5 New Books To Cosy Up With
Reading Recommendations For Autumnal Book Worm
I love autumn. It’s my favourite time of year. Yet I always seem to enter it kicking and screaming. Wait - where did Summer go? I only just got out my flip flops.. No.. wait…! Shit.
Maybe this year it’s particularly shocking. It seems that summer slipped past me. Like those great dreams you can’t remember when you wake up. I just know something happened...
We were just starting to really get somewhere. I even had one picnic. Then boom - my big jumper is out. I’m left reeling. Confused. Checking my phone weather app constantly. But no - I just have to accept it now. I’ve been ghosted.
I thought recently, it’s probably because I always associate summer with heavy socialising. It’s my most non-introverted season. It’s usually filled with too much wine, too much sun and the perfect amount of laughter, But obviously this year has been different. The summer had a muted feel, with much higher than average levels of solitude.
Yet as soon as I surrender the last of the English Summer - like I have to do every damn year. As soon as I put my Summer playlist on offline, and hurl the flipflops back in the Narnia they were salvaged from... something changes.
Instead of the deep despair that seems the only logical next step to the anxious sky watching that comes at the end of August, I feel something else. Instead of screaming in rage as I feel the first nip in the air and jumping into the Thames in protest, I find myself stopping. I stop and I feel the air start to brace. It’s grip tightens slightly and I smile. Remembering, suddenly how special Autumn actually is. How it's actually really fucking lovely.
Autumn is nostalgic. It’s a new school rucksack smelling of shiny acrid polyester. It’s crispy footfalls. Colours that kaleidoscope and leave as quickly as they come. It’s frothy milk. Cold hands around a steaming mug. It’s newness, decluttering, rediscovering. It’s trusty, chunky wool jumpers I had in university that are still hanging on. It’s padding across cold floors in thick socks. It’s waking like a warm worm in the earth and refusing to leave bed for another minute. It’s earthy wood thrown into a glowing amber pile. Crackling. Spitting. It’s wood smoke. Woodsmoke and the scent of the pages of a book.
For me - autumn has always been about books. As the days get dark and we mourn the pink sunsets and Aperol spritz’s, we also light the candles and feel the fresh pages of a new companion. So here are my top books to read as we curl up, hunker down and move forward in a weird old year.
1. The Gathering by Anne Enright
"There is something wonderful about a death, how everything shuts down, and all the ways you thought you were vital are not even vaguely important. Your husband can feed the kids, he can work the new oven, he can find the sausages in the fridge, after all. And his important meeting was not important, not in the slightest. And the girls will be picked up from school, and dropped off again in the morning. Your eldest daughter can remember her inhaler, and your youngest will take her gym kit with her, and it is just as you suspected - most of the stuff that you do is just stupid, really stupid, most of the stuff you do is just nagging and whining and picking up for people who are too lazy to love you."
I don’t think anything has hit me as hard from page one as Anne Enright’s Man Booker Prize Winner from 2007. An emotional tour de force, with such fluid writing I literally read most of it with my mouth open. The novel traces the narrator's inner journey, setting out to derive meaning from past and present events, in light of the funeral of her younger brother. It’s a sweeping journey through family, betrayal and enduring love. Perfect by a fire, preferably with a box of tissues at the ready. Which is perfectly acceptable as Enright herself described the book as "...the intellectual equivalent of a Hollywood weepie." I think that sentence sums up my entire taste in...everything.
2. Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid
"There were moments like this that Alix tried to breeze over, but they got stuck somewhere between her heart and ears. She knew Emira had gone to college. She knew Emira had majored in English. But sometimes, after seeing her paused songs with titles like "Dope Bitch" and "Y'all Already Know," then hearing her use words like connoisseur, Alix was filled with feelings that went from confused and highly impressed to low and guilty in response to the first reaction. There was no reason for Emira to be unfamiliar with this word. And there was no reason for Alix to be impressed."
Remember that feeling. It’s really specific. When you put are flicking through Netflix and you see Bridget Jones. And you think YES. NOW. THAT IS WHAT I NEED RIGHT NOW. This book has that feeling. It’s a deliciously unfussy read and is such a sucker-inner. Also, it’s an incredible read for just frankly pointing out some pretty important social commentary - but in the most accessible and unjudgmental way. A great bath read, up to your eyeballs in bubbles.
3. Untamed: Stop pleasing, start living by Glennon Doyle
We know what the world wants from us. We know we must decide whether to stay small, quiet, and uncomplicated or allow ourselves to grow as big, loud, and complex as we were made to be. Every girl must decide whether to be true to herself or true to the world. Every girl must decide whether to settle for adoration or fight for love
Well, this will blow the cobwebs out, that’s for sure. A heart-pounding, life-affirming memoir about how women are caged and how they can break free. Glennon writes with such honest, heartfelt and heartbreaking warmth that you can almost feel her voice narrating in your head. It’s a wake-up call to look around you as a woman and take in the world. What am I doing for the sake of being “a good woman”. And how can we be freer to love, live and experience life wildly. My weekend-morning-with a-coffee favourite.
4. The Loney by Andrew Micheal Hurley
I don’t remember either of us trying to run or fight or do anything, for that matter. I only remember the smell of the wet ferns, the sound of water churning out of a gutter, the feeling of numbness, knowing that no one was coming to help us and that we were surrounded by those people Father Wilfred had always warned us about but who we never thought we’d face, not really. Those people who existed in the realm of newspaper reports; dispatches from a completely different world where people had no capacity for guilt and trampled on the weak without a second thought.
If you love to spook yourself, then this is EVERYTHING. I read this over about three nights and was hooked. It’s a gothic-folky-horror like no other. With a brooding and rugged cast of characters and a landscape as terrifying as what happens in it. The perfect level of suspense without leaving you hanging too long, and one of the most impressive reads I have had this year. Just don’t blame me if you loose sleep.
5. Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender - By David R Hawkins
“In any situation which involves suffering, we have to ask ourselves: “How long am I willing to pay the cost? What were the karmic propensities to begin with? How much blame is enough? Is there a time to call an end to it? How long will I hang on to it? How much sacrifice am I willing to pay to the other person for their wrongs, real or imaginary? How much guilt is enough? How much self-punishment is enough? When will I give up the secret pleasure of the self-punishment? When does the sentence come to an end?” When we really examine it, we will always find that we have been punishing ourselves for ignorance, naïveté, innocence, and lack of inner education.”
Because if there’s one thing I needed to do this summer - it was learning to let go of things. Of certainty, of a daily routine, of summer itself. In a world that feels so out of control, it’s a pretty soothing read that says hey, we never had it in the first place. A really fresh take on spiritual practice and a calming, restorative read. I like in on the bus when I’m feeling a little tense.
I hope these provide you endless hours of self-indulgent, delicious cosiness.
Until next time!
Author: Olivia Foan
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