer programmer). However, the passionate nature her mother sought to deny was only inflamed in Lovelace, and channeled into her personal life and her work. This book is a fascinating look at how science and art do not stand at opposite ends of a spectrum, but rather—at their best—work together, and bring us toward a new, undreamed-of future.