Fall reads

We’re all familiar with the summer read — a beach read, if you will … like, say, Beach Read.

Maybe it’s set on Nantucket, filled with colorful locals who despise the “summer people” but still depend on (and even fall in love with) them. Or we meet estranged sisters who return to the old summer cottage to mend fences after the passing of the family matriarch. Or, ooh! College friends who have grown in different directions, but reunite once a year to remember who they used to be before launching their high-powered careers (in PR, natch) with “free time” spent scrubbing at baby spit-up in the back of the minivan. If an old flame happens to show up on the shore, well … all the better.

I’m not putting down summer reads … not at all. Adulthood is fun because there is no syllabus. I read what I want and I don’t feel guilty about it. And a novel being classified as a “summer read” is no statement on its quality or general awesomeness. Take Taylor Jenkins Reid’s popular Malibu Rising, for example. Wow.

Anyway, you know all this. Summer reading is clearly a thing well beyond those mandatory lists in high school. That’s why there are so many lists.

I get it. And as a list enthusiast, I also respect it.

But I think we’re missing a big opportunity here: Fall reads.

The fall read is where the magic truly happens. Trading our piña coladas for pumpkin spice lattes naturally lends itself to all things cozy, including stories … the classics, perhaps. Little Women. Or simply books set in autumn, regardless of subject — books that capture the warmth and anticipation of my favorite time of year.

I took a mental health day last week. After assisting with a family emergency, my husband made it quite clear that I was to actually enjoy my day while the kids were at school … not, you know, fill the hours by scrubbing toilets or reorganizing closets. That’s hard, of course. With Hadley and Oliver occupied, I can actually do the things that need to be done around the house. But much in the way that I once forced myself not to always spend my newborns’ precious nap times doing dishes, I decided I was going to read.

Well — binge-watch “LuLaRich,” the new LuLaRoe documentary on Amazon Prime … which is so nuts it feels like satire. Then read.

That’s how I found myself outdoors with a bag of fancy caramel apple kettle corn (from Target, don’t get too excited for me) with Joanne Rendell’s Crossing Washington Square, which has been sitting on my TBR shelf for a solid decade. That cool Friday afternoon held a whisper of fall with its golden, slanted sunlight. It was basically perfect. Even I, an indoor cat, could not waste it.

So I sat outside for two hours (!), getting swept up in the politics of an elite English program with warring professors in this modern twist on Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. We have college! New York City! Pompous MFA students! A budding romance! Fall leaves! It’s not earth-shattering, but it sure has been entertaining for this erstwhile English major.

So now that I’m fully embracing the fall read, I want more. I know some folks are again participating in RIP-XVI, the Readers Imbibing Peril challenge for spooky season — but I get freaked out enough by the nightly news. I did once stay up until 2 a.m. reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, devouring it all at once because I’d mistakenly believed I had another week to finish for a British lit course. But have I read anything creepy since? No. Suspense is OK, but, like … Harry Potter-level suspense. Kid-friendly suspense, basically.

So what’s on your Fall 2021 Reading List?

I’m ready to pounce on all autumnal suggestions.

Just let me grab that latte first.

7 thoughts on “Fall reads

  1. Can I just say the hero in this post (other than you, of course) is your husband… Like what a gem! I love that he reminded you to put yourself first!!! I’ve been on and off the reading wagon… Hate when I’m not reading tbh and always am thinking of what I could be reading but life gets distracting and my mental state can’t always handle it when all I want to do is veg (sadly) in front of YouTube (instant gratification) before I fall asleep….

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    • Aw, thank you! I definitely need help to relax — I struggle with the fact that there is always something I “should” be doing (especially cleaning …), and that reading is a “luxury” for when all the other tasks are complete. Spence knows that about me because I constantly tell him that I feel guilty for feeling guilty … sigh!

      I certainly have my YouTube (or Candy Crush, often) nights, too. Life definitely does get distracting. We all have our waves!

      Thanks for visiting ❤

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  2. I have a read a few books from the decade-on-shelf shelf this year, too! CHEERS to you – your love of autumn is infectious in a good way. I am not sure what I have up next to read will satisfy your request for suggestions but I am hoping to catch up on books I keep putting off (books I know I will love!) The Radium Girls, Ask Again Yes, Let the Great World Spin, and My Year of Rest and Relaxation. But who knows! I might take a 180 and read something I don’t even know about yet. Happy September

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    • Thanks, Care, and so nice to “see” you! I’ve been trying to get through the backlog a bit, but it can be daunting. I tried Radium Girls earlier this year on audio, and never quite got swept up in the story. It was missing an emotional connection for me — someone to really root for. But it was a fascinating (and shocking, sad) historical narrative, to be sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the review of Crossing Washington Square. I have added it to my books to be read list as well as the books recommended by “Care.” I would like to recommend The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morgan and The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan. Both books intertwine stories and generations and sometimes you feel like you need a spreadsheet to keep everyone’s names clear but I liked both books so much I re-read them almost immediately…something I have never done before.

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    • Thank you, Debbie — both of your recs are new to me, and I’ll be sure to add them to the TBR! I love multi-generational stories, and I also rarely re-read anything … so I will definitely take your recommendation seriously! 🙂 Thank you for stopping by!

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