The end of the year is approaching, and that means that this will be my last round-up of new books until January. Although books make excellent presents, December often represents a bit of a drought for new books, so today’s list will be short.
But there are some exciting options all the same. You’ll find two new editions of classics by Octavia Butler, each with a new foreword from an acclaimed author, which may be perfect for someone who hasn’t yet read her Parables. The esteemed critic Julia Kristeva also has a new book out about Dostoyevsky, death, and sex; the migration scholar Hein de Haas has a timely study of human migration that argues against the many harmful, often xenophobic myths about migrants; and game theoretician Karl Sigmund has composed a book attempting to unite mathematics and philosophy.
The holidays can be times to turn the mind off (if you get the chance to), but they can also be lovely opportunities to spend time with complex subjects you may not otherwise have had the time to, so whether your interests skew more to Butler’s SFF, literary criticism, politics, or thought experiments, I hope you’ll find something fascinating below.
Whatever you do, may you all have a delightful December and even delightful-er New Year’s celebration, however you should choose to revel. I’ll see you all next year! It’s been a pleasure—thank you for reading, and more soon!
Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower (foreword by Levar Burton)
(Grand Central Publishing)
“Unnervingly prescient and wise. A worthy read for those intent on building a better world as this pandemic continues to lay bare how untenable, how depravedly unequal, the American way of life is and has always been.”
Octavia Butler, Parable of the Talents (foreword by Akwaeke Emezi)
(Grand Central Publishing)
“The story of three generations of Olamina women….Most touching in the novel are the friction between generations, the kinds of faith each generation indulges in, and the new families that form when traditional ones are splintered.”
–The Los Angeles Times
Julia Kristeva, Dostoyevsky in the Face of Death: Or Language Haunted by Sex (trans. Armine Kotin Mortimer)
(Columbia University Press)
“Poetic, stunning, fascinating, and deeply insightful, Kristeva’s readings of Dostoyevsky are as much about us and our time as they are about him and his works. This book is a celebration of literature and language as an antidote to the extremes of nihilism and fundamentalism that still threaten us today.”
Karl Sigmund, The Waltz of Reason: The Entanglement of Mathematics and Philosophy
“A mind-bending jaunt…that makes clear in fascinating detail how math is more than a sum of its parts.”
“De Haas’s primary insight is to look at migration as a global phenomenon—and not just from the perspective of countries in the west receiving migrants from elsewhere. Although media coverage often gives the impression that we are living in an unprecedented age of migration…this is not the case….De Haas suggests…it’s more useful to think of migration as a fact of life. The social and political questions it raises…are ones that concern us all.”