"Happiness is a crackling fire, a cozy book,
a cup of hot cocoa, and an autumnal nook."
October is almost here, and autumn is drawing nearer to the cozy centres of our lives. Those places where warm nourishing food is prepared, where enticing books gather in piles, and where cozy corners invite, and we don't really mind that long cool evenings are about to descend. For book lovers, like squirrels busy gathering nuts for winter, we search far and wide for reading materials to match the mood and the season.
Where do you go to find your book reading inspiration? I do have a few favourite places that are guaranteed to inspire me. Of course, the local library and bookstores are a given—lovely places to visit and browse—but what I'm thinking of today are those spots I visit online that usually have me coming away with lists of inspiration. Here are five places I enjoy visiting:
1. The Queen's Reading Room. "Discover new books each season & meet the extraordinary people who create them." This is HM Queen Camilla's book club which is wrapping up its eleventh season. Her Majesty The Queen picks four favourite books per four seasons (Jan to Mar, Apr to June, Jul to Sep, Oct to Dec). Recommendations are a mix of classic and new published works. A sample of the books I have read and enjoyed from previous seasons include: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico. You can find The Queen's Reading Room on her website and Instagram page.
2. Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN. This independent bookstore, owned by author Ann Patchett, gives weekly updates about current releases. I started following Ann and her shop during the pandemic. It's always a breath of fun to watch as she and Sparky (her dog), along with staff members, share enthusiastically about their latest favourites. Ann can be found on Instagram and the store website which includes Staff Picks, Ann's Latest Picks, and musings on the Parnassus blog. Her latest novel Tom Lake was a great read, and I absolutely loved her book of essays These Precious Days.
3. Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, DC. I first came across this bookstore a couple of years ago when I signed up for an online author interview with Canadian writer Louise Penny. Louise had chatted about writing her latest Gamache novel All The Devils Are Here. It was held during the pandemic, and one good thing that came out of this terrible season, so many in-person events had to be presented as Zoom events. Which meant a person living thousands of miles away could attend, and that's how I came to know about this bookstore. I still check back on their website once in a while to see what new books they are talking about. They continue to do their events online.
4. The Enchanted Book Club with Hayley Solano. If you've watched any of Susan Branch's recent interviews with Hayley, you will know about The Enchanted Book Club. The book club "is a kindred community that reads a different classic every month... perfect for fans of Jane Austen, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women". Hayley also presents online events with beloved authors, hosts literary travels (Paris is on the list), and more. The book selection for October is Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. I'm enjoying revisiting some of the classics I so loved as a girl and young woman. They are still a joy to read. You can find lovely Hayley on Instagram and her website.
5. Miranda Mills on YouTube and Comfort Book Club. Miranda from Yorkshire, UK, posts weekly vlogs about her favourite books and seasonal living in the English countryside. I love watching her weekly enthusiastic videos... my bookshelves are filling (as we speak) with her delightful cozy and 'comforting' recommendations. Miranda and her mom, Donna, host the monthly Comfort Book Club. ←Click there and you'll find the books selected for discussion in upcoming months. September's selection was an old classic Goodbye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton. For October, Miranda has selected the new release Marple: Twelve New Mysteries, which are short stories by current authors written in Christie fashion. Miranda can be followed on Instagram and her YouTube Channel.
I'm wondering, do you have favourite online places where you find inspiration for your reading life? Could you share below?
To close, Elizabeth Lawrence wrote in A Southern Garden (2001), "Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn." Oh yes! Let's sit still and watch the leaves turn on our trees and turn in our books.
I'm wishing you a beautiful weekend,
Image by FreeFunArt on Pixabay