It’s definitely fall around here, and I’m noticing the shift in various ways. The mornings are crisper, the evenings shorter, the light a different shade of golden.
I’m sipping fall teas, munching apples and burning autumnal candles. But I’m also, characteristically, thinking about fall books.
Not all of my reading is tied to a season, but certain books and genres do resonate more deeply at certain times of year. I reach for Winter Solstice every December, The Long Winter in the frozen depths of February, Jane of Lantern Hill in the tentative first days of spring.
Similarly, the stack above holds a few particular books – and a couple of genres – to which I turn every fall.
Anne of Windy Poplars chronicles Anne Shirley’s three years as a high school principal in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, and though they span all four seasons, the entire book feels like autumn to me. (Anne of the Island, with its collegiate setting and jolly houseful of girls, also fits this season.) I adore Anne in all times and all places, but I love picturing her curled up in her tower room at Windy Poplars during the season of mellow afternoons and crisp twilights.
Robert Frost’s poetry is perfect for autumn. I love his classics like “The Road Not Taken,” but some of my other favorites evoke the mystery and melancholy of a New England fall. Try “After Apple-Picking,” “The Freedom of the Moon,” and “Acquainted with the Night.”
I adore E.B. White’s keenly observed evocations of life on a New England farm, many of which are collected in One Man’s Meat. They, too, encompass all seasons, but I always want to curl up by a warm fire and crunch on apples while I’m reading his accounts of livestock, small-town incidents and lovable, hardheaded dachshunds.
I love a mystery all year round, but Sidney Chambers, that quietly melancholic, inquisitive priest, seems especially suited for autumn. (Maybe it’s because I discovered him last fall.) The first volume of his adventures, Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death, contains an evocative passage about how autumn reveals the underlying shape of things.
Dorothy Sayers’ mystery series featuring Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane contains many gems. But Gaudy Night – set in Oxford among dreaming spires and diligent students, combining academia and mystery with a love story – is my very favorite, and perfect for this time of year.
Finally, Emily of Deep Valley is on my list to reread this fall. It’s about a girl who must make her own way in the world after graduating high school, while her friends head off to college. It’s full of quiet warmth and determination (like Emily herself), and both the cover and the spirit of the book are perfectly autumnal.
What do you like to read in the fall? Any books (or genres) that speak to you especially in the autumn?