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Fall Reading List
Looking for a good book to read? Fall is a great time to start in on a new reading list. After summer sunshine and backyard barbecues, the mind is rested and ready to get back to study. Try some of these books to get going!
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
When we read, the book that we are reading absorbs something of the atmosphere around us. I read this book sitting on my grandmother’s front porch, surrounded by falling leaves and pecans and the crisp autumn breeze.
Feel free to hold great expectations when you pick up Great Expectations. Dickens, as always, never disappoints in his rich plot full of memorable characters. The story follows Pip, an orphan who has his unfair share of trials and tribulations. If possible, read a copy that includes the original unpublished ending.
The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Having visited the actual House in Salem, Massachusetts in the autumn, I always picture it with fall colors and late flowers and cold, mysterious shadows. Reading the book somehow trapped me inside a musty decaying house full of mysterious happenings, never seeing the sunlight.
The House of the Seven Gables is a masterpiece of American literature. Hawthorrne creates an atmosphere that well fits with the decaying of autumn. The story is centered around the curse of the Pyncheon family and the power of love to expel it. Hawthorne exhibits the great influence his ancestors (his great-great-grandfather was a judge during the Salem Witch Trials) had on him.
The Bostonians by Henry James
Autumn means back-to-school days. After the summer, we feel refreshed and ready to go back to studies and No.2 pencils and smell-good books.
The Bostonians has a very academic setting in 1800s Boston. Verena Tarrant, a speaker in the feminist movement, is the central character, caught between her parents and her benefactress on the one hand, and the man who loves her, a Southern conservative, on the other. The plot is fascinating and provides many topics for discussion.
The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett
For some reason, I remember this book as if it were set in the fall, although the book begins in June. Perhaps this is because the narrator uses the abandoned schoolhouse for her solitary writing, lending a scholarly attitude to the reader.
The Country of the Pointed Firs is a beautiful book that doesn’t receive the attention that it deserves. The book is made up of sketches of ordinary life along the coast of Maine. Jewett’s skill at local color makes old fishermen and widows come alive as tangible characters. The book is like Anne of Green Gables or Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, only for adult readers.
The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. by Washington Irving
“Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” are both autumn favorites. I love to imagine the Adirondack Mountains in all the glory of fall colors and golden afternoons.
The Sketch Book is a must-read for any lover of American literature. Irving was among the first in America to be successfully published as a writer of fiction. He was a master story-teller, and although his writing style is old-fashioned, his stories make a lasting impression. Who hasn’t heard of Ichabod Crane and the headless horseman or of Rip Van Winkle? As well as these well-known tales of Dutch Americans in the Adirondacks, the book also includes sketches set in England.
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