In my return to blogging I noted how I had a summer season of fantasy in my reading life. It’s hard not to fall back on my favourite genre over and over again, but I have to remind myself of all the great other great stories out there—without the fantastical elements to sweep up my imagination in magic and flashy adventure, the stories of quiet beauty and ordinary, everyday charm. I do still remember all the books I read back in my days as a ‘literature snob’ that had not even the barest trace of magic or fantasy. I know I enjoy non-magical books, but it’s easy to get lazy in my ready choices. So this autumn I’m going to make the extra push to pick up more of a variety of genres. It’s hard to do when all of the lovely fantasy novels are beckoning to me from my TBR, but I have too many wonderful contemporary and literary fiction waiting on my shelves to go on in my fantasy reading binge. It doesn’t help that autumn is the season of the gothic, another one of my favourite genres.
I know I’m not going to be able to forego all magic, but perhaps I can lean more into the paranormal/gothic side of the spectrum. I also know better than to force myself into reading anything I’m just not in the mood for, so I’ll be trying to go with the flow, attempting to find a balance while also diversifying. To that end, I’ve made a massive autumn TBR and I’m only going to allow myself to read from this list for the next few weeks…well I'm going to try. As with all of my plans, it will be tentative.
Can I get through all these in one season? Nope...unless I suddenly forfeit all semblance of a life in favour of books (which is pretty tempting). But I will make a valiant effort. I have a new reading nook and I mean to put it to good use. It's also worth remembering that I have 24 more books to reach my 100 book reading goal for the year. I doubt my progress with this list will be enough to get me to that goal, but it's a good start. And, as always, I can look forward to a few weeks of holiday reading at Christmas to make the final push on my reading goals.
For now it's time for some ghosts, maybe a zombie, a few serious classics, a touch of dark magic, and of course some Man Book nominees. Hopefully there are enough different kinds of books on here to keep me from falling back into old habits. No rereading Harry Potter until Christmas and no binging on any new fantasy series. I also have time limits for some of these books, which will help—a few library books, a book I bought to give as a gift to H (but I’m going to read it first bc sharing is caring and I'm not going to be seeing him for a few weeks so why not take advantage?), a few books borrowed from a friend months and months ago. I will get through some of these books. Really.
And so, enough rambling, onto the list!
All stocked up on all your favourite autumnal teas? Have a snuggly jumper? It's time for some autumn reads.
- Ghostly: a collection of ghost stories collected & introduced by Audrey Niffeneger
Halloween reading! I probably won't be reading this one before bed.
- Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
A historical gothic YA with zombies set in Philadelphia? This one has been on my TBR for ages & it's definitely an October read.
- Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke
I'm getting Virgin Suicides and We Were Liars vibes from this one. Beautiful writing.
- And I Darken by Kiersten White
Look at how fierce Lado looks on the UK cover? And how often do you get to read about the Ottoman Empire? If you're me, not that often, so I'm keen to try something totally new.
- The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
I fell in love with Jessie Burton's writing with The Muse, so I'm anxious to try her debut. And a an early modernist, I'm always excited to see books set in the seventeenth century.
- The Quick by Lauren Owen
A gothic set in Victorian England is a must for every autumn reading list, complete with crumbling country estate and secret gentleman's club and featuring London's seedy underbelly.
- Ada, or Ardor by Vladimir Nabokov
I love Nabokov's writing and this is one I've been picking up and putting down for years now. Time for another try I think.
- Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien
This is the Man Booker shortlist novel that I'm most interested in. Bonus points for getting me to rediscover my love for Beethoven. Little known fact about me: I studiend classical piano for 12 years...I wasn't amazingly talented, but I do love it.
- Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Fantasy, I know. But I have a vested interest in keeping appraised of novels featuring sisters with special powers (may or may not be relevant to my current WIP).
- The Past Tessa Hadley
I love Tessa Hadley's writing and I love family sagas, so this is one I know I'm going to love. I just have to sit down and read.find the time to savour it.
- Burial Rites Hannah Kent
Another dark historical fiction choice and it's set in Iceland so the stark setting is definitely a good feel for autumn reading.
- His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet
This isn't my kind of book on the surface, but it's a Man Booker shortlist novel and I picked it up for H (who loves bloody murder stuff) so I thought I'd give it a try. Curious more than anything else.
- Middlemarch by George Eliot
This is part of a close reading project of mine that I haven't brought to this blog yet. Watch this space of the next few months to learn more!
- The Graces by Laure Eve
Another fantasy pick, but I can't not read a book about witches during Halloween season! Also the cover is just so beautiful I just have to keep it on the bedside table for eyecandy.
- The Guineveres by Sarah Domet
Another library pick that sounds intriguing. I don't know much about it, but I have a soft spot for stories about children raised in convents...it's a weird interest I know.
- Villette by Charlotte Brontë
A reread, but I need to be reminded why this has always been classified as one of my favourite Brontë novels.
- Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
I can't not read this now that I've finally finished The Diviners and fell in love with the story. I just have to keep reading.
- Cleopatra’s Shadows by Emily Holleman
A library find and something quite different for me. When I browse the library I always try to pick one unlikely choice and often they turn out to be favourites, so fingers crossed for this one.
- This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzie Lee
Yes, I know this was on last year's autumn TBR. Better late than never. I also have Frankenstein on standby for a companion reread.
- The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson
A Shakespeare retelling by Jeanette Winterson...obviously I have to read this. I've already dipped into this one and I'm really enjoying it.
- Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Sci-Fi isn't my usual genre, and this format took a bit of getting used to in the first book, but I'm sufficiently hooked. Space is cool!