My Autumn Reading List

With darker evenings and wet wild weekends I will be spending my time curled up on my sofa, surrounded by candles a blanket and a good book and I couldn’t be more excited about it!

The tower beside my bed seems to continue to grow and is pretty daunting – but I like a challenge!

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I set myself a challenge a couple of months ago to read all of the Man Booker long list – so far I have ready about 7 of them but the first on my list is part of that challenge and is The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (£3.99). The book synopsis says – In Whitehead’s razor-sharp imagining of the antebellum South, the Underground Railroad has assumed a physical form: a dilapidated box car pulled along subterranean tracks by a steam locomotive, picking up fugitives wherever it can. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But its placid surface masks an infernal scheme designed for its unknowing black inhabitants. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher sent to find Cora, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom. Really looking forward to giving this one a read although it sounds pretty harrowing, so maybe on for when I’m not feeling low!

But after The Underground Railroad if I am looking for something uplifting I bought ‘The Little Big Things – A young mans belief that everyday can be a good day’ by Henry Fraser (£9.09). Henry was 17 years old when a tragic accident severely crushed his spinal cord. Paralysed from the shoulders down, he has conquered unimaginable difficulty to embrace life and a new way of living. Through challenging adversity, he has found the opportunity to grow and inspire others.

This book combines his wisdom and insight into finding the gifts in life’s challenges, and will resonate with anyone facing an obstacle, no matter how big or small. It includes Henry’s thoughts on how to look at the right things and avoid the wrong, finding progress in whatever you do, and acknowledging and accepting the darkness when it comes. Right at the heart of Henry’s inspiring philosophy is his belief that every day is a good day.I cannot wait to read this –  I think of all the books on my list I am most looking forward to reading this – it sounds inspiriting and uplifting and just the thing to get you out of a funk.

Also as part of my Man Booker challenge is Autumn by Ali Smith (£3.99). This is the book I am currently reading (I have only read two chapters) but I am very intrigued so far! It is simply summed up with: Daniel is a century old. Elisabeth, born in 1984, has her eye on the future. The United Kingdom is in pieces, divided by a historic once-in-a-generation summer. Love is won, love is lost. Hope is hand in hand with hopelessness. The seasons roll round, as ever. So far it has a feeling of the surrealism about it – I look forward to delving in some more.

Next up is a book I saw a lot of bloggers talking about so I got sucked in by the hype and picked it up and it’s ‘How to Stop Time’ by Matt Haig (£4.99). This book has a bit of a feel of the ‘Time Travelers Wife’ meets ‘Age of Adeline about it’ as it focuses on Tom Hazard. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz-Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen a lot, and now craves an ordinary life.

Always changing his identity to stay alive, Tom has the perfect cover – working as a history teacher at a London comprehensive. Here he can teach the kids about wars and witch hunts as if he’d never witnessed them first-hand. He can try to tame the past that is fast catching up with him. The only thing Tom must not do is fall in love – which leads me to believe it has a romantic twist! I am excited to read this one – I wouldn’t say I am a sci-fi book lover but something like this sounds relatable.

Next up is another of my Manbooker challenge which was in fact the overall winner – Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (£6.29). On February 22, 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln was laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, Abraham Lincoln arrives at the cemetery under cover of darkness and visits the crypt, alone, to spend time with his son’s body.

Set over the course of that one night and populated by ghosts of the recently passed and the long dead, Lincoln in the Bardo is a thrilling exploration of death, grief, the powers of good and evil, a novel – in its form and voice – completely unlike anything you have read before. It is also, in the end, an exploration of the deeper meaning and possibilities of life, written as only George Saunders can: with humor, pathos, and grace. Having experienced a lot of grief in my life I am intrigued to read this and see what all the fuss is about – I am also intrigued by the way it is written – parts look like screen scripts and the wording and spacing is unusual – I will report back!

Last by no means last is the seriously MAHOOSIVE 4,3,2,1 by Paul Auster (£6.99), another one of my Manbooker challenge and by far the one I am most afraid of – because it is 1,000 pages. Hands down it’s the biggest book I’ve ever seen! But it does have an intriguing premise – On March 3rd, 1947, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous paths. Four Fergusons will go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Loves and friendships and passions contrast. Each version of Ferguson’s story rushes across the fractured terrain of mid-twentieth century America, in this sweeping story of birthright and possibility, of love and the fullness of life itself.  Now this sounds like the sort of book I love – I just hope that it is as gripping as it sounds or I worry I will give up due to the daunting size of the book itself!

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So that is what I will be reading over the next couple of months – I used to do a lot of book reviews on here and I think I will bring these back in the form of ‘what I read this month’ posts giving you an overview of my thoughts and some recommendations – let me know if you would like to see more of those!

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