My fiction reading list for autumn
As much as I love summer reading on the beach and in a hammock, there’s nothing quite like spending an autumnal afternoon at home with a book. Being curled in a cosy blanket, sipping hot cocoa, while outside the light fades away and ideally, it’s windy, rainy and/or foggy, When I was a kid, that was the definition of happiness. I loved to look up from my book and see the shadows creeping in, but never reaching the circle of warm yellow light cast by my reading lamp.
To be honest, nowadays I just as often as not replace a book with a binge worthy TV show when I’m cosying up at home. Most of my reading happens on my commute and right before bed. And yet, there’s something about reading a book in autumn that can never quite be replaced by a TV show, no matter how good it is. The feeling of not wanting to put down my book, desperate to spend every minute inside the story, being pulled under and away by it. Hence, this reading list is fiction only. As much as I enjoy a good non-fiction book, it tends to not carry me away as easily.
Here’s what’s on my reading list for this autumn:
The Whispering Swarm by Michael Moorcock
I picked the book up because I really liked the cover. This’ll more than show my ignorance but all I know about Michael Moorcock and his work comes from a Neil Gaiman short story.
From the back cover: “London just after the war, a city desperately trying to get back on its feet. And one young boy, Michael Moorcock, who is about to discover a world of magic and wonder. Between his first tentative approaches to adulthood — a job on Fleet Street, the first stirrings of his interest in writing — and a chance encounter with a mysterious Carmelite Friar, we see a version of Moorcock’s life that is simultaneously a biography and a story. Mixing elements of his real life with his adventures in a parallel London peopled with highwaywomen, musketeers and magicians, this is Moorcock at his dazzling, mercurial best.”
London and a parallel London? I’ve been loving the concept since reading Neil Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’! And ever since having been to London, it feels even more like the perfect setting for strange stories. Plus: I get really excited when I read about a place that I know or have been to.
Temeraire by Naomi Novik
A few months ago, I read Naomi Novik’s latest novel ‘Uprooted’ (think classic fairy tale as a novel, and a must-read if you loved ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’) and couldn’t put it down. I may or may not have overrun on my lunch because I needed to finish the current chapter (and the one after that).
‘Temeraire’ is a series she’s written previously. I’d usually be reluctant to jump into a nine-book series, (don’t judge me for any book commitment issues), but the blurb mentioned a captain and his dragon fighting for Britain in the Napoleonic Wars.
From the back cover: “As Napoleon’s tenacious infantry rampages across Europe and his armada lies in wait for Nelson’s smaller fleet, the war does not rage on land and water alone. Squadrons of aviators swarm the skies — a deadly shield for the cumbersome canon-firing vessels. Raining fire and acid upon their enemies, they engage in a swift, violent combat with flying tooth and claw… for these aviators ride dragons.”
I used to love Errol Flynn and some good swashbuckling (a very romantic part still does), so ‘Temeraire’ sounds like the perfect alternative history read to go along with a cup of tea and a slice of cake.
Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett
This book has been sitting on my shelf for about two years. It’s part of the gorgeous embossed and fabric bound hardbacks so I’ve always been a bit worried to rough it up. (Full disclosure: I was reluctant to read Pratchett for years because I can’t stand the old illustrated covers. It runs so deeply that whenever I get one of them in the charity shop, I take some wrapping paper with a pretty pattern and cover the book in that.)
“Lords and Ladies” is part of the coven of Granny Weatherwax series, so you might want to read “Wyrd Sisters” and “Witches Abroad” first, but most of Pratchett’s book work standalone too.
From the back cover: “It’s Midsummer Night — no time for dreaming. Because sometimes, when there’s more than one reality at play, too much dreaming can make the walls between them come tumbling down. Unfortunately there’s usually a damned good reason for there being walls between them in the first place — to keep things out. Things who want to make mischief and play havoc with the natural order.”
I’m a big fan of Pratchett’s razor-sharp humour, so I’m already looking forward to giggling to myself under the covers.
All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
This has been a BBC Radio 2 Book Club Choice, so I’m aware I might be fashionably late to the party.
I downloaded the sample a while back and was intrigued by the concept that we live in a world that’s gone off course. Anyone else feel like it when they watch the news?! Apparently, there’s an explanation.
From the back cover:
“So, the thing is, I come from the world we were supposed to have.
That means nothing to you, obviously, because you live here, in the crappy world we do have.
But it never should’ve turned out like this. And it’s all my fault — well, me and to a lesser extent my father.
And, yeah, I guess a little bit Penelope.
In both worlds, she’s the love of my life. But only a single version of her can exist.”
I’m quite looking forward to the narrators excuse to why some things are they way they are.
So yeah, these books should get me through to Christmas.