Autumn Writing, Autumn Books

Edited Sept 19, to add more suggestions to the list. Thanks, all! SPC.

Face it, guys - Autumn is coming. Or Fall, if you're that way inclined.

It's my favourite season. I have fond memories of school days playing conkers, crushing dry leaves, splashing in puddles (not technically a seasonal pastime in England) and sitting indoors in the warmth while outside the temperature fell.

Insert 'lovely pumpkins' joke here
It's a good time for reading, when the weather turns but the colour's still there. You can grab a window, or a bench, or a bed, and settle down happily. Pretty good times.

Thought I'd gather a collection of my favourite books to read this time of year.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Why? Look at the date. September is the start of schools in England, and for Harry, the start of this school year is like nothing he's ever experienced. If you're looking for a chance to re-read this series, why not use the time of year as a great excuse?

Tess of the D'Urbervilles 

Hardy's classic story about a girl wronged by the world is placed very firmly in a pastoral, country setting. Harvest, nature, and the natural world vs. modern life are all brilliant themes.

James and the Giant Peach

Yesterday was Roald Dahl Day - how could I ignore this master of the dark, the grizzly, the bizarre, the amazing, and so much more? What's it about? The title's pretty clear on that.

The Lady of Shalott, and other works

Alfred, Lord Tennyson was Poet Laureate to Queen Victoria, and a master at evoking scenery and scale as backdrops to his narratives. The Lady of Shalott's opening lines certainly put me in an autumnal mood. All together now:

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by
 To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
 The island of Shalott.

And finally ...

What else?

I'm going to be looking for suggestions for the best fall reads, and trying to build up my list. Onwards!

Edited to add:

First suggestions have come in. Harry Potter got another plug (and quite deserving, too):

And also Wuthering Heights

I like this one. The wild moors, the rolling clouds, and the coldness of the heath and the memories that start the story - brilliant. I've actually been to the Bronte Parsonage, and it's amazing to see where these books were written and really get how the landscape inspired the tales.

And now, Northanger Abbey

Which, honestly, I have not read, though I trust the opinion of the reader. Maybe I should give it a try...

Edited again

The newest addition? Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier, a great pick from Kat Ellis over at http://katelliswrites.blogspot.co.uk/

I love this book, from its now world-famous opening line to the ending I did not see coming. Name dropping this book also got me on the good side of a girl I once met whilst living abroad - a girl who became my wife. There's an endorsement for you.


Edited again

Mansfield Park

along with Pride and Prejudice

Which, I have to admit, I have a bit of a blind spot for...

And North and South, by Gaskell

Which I have not read, but am open to. Anyone read this? Thoughts to share?

Also, second poem suggestion for autumn times is, fittingly, The Autumn, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Found here, and the opening stanza below:

Go, sit upon the lofty hill,
And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them --
The summer flowers depart --
Sit still -- as all transform'd to stone,
Except your musing heart.

Great stuff, guys. SPC.


  1. That's the joy of a book that covers a year ^^

  2. Wuthering Heights! Windy, rainswept moors, ghosts.

    Also Northanger Abbey, I love that book, and it doesn't work in the sunshine.

  3. I see I've been beaten to the punch, as I was going to say that Harry Potter is for all seasons as well :) As someone who is missing Autumn in London, (since I'm in Hell hot Tampa Bay) I've set the following books by the A.C unit. Mansfield Park and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, just because I love that book. :)One of my favorite poems by Elizabeth Barret Browning is called The Autumn, http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/ebbrowning/bl-ebbrown-autumn.htm

  4. Hi Marilyn, great to see you found your way over here from Twitter! Great suggestions, and I shall add them to the list later today. Thanks ^^