Faithful readers of my column, as well as friends and family, all know that this is my favourite time of the year.Â I love the autumn – its colors, its general feel, and its journey into the winter months where we get to have toasty fires, hot beverages, and snowy afternoons filled with long movies and great books.Â I love literature and promoting stellar reading material.Â For as long as I am on this planet, reading will not become a forgotten pastime. This article might seem seasonally early but you have to admit, that on these cold mornings, itâ€™s beginning to feel pretty Fallish out there!
Using the shelves at the fabulous Box of Delights in Wolfville, the Book Review section of the Globe and Mail, The Atlantic Books magazine and my own know-how, here is a list of fantastic reads for the upcoming season. And remember to pass books and recommendations along to those nearest to you, as thereâ€™s nothing like sharing a book and then chatting about it over coffee and carrot cake at the Il Dolce Far Niente Espresso Bar in Wolfville (nice plug eh?)
Letâ€™s start with local fare. Check out â€˜Grey Eyesâ€™ by Frank Busch, â€˜Sweetlandâ€™ by Michael Crummey, and a wonderful collection of poetry by Acadia Professor Sylvia Hamilton called â€˜And I Alone Escaped to Tell Youâ€™. A few more local selections that have peaked my interest for the autumn are Jan L. Coatesâ€™ â€˜Rocket Manâ€™, B.R. Myersâ€™ â€˜Butterflies Donâ€™t Lieâ€™, â€˜Crimes Against My Brotherâ€™ by David Adams Richards and â€˜How Loveta got her Babyâ€™ by Nicholas Ruddock. For the history buff, check out â€˜The Lynching of Peter Wheelerâ€™ by Debra Komar – the true story of the murder of Annie Kempton in Bear River, Nova Scotia.Â Itâ€™s a very gripping novel.
Recognizable names have new novels out for your pleasure including Margaret Atwoodâ€™s new collection of short stories called â€˜Stone Mattressâ€™.Â Ian McEwan, one of my favorite authors of all time (he wrote â€˜Atonementâ€™, â€˜Saturdayâ€™, â€˜Amsterdamâ€™ and â€˜Sweet Toothâ€™), has a new novel out called â€˜The Children Actâ€™, which is easily at the top of my reading list.Â Stephen King has released a great novel recently called â€˜Mister Mercedesâ€™, and Ken Follett has put out the third novel in his Century Trilogy called â€˜Edge of Eternityâ€™. Â And you should all definitely add Mette Jakobsonâ€™s â€˜The Vanishing Actâ€™, Alissa Yorkâ€™s â€˜Faunaâ€™, Ania Szadoâ€™s â€˜Studio Saint-Exâ€™ and Neil Gaimanâ€™s â€˜The Ocean at the End of the Laneâ€™ to your reading lists for this fall!
If you are looking to introduce young adults to great novels, I recommend S. E. Hintonâ€™s classic â€˜The Outsidersâ€™, Jonathan Swiftâ€™s â€˜Gulliverâ€™s Travelsâ€™, Daniel Dafoeâ€™s â€˜Robinson Crusoeâ€™, Jules Verneâ€™s â€˜Around the World in Eighty Daysâ€™, Betty Smithâ€™s â€˜A Tree Grows in Brooklynâ€™, Harper Leeâ€™s â€˜To Kill a Mockingbirdâ€™, John Steinbeckâ€™s â€˜Of Mice and Menâ€™, or try Neil Gaimanâ€™s â€˜The Graveyard Bookâ€™!
Other selections for the chilly months ahead are â€˜Bleeding Egdeâ€™ by Thomas Pynchon, â€˜The Lewis Manâ€™ by Peter May, â€˜Gone Girlâ€™ by Gillian Flynn, â€˜The Long Way Homeâ€™ by Louise Penny, â€˜The Bone Clocksâ€™ by David Mitchell, â€˜Strangers on a Trainâ€™ by Patricia Highsmith, or â€˜The Paying Guestsâ€™ by Sarah Waters.
Recommendations that have come my way from friends include â€˜The End of Your Life Book Clubâ€™ by Will Schwalbe, â€˜The Far Side of the Skyâ€™ by Daniel Kalla, â€˜Spanish Flyâ€™ by Will Ferguson, â€˜The Marlowe Papersâ€™ by Ros Barber, â€˜Transatlanticâ€™ by Colum McCain, and the newly discovered and released â€˜The Fall of Arthurâ€™ by J.R.R Tolkien (Thanks Ian!).
Besides novels, I am guilty of reading Plays! Itâ€™s a lot of fun to grab some friends and read a classic stage play out loud and play out (no pun intended) all the classic characters of the stage. Pick up a Tennessee Williams classic like â€˜Streetcar Named Desireâ€™ or â€˜Cat on a Hot Tin Roofâ€™, a Neil Simon comedy like â€˜The Sunshine Boysâ€™ or â€˜The Goodbye Girlâ€™, Edward Albeeâ€™s â€˜Whoâ€™s Afraid of Virginia Woolfâ€™, Oscar Wildeâ€™s â€˜Importance of Being Earnestâ€™ or a Shakespeare play like â€˜The Tempestâ€™, â€˜The Taming of the Shrewâ€™ or â€˜Romeo and Julietâ€™.
One more grouping of considerations include â€˜The Garden of Lettersâ€™ by Alyson Richman, â€˜Big Little Liesâ€™ by Liane Moriarty, â€˜Upside Downâ€™ by Fern Michaels, â€˜The Goldfinchâ€™ by Donna Tartt, â€˜Sycamore Rowâ€™ by John Grisham, â€˜We Are Not Ourselvesâ€™ by Matthew Thomas, and â€˜Orphan Trainâ€™ by Christina Baker Kline.
We are lucky to have THREE stores in Wolfville that sell new and used books and I spread the wealth to all of them. Enjoy these selections and others you come across. Have an incredible experience of opening your mind, expanding your imagination and welcoming new characters into your life. Enjoy!
AND A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY NEPHEW TANNER (SEE PHOTO!)