It's that time of year when pumpkins, spiced lattes, and apples appear. Seasonal changes mean it's time to treat yourself to a reading list full of titles guaranteed to put you in an autumnal state of mind. Here in San Francisco, September ushered in with a heat wave and smoky horizons. So as the days grow shorter and the air grows healthier, it seems fitting to swap out beach reads for titles as comforting as a warm blanket on a crisp afternoon.
All titles are available for checkout and pickup through Mechanics' Institute Library's To Go express service.
Autumn: a novel by Ali Smith - A girl's friendship with an elderly songwriter form the backbone of this multilayered story about meditation, art, love, and affection. Also available as an E-audiobook.
The Cider House Rules by John Irving - John Irving's sixth novel tells the story of an obstetrician who runs an orphanage in rural New England. This heartwarming tale set in an apple orchard is full of the sights and smells of autumn. The 1999 book was adapted for the stage and was made into a film by the same title.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness - There's nothing like the transition into into fall to bring on thoughts of witches, shadowy libraries and dark corners. This first volume of the All Souls trilogy delves deep into the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library where Yale historian Diana Bishop stumbles upon a bewitched manuscript that unleashes a host of supernatural beings who threaten, stalk and harass her.
First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen - Autumn has finally arrived in the small town of Bascom, North Carolina only to find sisters Claire and Sydney Waverley at turning points. Claire's candy business has exploded and she has more work than she can handle. Sydney is soon to have an empty nest and she desperately wants another child. The first frost is nearly upon them and, as everyone knows, with it comes strange happenings and a mysterious guest. A lighthearted story that continues the Waverley family saga from Allen's first book, Garden Spells.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - Autumn seems a superb time to read the classic novel of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a living creature from an unorthodox experiment. Spooky, yes. Forgettable, definitely not.
If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio - If you were to judge a book by its cover, this one practically screams haunted house. A group of aspiring Shakespearian actors at an elite arts academy share a rivalry that escalates dangerously. On opening night during their fourth year, the competition turns ugly and violent and requires each cast member to play a leading role--that of convincing police they are innocent.
Night Film by Marisha Pessl - On a cold October evening, the daughter of a cult horror film director is found dead in a Manhattan warehouse. The death was ruled a suicide but investigative journalist Scott McGrath probes deeper into the unusual circumstances surrounding the girl's death.
The October Country: stories by Ray Bradbury - This is the quintessential book to put you in a fall mood. Stories told in short bursts by the master of macabre will make you want to burrow under the covers late into the night.
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman - If fall is the season of witches, then Hoffman's 11th novel is the perfect blend of elderly aunts, a musty New England home and magic. Even if you've already seen the movie, Hoffman's writing is a spellbinding treat you won't be able to put down.
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss - What happens when the daughters of literature's most infamous scientists band together? A Gothic adventure of epic proportions is sure to follow. When Mary Jekyll, daughter of Dr. Henry Jekyll finds herself orphaned and penniless, she decides to pursue a police reward for information leading to the capture of her father's former assistant, murderer Edward Hyde. Dark London streets, secret societies and reanimated literary figures strike the right chord on a chilly night.
The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike - You can practically hear the wind and see the leaves swirling in Eastwick's story of three divorcees bewitched by a dark, decadent stranger in a small New England town. Don't forget to catch the film by the same title that stars Jack Nicholson at his diabolical best, Cher, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer.