Books for our favorite 5 fall days and moods

by , October 13, 2017, first appearing on OverDrive Blogs

By: Sydney Kalnay, Training Specialist.

It’s not a secret to anyone who knows me that fall is my favorite season. It’s ironic that I live where fall exists only in a finite, miniscule window between SPF 9,000 and shoveling for dear lifeso I have to pack as much leaf crunching, apple spicing, and light jacket-wearing as possible into about 3 weeks.

I think what I love best about fall is its wildly vacillating moods. Fall is, in almost every way, my twin-soul season — blue skies and grey, days sun-warmed and rain-chilled. I’m a pragmatist by nature but an optimist by policy, and no other season but fall can contain that juxtaposition with as much grace and adaptability.

Because my attitudes shift from moment to moment, I am always grateful to the books that accurately mirror my moods and that follow me up sun-dappled peaks and down into the shadow valleys.

Here are some of my favorite types of fall days, and the books I lovingly turn to throughout the months of October and November:

Rainy and Gloomy

Rainy and gloomy

All summer long, I want the brightest stories – laugh-filled romps and romances whose plots tie up neatly with a shiny ribbon. But come fall, I look for every heart-wrenching, epic, excruciating adventure I can find. I want to spend my dark-at-5 o’clock evenings following characters into battle against demons, both real and metaphorical.

For this, I turn to Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone so I can squeeze my eyes shut and wish I, too, were Karou with her lapis lazuli hair, family of monsters, and otherworldly lover. While the rain batters the windows of my attic reading room, I dream of sketchbooks overflowing with fat, colorful portraits, having a string of cheap wishes around my neck, and inheriting a wishbone containing the mysteries of my past, present, and future.

(PS – I get the same supernatural adventure vibes from Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boysand the Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo. Oh, lovely ladies of adventure, how I adore thee!)

Crunchy and Fiery

Crunchy and Fiery

The unicorn of falls days is the one that’s cool enough for tights and scarves but warm enough to frolic through pumpkin patches without hypothermia. On days like these, it’s easy to believe in true love so I like to revisit Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments where I can revel in one of the sweetest slow burn romances in fiction history while at the same time celebrating a lovely Bechdel-test-passing best friendship.

Bonus: Rowell’s clear preference for autumn is revealed in this fantastic passage:

“October, baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup. October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins. O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!”

(If I feel like a side of melancholy with my romance instead I will re-read The Time-Traveler’s Wife, warding off the inevitable ugly cry by jamming Milk Duds into my gaping maw.)

Spooky and Creaky

Spooky and creaky

Nothing remotely supernatural has happened to me in real life, but I love any kind of media that explores the dark underbelly of the known world. And because my own imagination produces goblins, ghosts, and ghouls more frightening than most of what I can see on TV, books are my preferred delivery method for thrills on the autumn days when I most need a scare.

I can certainly revisit books and feel some of the same joyful dread I felt during an initial read, but there’s nothing that replaces the first moment you sense something terrible and wonderful creep across the page and into your head.

Recently, I took My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix on a trip and spent three evenings figuratively huddled under the blankets with a flashlight, cringing with horror-tinged glee as the story unfolded. The author nails the perfect sense of 1980s creepy nostalgia as accurately as the Duffer Brothers did with Stranger Things – the book even has bonus, interactive features to engage all your senses! If you like stories about big hair, best friends, AND demonic possession, this is for you.

(On that same trip, I tried to stave off my claustrophobia on the World’s Tiniest Jet ™ by devouring Anya’s Ghost, a gorgeous graphic novel about misfits and murder. Unfortunately for me, the titular ghost is discovered down a well so I was perfectly aware of my surroundings at all times.)

Sleepy and Cozy

Sleepy and cozy

Mid-October, I turn hitting the snooze button (and the subsequent dash to ready myself for the workday) into an Olympic sport. If I leave my bedroom window open a crack, I can huddle under the blankets for hours upon hours, willing the coziness to dissipate just long enough to get warmer socks, more tea, and my fully charged iPad before clambering back under the covers again.

While this does nothing for my morning commute, it does everything for my autumnal state of mind. To bolster my thoughts of reading, snuggling, and general homebody-ness, I turn to books about a very fall subject: Hygge (pronounced HOO-gah), the Danish art of being cozy.

One of the best-received titles on the subject, Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness by Marie Tourell Søderberg, welcomes you to discover a state of mind which is “like a compass, steering us towards small moments that money cannot buy you, finding magic in the ordinary.”

(If the thought of adding more blankets, cats, books, and tea to your home makes you break out in clutter-hives, however, I suggest an antidote: Make Space by Regina Wong, a lovely primer for getting rid of the excess in home and heart!)

Wintry and Windy

Wintry and windy

Speaking of decluttering, my actual dream apartment is a treehouse, I kid you not. I crave open space like some folks crave pumpkin spice lattes. I spend many weekends delightedly dividing my surplus stuff into “giveaway” and “throwaway” piles. Once the leaves have fallen, though, I start to panic that maybe I have gotten rid of too much and I start to crave the kind of protection against the onslaught of winter that only a glorious, ambitious series can give me.

Years ago, I fell hard for one of the greatest book series of all time, His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. Now, twenty-plus years later, as the comfortable chill of October turns to the bitterness of November, I will be insulating myself with the next title in the series, The Book of Dust, set to release on October 19th and available for pre-order from OverDrive Marketplace.

I may not be ready for snow, but I am definitely ready for talking snow bears – and the brave, fierce, urchin girls who call them friends.

(Not to break tradition here but I have no other, better titles to recommend besides the original trilogy which, in my opinion, soars higher than the spires atop Hogwarts itself. – fight me, Potterians!)

Whatever fall days you love best, my crisp, spooky, gloomy, cozy, epic wish is for you to find titles that match your every mood and take you happily into the brisk days of winter. Happy reading!

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It’s time to get things in order

If spring is for cleaning out all of the dust and clutter that accumulates over winter, then fall should be about trying to get things as neat and tidy as you can in order to keep the inevitable dust and clutter to a minimum.

And if it’s true for your home it should be true for your self as well. Here’s something to help get you sorted, for fall, winter and beyond. Fall

Four Books with Simple Messages that Will Help You to be a Better You

by Chris Schluep, August 23, 2017, first appearing on Omnivoracious

A friend of mine is sending her son off to college this year. We recently talked about books she could give him to help him prepare for college and life.

“I want to give him something other than Oh, the Places You’ll Go,” she told me.

Since he was taking it with him to school, we agreed the book should be short and sweet. And, most importantly, the message had to be simple– something useful that he could absorb quickly. I offered up the first book on this list.

But there are other books to recommend as well. Here’s a short list of books with simple messages that will help your student–or you–to be a better you.

Make Your Bed

Make Your Bed – If you just follow the first rule of this book, which is to do a good job of making your bed well in the morning, you will have succeeded in doing something well each day.

 

7 Habits

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – If you live by your own habits and principles, and judge yourself accordingly, you’ll be ahead of the game. If you live by how others judge you, you’ll always be bound to the whims of other people’s moods and opinions.

 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – We all have a lot of crap. If you do a one-time tidying session, in which you only keep that which “sparks joy,” your life will be simpler, more organized, and happier.

 

Daring Greatly

Daring Greatly – Putting yourself out there–being vulnerable–is a show of courage. And if you’re not putting yourself out there, you can’t be the best you.