October is here and many grey autumn weekends and dark evenings lie ahead of us. While it might be tempting to keep on moaning about the end of summer or checking the weather forecast for this fleeting thing called “Indian Summer”, I advise you to give in and get ready to make yourself comfortable on the sofa with a good book and a hot cup of tea or coffee. I am sure there are quite a bunch of unread books waiting on your bookshelf. If not, here are three books you should put on your autumn reading list.
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1. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
If someone asks me for a book recommendation, this book will be one of the first ones that I will mention. Not only because I enjoyed reading it, but because I know that most people I know will end up devouring it. I cannot pinpoint what it is about the story or Donna Tartt’s way of telling it, but this book will put you under its spell. While I did have a hard time, to sum up, the synopsis of the book, I think this description that I found on Goodreads sums up the book quite well:
“It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.”
Intrigued? Trust me; you should be!
2. Wildwood by Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis
Wildwood is the first installment a series of books called the Wildwood Chronicles. While I have only read the first one, I still do have the others up on my “to-read” list. The books combine Carson Ellis’ beautiful illustrations with the words of Colin Meloy, who is also her husband and the singer of The Decemberists.
At the center of the book is 12 years old Prue, who frequently babysits her infant brother Mac – one day though, he gets abducted by a murder of crows. To retrieve her lost brother, Prue has to enter the Impassable Wilderness, an area that is off-limits to the residents of Portland, where the novel is set. There she does not only meet her schoolmate Curtis, who follows her into the woods but all kinds of other peculiar, talking animals. It turns out the Impassable Wilderness is a world of its own and not a particularly simple one at that.
The age of the protagonist, as well as the talking animals, might point to a children’s book and yes, the recommended reading age for Wildwood is 9 – 12. But the issues discussed in the book are valid for adults alike and a little bit of escapism into a different world might be just what you need on a gloomy autumn evening.
3. The Buddenbrooks – The Decline of A Family by Thomas Mann
Another author I had never been particularly fond of, but who is a classic, is Thomas Mann. I failed at several attempts at reading his mayor novel “The Magic Mountain”, so I decided to try his debut novel called “The Buddenbrooks” instead. The story follows four generations of a bourgeois family and their attempts to cope with the onset of modernity (ring a bell, Downton Abbey Fans?). From the book’s subtitle, you might already be able to tell that they are not very successful.
The story, in general, might be tragic but Mann’s characters are hilarious at times. He writes them with so much subtlety and in so much detail, you feel like you get to know them and even though they are all not very likable, you will find ways to get attached to almost all of them.