I’m linking up with Heather of Life in Leggings today (it’s been awhile!) to share some of my favourite things for fall. And no, it’s not pumpkin spiced lattes, tall boots and cozy cardigans (pumpkin and coffee is gross together, I prefer flip flops over tall boots and I’d rather it be sunny and warm than have to layer up). I thought I’d share some of my favourite books instead — from self-help to philosophical novels to post-modernism fiction, these are some of my current and long-time favourite reads that go especially well with knee-high wool socks, dark chocolate and a mug of tea.
8 Great Books to Read This Fall
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
This is one of my all-time favourite books. “Jitterbug Perfume” centers around an epic adventure spanning 1,000 years with several unlikely characters, including a waitress, Einstein’s janitor and a goat. If you’ve read Robbins before, you’ll be accustomed to his playful and obscure use of language, bizarre characters and strange but memorable extended metaphors. The story contains several themes, including immortality, the meaning behind the sense of smell, individual expression, self-reliance, sex and love. It may sound odd, but it’s SO GOOD. Trust me. Read it.
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
Talk about a book that will change your life. “Ishmael”, a story about how our current culture came to be and how we’re on a crash course to destruction thanks to our Western-world appetite for expansion and consumption (as told to the narrator by a giant gorilla named Ismael in a tiny room), was written in the late 70s but feels like it could have been written for today’s audience. After reading it, I felt inspired to write this post, give up all red meat and live as considerately as possible.
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
I’m only half way through this book, but just love Brown’s perspective so far on what it means to be courageous and strong. It has helped me to understand my reactions to situations sometimes, and I definitely find myself pausing to understand where the reaction is coming from before acting or speaking.
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
I’m only half way through this book as well (I tend to read multiple self-help books at a time), but have also found it very useful. “The Artist’s Way” was written to help people who are experiencing a “creative block” to gain self-confidence in harnessing their creative talents and skills. I think many of us writerly types can truly benefit from the exercises in this book.
A Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
If you feel like getting all cultural and literary, Oscar Wilde is your go-to. Of all the books I read for English Lit in high school and college, this one always stood out for me. From Wikipedia: “Dorian Gray is the subject of a full-length portrait in oil by Basil Hallward, an artist who is impressed and infatuated by Dorian’s beauty; he believes that Dorian’s beauty is responsible for the new mode in his art as a painter. Through Basil, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, and he soon is enthralled by the aristocrat’s hedonistic worldview: that beauty and sensual fulfillment are the only things worth pursuing in life. Newly understanding that his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses the desire to sell his soul, to ensure that the picture, rather than he, will age and fade. The wish is granted, and Dorian pursues a libertine life of varied and amoral experiences; all the while his portrait ages and records every soul-corrupting sin.”
Finding Ultra by Rich Roll
“Finding Ultra” is the story of how one of my favourite podcasters went from an overweight alcoholic entertainment lawyer to a vegan superathlete out to save the world. It’s a fascinating story, and one you should definitely read if you’re a fan of his podcast.
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
Obviously this book needs to be included on this list. Although I think most runners have either read this book or know the story by now (thanks to the barefoot running craze and those stupid toe shoes), even non-runners will enjoy this book. It’s a truly fascinating look at another culture and how they’ve adapted to their environment over time to become one of the fittest and fastest humans in the world.
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
If you saw the movie by haven’t read the book, I highly encourage you to check it out. Martel’s writing is superb, and I’ve never been sucked into a novel before as much as I was reading “Li of Pi”. It’s a beautiful book about a young Indian boy who finds himself on a lifeboat with several zoo animals, including a Bengal tiger, after the ship he was on sunk while they were on their way the Canada. The movie surprisingly did a great job of capturing some of the magic of the book, but, as always, the book is better.
What are your favourite fall reads? What book(s) do you remember/loved the most from high school? What is your favourite book right now? What is your most favourite book of all time (if you had to choose)? What book should I read next?