This evening will be spent in the garage, finishing up my wood block tealights and helping hubby with our new funky pallet TV stand. But as the evenings get cooler and it starts getting dark around, oh say, noon, I find myself increasingly finding thing inside the house to amuse me at night. Like every fall and winter in the past, this is the best season to get some serious reading time in.
Not only does reading improve your cognitive abilities, vocabulary, spelling, and sexy-nerd-factor, but it’s also a fantastic (and inexpensive) way to relax.
This fall, while you’re piling on the layers and indulging in pumpkin bread and hot chocolate (believe me, recipes for these are definitely in this blog’s future!)… check out my top 6 favorite reads, all for less than $11.00 on Amazon. Do I even need to mention that these stellar reads make awesome gifts? Hello, awesome-Christmas-present for less than $11 per person!
7 Different (awesome!) Reads for 6 Different Fall Moods
(click the book to head over to Amazon.com if you’d like to buy it!)
The Road - [ Cormac McCarthy ]
The apocalypse has just taken place, and a man and his son wander the bleak landscape searching for food, water, and remaining life.
Although The Road is by far one of the creepiest, most unsettling, chock-full-of-images-that-will-probably-never-leave-me, disturb-fest books that I’ve ever had my hands on, it takes an easy first place as my favorite book of all time. I literally read The Road in two sittings – and it would have been one sitting if I hadn’t decided that 4am meant I should get at least a LITTLE sleep before I keep reading. Cormac McCarthy is what I like to call a WORDSMITH. Like Ernest Hemingway, he has the enviable ability to take a sentence, reduce it to only a handful of words, and not only retain the depth and meaning of the sentence, but ENHANCE it, making it feel even more real. His ultra-short sentences and speedy descriptions also make this a very fast read. An added bonus is that you won’t be grabbing for a dictionary every five minutes.
Now, tissues? Better have those handy. Also be prepared to have to put this down and walk away from it for a minute or two to digest the scene you have just read. This was true for everyone I’ve talked to who has read this. The Road stays with you, flexes your imagination, pulls at your heartstrings, and races to the top of your “favorite book” list.
Click the book above to head over to Amazon to purchase it.
1984 - [ George Orwell ]
Written in the 1950′s about what George Orwell thought 1984 could be like, this futuristic fiction tells the story of a man caught in a world where a hyper-controlling government rules not only every aspect of your daily life, but your thoughts as well…
There’s a very good reason that every English major has got this bad boy on their favorite book list – it’s quite simply one of the most well-written, engaging, thought-provoking books out there. I read this book (understanding less than half of it) in middle school, and even then I knew that I would be hard pressed to find a better book out there. For the nerds, the gadgets are creative and second to none – two-way televisions (they watch you while you watch it), machines that write what you speak into them… okay, so we already have a lot of the stuff described in the book but to think that this was written in the 50′s when this stuff was all science fiction: amazing! For the ladies, there is a very engaging love story whose story arc spans (literally) the entire book. Best of all, it’s forbidden love – admit it, that’s your favorite kind to read about. ;)
Click the book above to head over to Amazon to make a purchase – your brain will thank you for it!
Need a laugh?
David Sedaris is, hands down, the most humorous writer I know. His recollection of growing up in a dysfunctional family, his daily encounters with the strange characters around him, and life observations in general, have made me look like a complete geek laughing-out-loud at a book and drawn many a strange look from my husband. Even more endearing, he doesn’t demonize his family, but paints them for the reader in such a way that while you’re laughing at their strange behavior, you’re also kind of falling in love with them, too.
Head over to the Amazon page, click on the book cover for a sneak peek at the first chapters, and if these aren’t making you chuckle at your computer like you’re watching cat videos on youtube, reach down, check your wrist and then your neck to make sure that you have a pulse.
For me, this man is wit personified.
Click either book to head over to Amazon and take a peek at the first chapters.
Need a good scare?
House of Leaves - [ Mark Danielewski ]
Sometimes, at night, I think about the things I’ve read in this fiction thriller, and I feel a little bit like sleeping with the light on.
House of Leaves is actually like, 4 stories in one, all of them interlinked somehow. At the heart of the book is the story of a family who moves into a house that is in no way what it seems. Is this a ghost story? No. Is it a monster story? No, I don’t think it’s that either. Murder? Not really… How is it scary, then? I remember feeling like I was right there with the characters as several of them slowly but surely lost their minds. Deeply disturbing and satisfying in a way that few, if any, horror stories are. I still try to describe this book to people and always manage to sound completely insane. ;)
PS. Fantastic birthday gift for your friend or family member who likes scary books.
You can click the book for a creepy sneak peek.
Want to feel spiritually inspired?
The Shack - [ Wm. Paul Young ]
An Oregon man treks out into the wilderness searching for the body of his kidnapped daughter in this spiritual fictional novel.
This book did more for me, spiritually, than any of the books my mother or grandmother has ever sent me regarding God, Creation, or The Afterlife.
As a disclaimer right up front, as a former English major, the writing itself didn’t really do anything for me. The story and the message however…
Everyone I’ve ever spoken to who has read The Shack gets a very serious look on their face and says, “I. love. that. book.” The heavy pauses between each word are no exaggeration. It happens. Their eyes get all big and their voice drops about an octive and they lean in close and go on for a solid half hour about how much the book affected them. Want to make your friends, family, spouse, child, neighbor, or a total stranger on the street feel closer to God and embrace a deeper meaning in their life? Recommend The Shack. Well, first go read it yourself so that you can look all creepy and bug-eyed while you tell them about. ;)
Don’t bother reading the first chapter on Amazon to make your decision, this one takes a couple chapters to get warmed up but ones the story takes off, it’s going to grab you and take you with it, I promise!
Love a good true story?
Into The Wild - [ Jon Krakauer ]
Chances are, you’ve seen the movie. And chances are (thanks to some awesome directing) you enjoyed the movie.
Now, quit being one of those people who has “seen the movie” and think that you know the story well enough and go buy the book.
It’s one thing to watch the super talented Emile Hirsch portray the-crazy-but-fascinating Christopher McCandless and another thing entirely to read full paragraphs, one after the other, of his thoughts, dreams, and fears as he starves to death in an abandoned bus out in the middle of nowhere Alaska. Jon Krakauer interviews family members, friends, and acquaintances of the fated late youth, and takes you with him on his journey as he retraces the steps of “Alexander Supertramp”, McCandless’s traveling alter-ego.
When it starts getting cold and you find yourself without a good fall or winter read, feel free to come back to this page, pick your mood, and order a new book! There’s nothing quite like ordering a book for next-to-nothing on Amazon, getting it (sometimes) the very next day in the mail, and starting in a book that has you saying to yourself every five minutes, “This may be one of the best books I’ve ever read.”
As an avid reader, I guarantee at least one of these 6 is going to do that for you.
These are my “go-to” recommendations and I’m delighted to share them with you, readers. Now what are you waiting for? Go get your big fall read!