Books & Looks: December

With temperatures dropping and the cooler months ahead, “cuffing season” takes on a whole new meaning for book lovers. Find us cuddling up with the next best read, or shacking up with a classic while sipping on a warm wintery beverage.

As always, these books have inspired sartorial renderings. Here are some great new book picks paired with some of my favorite outfits for the season:

Her Daughter’s Mother by Daniela Petrova

Dive into the psychological thriller of two women united by an increasingly modern connection: Lana, desperate to become pregnant uncovers the identity of her anonymous egg donor Katya, a free spirit out on her own. Their paths cross and the women become friends but tragedy strikes: Katya disappears and Lana has become a major suspect in her disappearance. Fans of the mystery and suspense genre can expect to be fully immersed in Daniela Petrova’s Her Daughter’s Mother with an ending you didn’t see coming.

Outfit: thrifted


In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado is the author’s memoir and is a necessary read for our times. Machado details a past, abusive relationship with the woman from the Dream House, as she references contemporary cultural and political points that serve to provide a richer and more meaningful understanding of queer relationships. Machado’s In the Dream House defies and defines the unique ways we view and experience intimate relationships.

Outfit: Top and pants from Pretty Little Thing


Norco ’80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History by Peter Houlahan

Norco ’80 by Peter Houlahan recounts the danger of racism, religious extremism, militarization and PTSD that the country has ever seen in a bank heist gone awry. After five born-again Christian men attempted to rob a bank with military-grade weapons, they unleashed extreme violence in the police force and in surrounding neighborhoods as they fired thousands of rounds of ammo. This reads like a show on TV, but it forever changed the landscape of law enforcement and how we deal with PTSD since the ’70s.


Flights by Olga Tokarczuk

Flights by Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk garnered many awards when it was first published, most notably the Nobel Prize in literature. To describe Flights as a linear story would miss the point, as it is a collection of musings, observations, cultural, scientific and personal rumination of how we move about in the world. Travel, as told in Flights, is not just the act of moving from one place or country to another, but of the internal worlds that the wanderer also gets to inhabit. Flights is definitely one of those books that should be read by everyone, no matter what genre you enjoy.

Outfit: Blazer and pants from Pretty Little Thing


The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman

New York Times bestseller Lori Nelson Spielman is back with The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany, a story about the pursuit of second-born daughters to break the curse of a life without love. Set in the lush Italian landscapes of Venice, Amalfi Coast and Tuscany, this novel has been winning the hearts of readers with its lovable trio of women Filomena, Emilia and Lucy with the matriarch Aunt Poppy. An absolutely perfect read to keep the soul warm through the winter months ahead, as we look forward to spring.

Outfit: Jumper and skirt from Missguided


The New Life by Orhan Pamuk

The acclaimed Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk delves into the book of books in this novel The New Life, a story about a university student’s obsession with a book that completely changes the course of his life. After finishing the book central to this novel, the protagonist Osman goes on to fulfill the embodiment of the book’s main tenets: the dangerous nature of love and self. After all, what book lover could resist this novel’s first line? “I read a book one day and my whole life was changed.”

Outfit: Trousers from Pretty Little Thing, White tee from Muji


Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler

Following the Earthseed duology, Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Talents continues the main protagonist’s Lauren Oya Olamina’s quest of establishing Earthseed, a new belief system set in 2032. With the goal of establishing a new order that honors people away from the socially and economically depressed society, Lauren and her community are suddenly ravaged and enslaved by The Crusaders, government-sponsored religious extremists. Central to Butler’s science fiction novel is the link between community and individual belief, and how one thing shapes and influences another.


Wanderlust: The Amazing Ida Pfeiffer, the First Female Tourist by John Van Wyhe

Wanderlust by John Van Wyhe tells the story of Ida Pfeiffer, the world’s “first female tourist” as the author suggests. Born in Vienna, the Austrian housewife thought of her world as too small and set out to travel the world in spite of her limitations. She was neither a man or moneyed, but with fierce determination, she made her way around the globe. The book is filled with Pfeiffer’s own accounts, and Van Wyhe gives us a full picture of a woman beyond her time and courageous beyond her dreams.

Outfit: Cropped long sleeve from Nasty Gal, Hat from Lack of Color


Dear Girls: Intimate Lies, Untold Secrets, & Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong

As brazen and as genuine as she is on stage, Ali Wong sparkles in Dear Girls, a collection of letters written for her two daughters Mari and Nikki. The comedian bares everything from love, dating, sex and many other experiences in the context of motherhood – all told in true Ali Wong style. The letters are short stories themselves that anchor Wong’s own experiences from childhood, as an Asian woman and many more that make this tome a must-read for all.


Against Creativity by Oli Mould

Against Creativity by Oli Mould is not your usual how-to for creativity, as it explores and debunks how creativity is being used for capitalism. It calls out how creative work is being exploited to further productivity and consumerism, a tool for neoliberalism. Mould describes how it is being used to further individualism versus the good of the collective, and he offers a radical reimagining of the concept.


*Disclosure: The links above are affiliate links. These picks are editorially selected, but if you purchase, She Reads may get something in return. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. 

Pia Cortez

Contributing Editor

Pia Cortez is a writer and a book blogger based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the creator and curator of the book blog Libromance, where she publishes book reviews and other literary features with a queer, Filipino immigrant perspective. She is currently a contributor for Lambda Literary, New Life Quarterly, Positively Filipino and Hella Pinay. When she’s not writing, reading or reviewing books, she’s working on Booklook, a project on the intersection of literature and fashion. You can also find Pia surfing in Pacifica, or somewhere in the Bay on the hunt for the next best Filipino fusion food.

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