Mint Book Club: December

Our favorite books will become yours this month; holiday gift is a good read


Love our recommendations? You can send your thoughts to [email protected].


This year has been stressful. Even with us nearing the end of this year, there’s still plenty to worry about going into 2021 and beyond.

So let’s forget about everything else for a second and talk about books. Whether it’s to learn something new, escape from life or just experience a good story, a good book is welcome any day of the year. There’s nothing particularly theme-y about December besides Christmas (and we have not read enough Christmas novels for that), so we decided to end the year by recommending some of our favorite books.

As always, you’re required to read every book listed. If you haven’t, I’ll know.

Kassandra Vogel’s submission:

“Brain on Fire” by Susannah Cahalan

The most impactful book I have read recently is “Brain on Fire” by New York Post reporter Susannah Cahalan. In this autobiography, Cahalan leads us through a harrowing time in her life as people around her try to find the cause of the shocking decline in her health. She becomes unrecognizable not only to those who know her but to herself. While the book is frightening, it also reminded me of the resilience of the human spirit, something I need to be reminded of more often nowadays. Overall, this book might scare the hell out of you, but it is also a strangely reassuring and touching story.

Anna Young’s submission:

“Red Dragon” by Thomas Harris

I hype this book to anyone who will listen to me (and even those who won’t) because it’s well worth the praise. Harris’ 1981 prequel to “Silence of the Lambs” is just as addicting as its more famous successor. Many people know it thanks to the 2002 film adaptation, but the book will blow your mind even if you’ve seen the movie. Protagonist Will Graham’s hunt for a serial killer who targets families introduced Hannibal Lecter, featured here as Will’s old nemesis, seven years before “Silence” popularized the character. It’s a wild ride, and if you’re like me, you’ll read it in one sitting and still want more.

Joel Kemegue’s submission:

“The Ballad of Black Tom” by Victor LaValle

I am a massive horror nerd, and I really love the idea of Cthulhu and Lovecraftian monsters but unfortunately, H.P. Lovecraft was a massive racist, and it’s kind of hard to read his stuff when he makes no effort to hide it. Luckily, Victor LaValle had the same problem and decided to take one of Lovecraft’s most infamously racist stories, “The Horror at Red Hook,” and make it about a Black guy. It’s a short read, and I wouldn’t call it that scary, but any book that can balance the horrors of racism and ancient eldritch gods impossible for humans to comprehend is always worth a read.