For as long as I can remember, fall has been met with back-to-school to-dos. While most students resented the long, detailed reading lists that arrived in the mail mid-August, I was always conflicted; I loved reading, but was reluctant to put away my fun, summer reads for a list of teacher recommendations. Alas, I am not returning to school in 2012 and finally have the opportunity to write my own Fall Fiction Reading List, which I have shared with you below. Included are works of beautiful literary fiction, novels that walk a fine line between magic and mystery, and whimsical, international comedies – all of which I cannot wait to read!
The Age of Hope
Admittedly, it was The Age of Hope’s cover that first drew me to this title. It is beautiful, delicate and simple: a perfect representation of the story’s protagonist, Hope Koop. The Age of Hope promises an intimate portrayal of a woman in crisis, and how her self-acceptance is juxtaposed with the changing social and political trends of the late 20th century.
Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are bandmates, coworkers and best friends. They run Brokeland Records, a used vinyl shop near Telegraph Avenue. But their antediluvian store is threatened when a megastore aims to build on Telegraph Avenue. The author, Michael Chabon, has been celebrated as a stylist and a gifted writer; the LA Times once said his writing “makes you want to get up and dance” – something I am eagerly anticipating from Telegraph Avenue.
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
Jonas Jonasson (translated by Rod Bradbury)
I could never turn down a book that has been compared to Forrest Gump, but this is not Jonas Jonasson’s most impressive feature: The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared has sold 2.5 million copies and has charmed readers around the world. It tells the story of Allan Karlsson, a man who believes it is never too late to start over – even at 100. Described as a “publishing phenomenon,” a “dynamic comedy” and an “incredibly funny story,” The 100-Year-Old Man has the potential to be my favourite book of the year.
New York Times Bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver introduces us to Dellarobia Turnbow who, after over ten years of raising her young children on a small farm, is forced to reevaluate her life. This is not the first book on my list to deal with the idea of starting over; however, in order to do so, Dellarobia must face her family, her faith, her town and herself – a daunting, but inspiring task.
Anna From Away
There is something both beautiful and compelling about Cape Breton; especially as a recluse for Anna, D.R. MacDonald’s protagonist, who flees to the rural Nova Scotia community in attempts to escape her dissolving marriage. Described as “erotic and atmospheric,” Anna From Away discusses the beautiful and complicated love that comes after love, an interesting – and often overlooked – romance.
From the New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize-winner comes Sutton, a story that reveals the desires and influences behind Willie Sutton, the notorious American bank robber (but adored public figure). J.R. Moehringer combines compelling research with a vivid imagination in this retelling of Willie Sutton’s robberies, jail time, and his motive behind it all.
Live By Night
Perhaps it is my fondness for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire (or anything Roaring 20s inspired) but I am extremely enthusiastic for the upcoming novel from award-winning and bestselling author Dennis Lehane. Live By Night follows the rise of a charismatic young gangster through the glitz and the violence of Prohibition-era America. Lehane’s novels are notorious for their suspense – for a list of his impressive previous work, click here!
The Time Keeper
I always expect beautiful things from Mitch Albom, an author known for his influential prose. In The Time Keeper, Albom reminds us how precious time is through the story of the man who invented the first clock, and what his invention has come to mean in the 21st century.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
Does anything sound more magical than a twenty-four hour bookstore? I cannot think of much. But Mr. Penumbra’s bookstore, as protagonist Clay Jannon is soon to find out, is more mystery than magic; it holds not only books, but also secrets that extend far beyond its walls. Robin Sloan brings a “unique and feisty sensibility” to his literary fiction, and I am very much looking forward to reading it!
Astray is a collection of stories set in numerous centuries. Each story describes a compelling and extraordinary journey from varying voices and perspectives. For this title, I don’t have much to say – if you’re a fan of Emma Donoghue, like I have become after reading Room, than you’ll be as eager as I am for this collection!
What are your thoughts? Is there an upcoming title that you are looking forward to? Remember – this reading list is not mandatory, just highly recommended!
Follow me on twitter @ktvncnt