Back in September I wrote this post on curating the perfect beach house library.
Well, another month, another season and another friend’s renovation project (my friends are big into tearing down walls!) has just wrapped up. This was a special project in that it’s a house I practically grew up in, owned by a woman who had a huge role in shaping the person I am today. The house is completely changed – all for the better – and this friend, too, is planning to dedicate an entire room to books. While a beach house is obviously a place for summer reading – the lake house has always made me think of Fall and changing leaves and the romance (though not the practicalities!) of a wood burning stove.
This is definitely the library for large, heavy hardcover door-stopper novels. And knowing the tastes of the people who’ll be using it, it’s also a place where I imagine edge worn sci-fi paperbacks by Jack Vance & Fritz Leiber side-by-side with contemporary examples of narrative non-fiction. A whole row of cookbooks and a stack of…. enough. Let’s do this right.
- A subscription to The New York Review of Books – perfect for Saturday morning reading between sips of coffee.
- Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies for all the obvious reasons.
- The Complete Annotated Short Stories of Sherlock Holmes (W.W. Norton) – They’re huge, unwieldy and don’t make for the most comfortable reading, but I’m partial to the annotated volumes in this boxed set.
- Jack Vance, Fritz Leiber, Douglas Adams and that guy who wrote the Conan the Barbarian series – classic American sci-fi and fantasy. I always feel nostalgic in the Fall.
- Murakami – not 1Q84 so much, though I don’t rule it out of hand. I’m thinking of his earlier books with their themes of isolation and loss.
- I know Cloud Atlas is EVERYWHERE at the moment so I won’t insult you by recommending it. A novel by David Mitchell is perfect for this (or really any) time of year. I wonder if they were written while the leaves changed color? The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet or Black Swan Green… reader’s choice.
- The Hangman’s Daughter mystery series from Germany – decidedly middle-brow, but well done and a lot of fun for all that
- I still haven’t discovered cookbooks I like better than The Canal House Cookbook series. New books come out twice a year. An added (and, admittedly, obvious) benefit is that you can read them while cooking up a fabulously delicious meal.
- Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume One should have a permanent spot on the table next to your favorite reading chair. Just waiting for you to dip into on a long, cold night. A cat and a snifter of brandy is recommended but completely optional.
- Any book from the collection of authors born out of the imagination of the French author Antoine Volodine. I’ll be reviewing We Monks & Soldiers by Lutz Bassmann later this week. Atmospheric and strange and more than a little bit creepy.
Do you have a favorite book for this time of year? Something you recommend for when the nights begin to turn cold?