Now that it's officially autumn and the days are cooling and more colourful, I find myself eagerly turning towards those books that make me feel cozy. When leaves start to jig in the brisk winds—and what fun it is to watch them while we sip our tea in the sheltered area of the garden—it makes me want to pull my sweater closer and settle in with a book that is rich in colourful autumn descriptions. I like books that draw me into the season, whether it's poetry, a nature anthology, or novel. I like books that evoke a sense of place and offer a place that shelters. And I like books that inspire me to create and do something fresh with my days.
My collection of autumn books is small but growing. Miranda Mills on her lovely YouTube channel often has me clicking through to purchase yet one more of her wonderful seasonal book suggestions. Goodbye, Mr. Chips and The Fortnight in September are two I bought this year on her recommendation. I have already read both and loved them. Here are a few other of my favourites for this time of year:
Anne of Windy Poplars
by L.M. Montgomery
(chapter one opens in autumn)
by Susan Branch
(a lovely seasonal recipe book)
edited by Melissa Harrison
(seasonal essays and poetry)
Cat Among the Pigeons
by Agatha Christie
(novel set as a new school term begins)
Death Comes to Pemberley
by P.D. James
(the Darcy's host a ball in October)
The Fortnight in September
by R.C. Sheriff
(a family takes their annual holiday)
Growing a Life of Beauty & Wonder with Flowers
by Christie Purifoy
(see autumn harvest chapters)
Goodbye, Mr. Chips
by James Hilton
(this classic is set in a boy's school in England)
The Life Giving Home
Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming
by Sally and Sarah Clarkson
(see the autumn chapters)
Nature Writing for Every Day of the Year
edited by Jane McMorland Hunter
(short daily seasonal pieces)
Recipes for a Sacred Life
True stories and a few miracles
by Rivvy Neshama
(not autumnal, but nice reading)
Roots & Sky
A Journey Home in Four Seasons
by Christie Purifoy
(look for the autumn section)
by Rosamunde Pilcher
(novel set in Scotland in the autumn)
On other news concerning my books, as you may recall, we are in the midst of some house renovations, painting and replacing worn floors. So, at some point, my books will all need to be boxed and moved for paint jobs and new flooring installation. Perhaps that's what's driving me to get them catalogued—with a master list I'll know where to find them when I want something particular. It'll be weeks (maybe months?) before things sort back into that 'everything's-back-in-its-place' stage.
In all the years that I've owned books—and I've had books to call my own since I was a little girl—I don't think I ever created a list or catalogue. I might have done as a girl. I left the children's books for my younger siblings when I left home and took only a few young adult favourites. I housed my small collection on a shelf, dusting and lovingly caretaking them. I always knew what I had and where they sat. Everything was strictly alphabetical by last name. No worrying about categories or separating fiction from nonfiction.
But over time the collection grew. Now I have quite a few, even though I cull what I no longer want or need. My mind doesn't always remember exact titles or authors as brilliantly as it did once, so if I am to keep track, I need a simple catalogue: two main sections, fiction and nonfiction. I separate children's fiction from the general adult fiction; otherwise it's all alphabetical by author's last name. Under nonfiction, I have five categories: Christmas/winter, General, Poetry/essays/anthologies, Reference, Writing. Also alphabetical by author. No Dewey decimal system... as much as I appreciate the fellow who designed that wonderful system.
At present count, I have nearly 800 books—which still doesn't include my food/cookbooks or my large coffee table and art books. The catalogue includes: title, author, category/subject, year acquired, where it's situated, if it's lent out (which is rare).
My mind boggles to think of the number of books I've gathered over the years. Dozens upon dozens bought, read, eventually given away with hundreds more still nestled on shelves under my roof. I've noticed something while creating this list. It brings renewed order to my books, and it gives peace of mind; which in turns creates impetus to re-read my way through my own library. Bring on winter!
Quite a few books are as yet unread, many of them found at library sales and thrift stores. I am a happy collector of books. They bring me joy, whether or not I've read them. When I scan through one, I'm always filled with that anticipation of the day I'll read it in earnest. I just know it'll be good, otherwise why would I hold onto it for so long—it's been years for some.
I have learned not to force read books when it's not the right timing. I sincerely believe there is a right time and place to read certain books. And reading them when we're not quite ready for them can turn what should have been a joyful or life-giving experience into a loss. How do I know when it's not the right time? When the words drag on, when I read the same page over and over because I can't quite get into it. When my heart isn't in it. So, how do I know when it is a right time? When I'm drawn into the writing, either by the beautiful writing itself or by the topic that is so relevant to me at the time. When I'm instantly engaged and I feel like my soul is being watered and fed. When the still small voice says, read this now. I have read books when I wasn't ready for them and at the time I said, yah, it was okay, but meh. And then times passes, maybe even years, and I will be pulled back to the book (grateful I hadn't chucked it into the give away box). I'd start reading and this time it would blossom in my heart, and I'd think, well, I obviously wasn't in the right space when I last read it, this is so good, just what I need! Learn to listen to that, is my bit of unsolicited advice.
It's Sunday evening as I'm wrapping this up; I meant to have this posted earlier in the weekend. I glance out my study window - the sky is stunning. Our September has been glorious. Makes me so glad to be alive to see and experience it. Now, I want to wish you a beautiful week ahead, one filled with glimpses of heaven in unexpected places. Be well, be grace-lifted.
(Top)Image by Manfred Richter from Pixabay
(Bottom) Image by CongerDesign from Pixabay