One thing I really did enjoy about spending so much time at home is the amount of books I got to devour. I always have a paperback on the go but I’ve put together a list of everything I’ve read recently as I could recommend them all. Some are new and some I’ve heard so much about, I had to see for myself. There’s a real mix here as I like lots of different genres but with a cosy winter drawing in, nothing beats a good ‘to be read’ list. Fire lit, popcorn popped and these are my autumn fireside reads.
I read this on our recent trip to Puglia and it just made me happy. It’s such a clever idea and so well executed. I’ve just joined a book club and this was one of the first reads- it’s the kind of book that really helps an off day.
I could not have loved this book more…there’s a reason it’s been a number one bestseller. Delia Owens was known for writing wildlife books with her husband Mark before making this foray into literature; the knowledge she brings over described in the most beautiful poetic way had me hooked from page one. Set on the North Carolina coast, it’s a story about a bizarre childhood which leads into complicated events. Weave in a whodunnit plot, a love story and a Robinson Crusoe style hut and you’ve got an unputdownable book.
Matt Haig’s latest book The Midnight Library has just become a New York Times bestseller (despite being only released in September) but before I dig into that I wanted to read his earlier novel How To Stop Time. As the title suggests, this book looks at time travel and how love and relationships cross centuries. I loved it; at its heart it’s a romance but peppered with really thought-provoking questions about time, history and the growth of people.
I’ve read all of Maggie O’Farrell’s novels (they’re some of my most re-read titles) but I Am, I Am, I Am is a series of short stories that describes seventeen ways and seventeen occasions when the author has come close to death. Despite the subject matter, this is a very uplifting read about the importance of family and leaves you feeling positive about life’s smaller moments. I would read this again 100%.
In a totally different vein is Perfume by Patrick Suskind which was originally written in German and is set in France. Jean-Baptiste Grenouille uses his extraordinary sense of smell to find, and bottle the world’s greatest perfume. It’s creepy in parts and fascinating in others with the character’s methodology carefully translated (literally) onto the page. If you enjoyed it, or even if you didn’t there’s a brilliant film version with Ben Whishaw and Alan Rickman…but it’s not for the squeamish.
Being back in England has really encouraged me to re-read lots of the things I’ve previously enjoyed. The Adrian Mole series is the ultimate in English humour- there are eight books in the series (all in diary form) and I’ve whizzed through them so fast. I rarely laugh out loud at books but Sue Townsend nails the inner workings of Adrian’s teenage to middle aged brain so perfectly. It’s one of the best selling series and I’ll go back to them again and again. Such a good mood lifter.
By no means a new read (this was first published in 1983) I don’t think Nora Ephron ever goes out of style. Heartburn is a small but powerful book in Ephron’s inimitable style that has won her a legion of fans. This is one I always pack for a trip as it’s such a treasured favourite.
Even the tattered cover of my copy of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin makes me happy and I hadn’t read this in years so I dug it out this summer and it just holds so many memories. I first read it on holiday as a teenager and it’s one of the most powerful love stories I’ve ever read. A classic- as much as it’s my go to summer read, it’s a joy all year round.
My pile of books grows and grows and I’m actually really looking forward to cosy nights in reading in front of the fire. What should I add to my list of things to autumn fireside reads?