6 Atmospheric Books for Autumn

By Thursday, October 19, 2017 , , ,

You guys, I know I say it every year, but it finally feels like autumn and it makes my heart so GLAD. Though DC does autumn well, it took a bit longer for it to get its act together this time around. But this week, I finally got to pull my fall jacket out of the closet and my cup of hot tea now actually matches the weather and general mood. 

That said, I hope you’re enjoying the season in a likewise manner and have a nice stack of books on your coffee table to go with your hot fall beverage of choice. “Seasonal reading” is something I’ve come to appreciate maybe over the last year. Naturally, a good book is a good book at any time of year, but there’s definitely something nice about reading a story with significant ambiance and a tone that reflects the current season. So if you need ideas for what to crack open this fall, here are my picks. 

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie 
There’s nothing like curling up with a blanket, hot beverage, and a murder mystery on a fall evening, am I right? I recently finished a new audiobook version of Orient Express and it was phenomenal. This was my first Christie read and I now understand why she’s known as the queen of mystery and crime fiction. And let me tell you, this book has an atmosphere. A train stuck in a snow drift. One of the passengers murdered in the dead of night. One detective among the remaining passengers. Every other passenger a suspect. Oh, and did I mention that Dan Stevens narrates the audio version I heard? Need I say more?
Photo Credit: Goodreads

The Angry Tide (Poldark #7) by Winston Graham 
I talk Poldark plenty on this blog, and I honestly think any of the books could be fitting choices for autumn because of the wild, stormy, and sometimes dark ambiance of the whole storyline. The Cornwall setting mirrors the protagonist, Ross Poldark, in that both of them are rugged, unpredictable, and untamed. But I’ve now read up through book 7, The Angry Tide, and I think this installment is particularly suited to autumn. It has a darker feel than many of the other volumes and Ross is forced to face struggles within himself that he has perhaps left buried for too long. It’s a book of trial and loss, but also of rebuilding and hope.
Photo Credit: Goodreads

Persuasion by Jane Austen 
I think this is one of Austen’s lesser known gems. It’s shorter and has a mellower tone compared to the bright and lively starlets of her canon like Pride and Prejudice or Emma. It’s set during autumn, much of the story takes place near the seashore, and the heroine is not a blushing, innocent girl in the prime of youth. The curtain opens on Anne Elliot, a woman of twenty-nine who lives with deeply held regret over a broken engagement from eight years earlier. What follows is a thoughtful, heartwarming tale on second chances and love set against the test of time. 

Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain 
I confess upfront that I gave this one a try recently, but did not finish it. However, I read enough to appreciate the writing and setting. This is the memoir of a woman who worked as a nurse during World War I and reflects back on that experience with fairly intense despondency. She argues that the war robbed her generation of its youth, never to be recovered. It was the deep sadness and resentment of the author’s tone that made it unfit for me at this point, but I still appreciated her memory of this harrowing war, her honesty about what it did to her, and her beautiful prose. This quote stands out particularly in my memory and it definitely rings of autumn: 
“I suppose it’s no use weeping over last year’s dead leaves. All the tears in the world cannot make them green again. Perhaps when it is all over we shall find that other and better things have taken root in the mould of their dying.”
Photo Credit: Goodreads

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
This is a classic on many school reading lists, but if that’s been your only exposure to it, it’s well worth revisiting, especially in the fall. It’s a gothic romance and a mystery, and the action unfolds on the windy moors of northern England in an old mansion where odd sounds and accidents seem to occur regularly. The plain, orphaned Jane Eyre stole my heart a long time ago with her strong principles and generous heart, and the enigmatic Mr. Rochester is the perfect definition of a tortured and brooding hero.
Photo Credit: Goodreads

Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan 
This is my current read. Doesn’t the mere title suggest autumn? I’m very excited to dig in further. It’s a novelization of true events surrounding the life of Pino Lella, an Italian who endured the World War II Nazi occupation of Italy during his teen years. He worked as an underground resister and helper of Jews, a soldier, and eventually as a spy inside German leadership. I’m looking forward to learning more about this remarkable man’s life and being all hunched up in suspense with a blanket as I read. 
Photo Credit: Goodreads

Happy Thursday, happy fall, and happy reading. Do you have any favorite books that are particularly suited to autumn? Any other favorites that are better in another specific season? Let me know in comments!

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