Come September there are two types of people. In the first camp are the people who cling to summer. They gobble up ice cream, can’t get their minds to focus work, and dream of sandy beaches.
In the second are those who rush headfirst into fall. These people can be found counting down the days to pumpkin spice season, breaking out sweaters, and sinking into a good book.
Which one are you?
I recently participated in my first ever battle of the books. It was a library event and really tested how much I retain from the books that I read. (If anyone cares, my team came in third place.) It was a fun way to spend an evening but it was also encouraging to see how much the books I read stay with me.
Cooked by Michael Pollan
I love cooking. However, it’s hard to keep my motivation going strong. We live in a world where ordering a pizza is fast, cheap, and easy. Our whole lives are encouraging us to outsource the important work of feeding ourselves. This is part of the reason I really enjoyed reading Pollan’s experiences with falling in love with cooking and his perspective (decidedly more scientific than mine) on a practice we all do.
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
What a charming little novel! This is Murata’s first work translated into English. The titular convenience store woman, Keiko, struggles to be “normal” and even understand what that means. The structure of the convenience store helps her put on a mask of normalcy, but as she grows older her friends and family become steadily less and less content with her convenience store job.
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
Greer Kadetsky is painfully shy, hopelessly in love with her boyfriend, Cory, and brilliant. She is star struck when she sees famous feminist author Faith Frank speak at her college. After the lecture, she catches Faith’s eye in a meeting that will change the trajectory of Greer’s life and the future she planned on sharing with Cory.
This month, I’m fully into nonfiction mode, specifically Jon Krakauer. I’d been meaning to read Into the Wild for some time now, but had put it off over and over again. So, after finally picking it up and knocking it out in a few days (maybe less), I went right into Into Thin Air. Both books are great for people that like the outdoors and/or real-life adventures.
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Into the Wild follows the story of Chris McCandless, a young man who abandoned his life to travel to Alaska and live off the land. Many of you have probably seen the movie adaptation, but the book offers a much deeper look. After spending over 100 days in the Alaskan bush, McCandless was found dead inside an abandoned bus. While the exact cause of death is debated (either food poisoning or starvation or other reasons), the book attempts to answer a simple question: what is it about the wild that draws so many people in? Krakauer analyzes this question through McCandless’ experiences and his own life with a bunch of Walden thrown in.
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
After reading Into the Wild, I wanted to check out more by Krakauer. And what better book to dive into next but Into Thin Air? This book also has a movie adaptation, which will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time. In summary, Into Thin Air follows Krakauer as he embarks on his quest to summit Everest. Little did he know, he would be a part of the deadliest Everest climb in history. While this book can be looked at as a man versus nature type of story, the human moments and elements of it are really compelling. Highly recommend it.
Snuff by Terry Pratchett
Anyone who has read this booklist before knows I’m on a quest to complete the Discworld Series. Snuff follows Commander Vimes as he takes a forced vacation to the countryside. But, just like anything with Vimes, things aren’t as they seem. Quickly, Vimes finds himself in another investigation. This time it’s to solve the murder of a goblin girl. In classic Pratchett style, the plot takes some wild twists and turns.
When it comes to this time of year, I’m definitely in the second camp. I’m in full-tilt fall mode. (Even now I’m sipping a hot coffee flavored with a bit of cinnamon in the hope it will force autumn to arrive faster.) As such, I’m trying to bring a little fall flavor when it comes to my reading as well.
The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah
The newest of the Hercule Poirot mysteries, the story opens with Hercule Poirot, the self-proclaimed greatest mind in Europe, having been accused of sending slanderous letters to not one, but two complete strangers, accusing both of the murder of a Barnabas Pandy. Only Poirot can clear his own name, discover who this Barnabas Pandy is (alive or dead), and get to the bottom of what may be the strangest case he’s ever encountered.
Heir to Agatha Christie’s iconic detective, Sophie Hannah has a long legacy to fulfill, and The Mystery of Three Quarters demonstrates she’s more than capable of meeting that legacy head on.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Perhaps the greatest ghost story ever told and the inspiration behind numerous adaptations (of varying quality), including the acclaimed Netflix series. This is a book that I try to reread every year. Sure, it scares the bejezus out of me, and I have to sleep with a nightlight for almost a week after finishing it, but with Hill House Jackson accomplishes something that’s baffled even the most accomplished horror writers: she creates genuine fear through her characters and their experiences without having to rely on gore, shock, or excess. Brew a cup of tea, check under the bed a fourth time, and pick up this masterpiece.
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight by Mike Mignola and Brian Augustyn
Nothing says ‘fall’ quite like a Batman story. So I chose the most Batman one I could think of. The first of DC’s Elseworld stories, Gotham by Gaslight is a take on the Dark Knight if he lived in a Gotham of the 1800’s, and had to take on Jack the Ripper (naturally). The greatest detective of all time versus the world’s most infamous cold case: what’s not to love? Watch Batman prove his powers of deduction in a time when tech is still on the low-side, the collars are on the high-side, and the game is afoot.
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