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Three books to read this fall

A book recommendation guide

In the fall, the wind gets chillier, the leaves turn brown and morning coffee becomes a necessity. One thing that remains constant in my inherently disorganized life is reading. With days getting shorter and schedules getting busier, fall reading can provide comfort. 

I have compiled a small list of books which remind me of the feeling of fall. With a warm blanket draped around you and the rustling of leaves as your soundtrack, allow these stories to transport you to places familiar and uncharted. 

Normal People by Sally Rooney

This book effortlessly weaves modern-day romance with the changing seasons. Spanning the various phases of university students Marianne and Connell’s romantic encounters, the novel explores themes of mental health, friendship, love, violence and social class.

Normal People takes the well-worn trope of the popular guy falling for the outcast girl and transforms it into a heartbreakingly beautiful narrative. It’s a coming-of-age tale that follows Marianne and Connell as they make life-altering choices, all told in an eerily serene tone.

As they navigate the pursuit of normalcy amid the complexity of their decisions, Marianne and Connell undergo profound emotional growth while becoming increasingly entwined in each other’s lives. 

Rooney’s novel effortlessly captures the essence of these characters’ journeys, making it a must-read for anyone seeking a nonchalant yet deeply resonant exploration of the human experience.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Enigmatic literary figure Sylvia Plath’s tragic life story adds a poignant layer to her work. Plath, a literary genius ahead of her time, was arguably tragically undervalued. The Bell Jar, in many ways, serves as an autobiographical canvas upon which she paints the character of Esther, mirroring her own descent into madness.

The novel serves as a compelling mirror, reflecting struggles with identity under the weight of societal expectations, particularly those affecting women. Plath’s work emerged as a cornerstone in the early stages of the feminist movement and the global shift toward female empowerment. 

Within its pages, you’ll find a stark portrayal of the societal tendency to label driven women as neurotic when they dare prioritize ambitions that don’t align with the roles imposed upon them.

The Bell Jar is written in a somber and desolate tone, making it the ideal choice for an autumn read. Its serious themes invite readers to introspect and consider the pivotal role this novel played in reshaping perspectives on gender, identity and the individual’s struggle against the constraints of society.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi 

How often have we all wished for the chance to rewrite our past, undo mistakes and embrace opportunities that slipped through our fingers? Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s Before the Coffee Gets Cold taps into this universal longing with a story exploring time travel. It poses a question that will linger: If given the power to journey back in time, would we dare?

Within this novel we encounter four individuals stepping into a cafe’s doorway, seeking to harness its time-altering magic. All carry their own desires and regrets. 

One yearns to confront a long-lost love. Another hopes to receive a letter from a spouse suffering from Alzheimer’s. A third longs to see their sister one final time, and a fourth wishes to meet the daughter they never had the chance to know.

Kawaguchi’s narrative weaves a delicate and thought-provoking tapestry of human emotion, inviting readers to contemplate the choices that define our lives. Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a captivating exploration of the human experience. It urges us to consider the true value of moments we hold dear and the impact of the past on our present and future. 

So, join the cafe’s patrons as they set off on a journey through time, and perhaps find a reflection of your own desires and regrets.

All these books are available through Halifax Public Libraries. Visit this website to get a free library card. 

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