The secret is out.
I’m so basic.
I know it in my bones, and now that we’ve cleared that up we can move on to more important things.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve always loved the fall. Growing up in rural Oklahoma, I think I felt fall-the real fall-more than those who grew up in a more urban (read civilized) environment. My house was surrounded by trees, and I spent most of my time outside, so when the tiniest hint of crispness in the air wafted through my nostrils I’d feel myself becoming giddy. The trees would blast their colors and I could finally go outside without fearing 3rd degree burns from the Oklahoma summer heat. My grandparents would organize hay rides and the entire community would pile into a trailer and ride around presumably in one big circle because the weather was just too good and the moon was just too full not to. There were bonfires, there was cider, there were babies wrapped in homemade quilts. It was divine.
That deep love for the fall has now manifested in me buying too many chintzy pumpkins, eating candy corn like it’s my life source, and burning every pumpkin scented candle the good folks of Bath and Body Works can crank out. Fall allows my home to become a campy and overly scented shrine to fall, but you know what, it makes me happy, so I keep on keepin’ on.
With fall comes hot drinks and with hot drinks comes cozying up on a couch and with cozying up on a couch comes reading (or if you’re me, with breathing comes coffee with coffee comes life with life comes reading). Naturally, I’m going to give you 3 book recommendations for the fall and even though these are absolutely not fall themed at all, they are awesome, and I think a lot of my blog readers enjoy awesome.
1.) Eileen, Otessa Moshfegh
Y’all this book is twisted in the best way possible. It’s dark and hilarious. At one point while reading it I said “Holy hell!” out loud at a Starbucks at the absurdity of it all. If you consider yourself even a little twisted, and let’s be real, we’re all a little twisted, then you should try out Eileen on for size. The story is told through the perspective of Eileen Dunlop at the age of 70 as she looks back on the days around Christmas when her twenty something self flew the coop on her drab, desolate life as a secretary at a boys detention center and a caretaker (kind of) to her alcoholic, abusive father. Her drab, depressing life changes when a new woman comes to work at the detention facility, and what happens next is sickening, seductive, and downright shocking.
Sounds like a nice, frothy read, eh? What’s impressive is how Moshfegh manages to create such despicable and, at times, disgusting, characterizations for Eileen, but somehow, in the end, we root for her. Moshfegh delivers doozies like this:
Some families are so sick, so twisted, the only way out is for someone to die.
So just in time for the spooky season is this dark read that will leave you both disturbed and thoroughly entertained.
2.) Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own, Kate Bolick
I love a book that details the ins and outs (okay let’s be real the outs) of a woman navigating through her life. As a woman, it’s almost like I’m able to chart my own course in tandem with the women I read.
In Spinster, Bolick doesn’t shy away from the questions many of us have asked, and are probably still asking. What is my place in the world? What is my place in the world as a woman? What is my place in the world as a woman who may or may not see marriage as something I care to pursue? Her book is deliciously structured around 5 incredibly successful “spinsters” (literary and history buffs alike will rejoice) who served as inspirations as she navigated through life, love, and loss. The 5 women (writers Maeve Brennan, Neith Boyce, Edith Wharton, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Edna St Vincent Millay) were considered her “awakeners” and provide a unique cultural and historical edge to the memoir.
Bolick challenges culture norms that insists women must be married and mothers first, and then fill in the gaps if possible, later. She writes:
You are born, you grow up, you become a wife. But what if it wasn’t this way? What if a girl grew up like a boy, with marriage an abstract, someday thought, a thing to think about when she became an adult, a thing she could do, or not do, depending? What would that look and feel like?
Spinster is a challenging read, but one that is worth the time. Especially for women. Especially for women who are consistently pushing back against what society deems appropriate for them. You know the type 😉 (read, me)
3.) Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
This book forever holds a special place in my heart/mind/soul. It’s one of those books that, because I began reading it during the fall, I instantly associate it with the season. Do you have any books like that?
For those who’ve been living under a large rock, Sense and Sensibility was written by the incomparable Jane Austen, and, in my humble opinion, is one of her best books. I’m too much of a wuss to say it’s her best book because I’m constantly vacillating between S&S and Mansfield Park. It’s also a book with a beautiful film companion (Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, you know just the bottom of the barrel kind of cast) that stays true to the book.
It’s a lovely tale of two sisters as they try and navigate through their family, monetary, and love drama after they are left with little money and barely any prospects for marriage (which, as you know, during that time was seen as basically a woman’s purpose for being).
The relationship between Marianne and Willoughby is one for the books. If you love drama, like Real Housewives chair flipping level drama, then they are the couple for you. The other sister, Elinor, is maybe one of the most honest, kindest characters I’ve ever read (right up there with Atticus Finch in TKAM) and the way she navigates through her environment, her distressed love, and her station in life is really very beautiful. If you’re looking for a wonderfully written work that will whisk you away from your everyday life, Sense and Sensibility is for you. It’s also a nice dip into the Jane Austen pond, for those who’ve only read Pride and Prejudice (not judging you…but kind of judging you).
So there you have it. Three books to take you through the lovely fall months. Which books do you enjoy reading in the fall? Have you read any of these three?