Turn the page to fall

Book recommendations to get into the fall spirit

Pumpkin spice lattes, apple picking, and spooky season are all just around the corner. Reading can do the trick to prepare for this magical time of year. Being wrapped in your favourite blanket by the ocean or in a park with the fresh breeze blowing and the words lifting off the page brings comfort and excitement for the new season. The four books described below encompass fall spirit the best.

The Smell of Other People’s Houses, 2016, Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

The Smell of Other People’s Houses, taking place in 1970s Alaska, follows the lives of four characters in different stressful situations. Ruth hides a secret, Dora wants an escape, Alyce searches for reconciliation and Hank is on the run. Experiencing challenges such as running away from home and finding peace with situations in life, each stranger soon finds their life entangled with those of the other three. This novel explores themes such as poverty, racism, abuse, community and friendship. 

The Smell of Other People’s Houses is a reminder of the importance of friendship, just as in the fall when making new friends at places such as Dalhousie University. If you are longing for adventure and the comfort of friendship, this book is an excellent choice. Plus, it will keep you on the tip of your toes!

Fantastic Mr. Fox, 1970, Roald Dahl

The classic Fantastic Mr. Fox illustrates the best of fall, with endearing imagery of colourful leaves and family dinners. The story follows the clever and witty Mr. Fox, who steals food from three farmers to feed his family. Things go sideways when the farmers begin to ambush Mr. Fox and his burrowing animal friends. This novel emphasizes the significance and meaning of honesty and family. At just 100 pages, this book could be read in a single sitting. 

The descriptions of nature bring out the sweetest tones of melancholy, especially for those living away from home. Whether it’s the talking animals feasting or the family arguments, Fantastic Mr. Fox makes it hard not to crave the all-too-familiar fall memories such as large family dinners. Not a book person? Check out the story’s film adaptation directed by Wes Anderson.

Beautiful World, Where Are You, 2021, Sally Rooney

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney has been the talk of Booktok and Booktube since its release in 2021. The novel follows four characters – Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon – who go about mundane millennial lives in Ireland while exploring the messiness of living and loving in modern-day society. 

The characters are notably relatable at times as they try to figure out how to live their best possible life. At one point, Alice and Eileen chat through a series of emails, attempting to navigate their familiar and romantic relationships This is a top-notch fall read as it is enticing and effortlessly realistic. The events of Beautiful World, Where Are You feel as though a friend in real life has experienced the book’s events and spoke about them. The novel itself is a great reminder that life is never without nuances. 

The Cartographer of No Man’s Land, 2013, P.S. Duffy

The World War I historical fiction The Cartographer of No Man’s Land takes place in both the trenches in France and a village in Nova Scotia. The story follows Angus, who joins World War I to search for a beloved family member who went missing. While Angus is away at war, his son must figure out how to navigate life while the tension and grief in their Nova Scotian village escalate. The imagery, events and themes this book demonstrates are gloomy and grey like the fall sky. This is a great read if you want to take in the essential fall melancholy leading up to the winter frost. 

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Natasha Fortin