Now that it finally feels like fall out, my strongest impulse is to curl up with cozy socks and a stack of books and not emerge from hibernation until May.
Sadly, real life keeps getting in the way. But the stack of books is still there, waiting until I have a free moment to pick one up and escape for a little while.
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss. “What’s a mashup?” my sister asked when I tried to explain this book to her. “Amazing,” I replied. B. linked me a review of this YA gothic mystery adventure, and I immediately put it on hold at the library. Goss is an academic whose doctoral thesis grew into a novel when she realized how many of the male scientists of gothic Victorian literature created female monsters. I stayed up way past my (10:30) bedtime to finish it as quickly as I could.
The Ancillary Justice Trilogy by Ann Leckie. I was several years late to this party, but once I joined I read all three books back to back in less than a week. Then I immediately starting asking everyone I knew if they had read them, because I had many feelings that I needed to discuss. Come for the space opera and heartwarming (if baffling) relationships, stay for the commentary on gender, artificial intelligence, and colonialism.
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Another one that I heard of when it came out but only recently got around to reading. I was initially put off by the stereotypical high schoolness of the characters before I realized that that was exactly the point. I actually had to take a break of about a week in the middle because I was not in the right headspace to deal with how intense this emotional rollercoaster got.
An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler. Not so much a cookbook as a book about cooking (though there are recipes and instructions and suggestions galore). An appropriate fall read, this is not a book to tear through, but it is pleasant to cozy up with and contemplate how cooking a meal and feeding a body are some of the most genuinely human acts we do every day. (Also, it inspired me to make my first pot of bone broth.)
The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine. A re-read, but I need a little Jazz Age New York City inspiration for an upcoming project, and this seems like an excellent place to start. The first time I read it, I spent the month after trying to persuade B. that we should abandon our respective careers and open a speakeasy-style dance club.
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. Yes, I watch Practical Magic every fall, and yes, I broke my heart over the book when I was in high school. I squealed when I found out there was a sequel, and my best friend priority mailed me her copy as soon as she finished it.