Books I Want to Read This Fall and Winter

My ‘to read’ list is always growing and I can’t decide whether this is a good or a bad thing.

I was cleaning my room out the other day (once a month I do a massive clean) and while I was cleaning and reorganizing my bookshelf it dawned on me that I have an abundance of books that I haven’t read yet and some books I really want to reread.

Thus, this blog post was created.

Here are a few books I want to during the remainder of the fall and into the winter.

1. Guyana by by Élise Turcotte

Guyana book cover.

“Ana and her son, Philippe, are grieving the loss of Philippe’s father when Philippe’s hairstylist, Kimi, dies in an apparent suicide. Driven by a force she doesn’t understand, Ana starts digging into Kimi’s past in Guyana in 1978, which leads to nested tales of north and south, past and present, and to the Jonestown Massacre. A stunning translation of a masterpiece by one of Quebec’s most important novelists.”

Description and photo are courtesy of Coach House Books.

2. Shiver, Linger, and Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver book cover.

I was gifted this series by a friend when we were in high school, a long time ago, and I read the first book, Shiver, but have yet to read the other two. So, this fall or winter I am planning to reread the first book and finally finish the series. From what I can remember, the first book is excellent so I am looking forward to diving into it again.

“For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf — her wolf — is a haunting presence she can’t seem to live without.”

“Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human — until the cold makes him shift back again.”

“Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears and the temperature drops, Sam must fight to stay human or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.”

Description and photo are courtesy of Scholastic Canada.

3. Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

Behind the Beautiful Forevers book cover.

“In this brilliant, breathtaking book by Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human through the dramatic story of families striving toward a better life in Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport. As India starts to prosper, the residents of Annawadi are electric with hope. Abdul, an enterprising teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Meanwhile Asha, a woman of formidable ambition, has identified a shadier route to the middle class. With a little luck, her beautiful daughter, Annawadi’s ‘most-everything girl,’ might become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest children, like the young thief Kalu, feel themselves inching closer to their dreams. But then Abdul is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power, and economic envy turn brutal. With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects people to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, based on years of uncompromising reporting, carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds—and into the hearts of families impossible to forget.”

Description and photo are courtesy of Penguin Random House.

4. Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi with Curt Gentry

Helter Skelter book cover.

I started reading this book in the summer and then abandoned it for another (a future blog post about abandoning books is coming). What I have read of this book so far was horrifying, page turning, and shocking.

“In the summer of 1969, in Los Angeles, a series of brutal, seemingly random murders captured headlines across America. A famous actress (and her unborn child), an heiress to a coffee fortune, a supermarket owner and his wife were among the seven victims. A thin trail of circumstances eventually tied the Tate-LeBianca murders to Charles Manson, a would-be pop singer of small talent living in the desert with his “family” of devoted young women and men. What was his hold over them? And what was the motivation behind such savagery? In the public imagination, over time, the case assumed the proportions of myth. The murders marked the end of the sixties and became an immediate symbol of the dark underside of that era.”

“Vincent Bugliosi was the prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial, and this book is his enthralling account of how he built his case from what a defense attorney dismissed as only ‘two fingerprints and Vince Bugliosi.’ The meticulous detective work with which the story begins, the prosecutor’s view of a complex murder trial, the reconstruction of the philosophy Manson inculcated in his fervent followers…these elements make for a true crime classic. Helter Skelter is not merely a spellbinding murder case and courtroom drama but also, in the words of The New Republic, a ‘social document of rare importance.’”

Description and photo are courtesy of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

5. Knots by Edward Carson

Knots book cover.

“Full of philosophical digressions, questions, and answers, Knots forms a series of cyclical narrations, a kind of verbal asymmetry or mathematician’s knot, continuously mirroring its ideas and subject matter in a play of language and contrasting points of view. “

“‘Flight of the Mind & Measure of the Stars’ sets an itinerary and series of proposed directions for the book, its poems introducing the mind in action, laying down themes of art and memory, reason and belief, intimacy and desire. The final sections are composed of verses that can also be read as parts of two longer, interconnected poems. ‘The Occupied Mind’ enticingly pulls us deeper into philosophical questions and answers about the needs of the mind and the ambiguities of love. The central conceit of ‘Minutes’ offers sixty meditations that are both a measure of time and testimony, as well as a witnessing and confession of what takes place within a changing relationship.”

“Confronting the riddles and dualities of mind and heart, Knots provokes a layered interplay of reason, paradox, code, and cipher from our daily thinking and feeling. Actively engaging with the spoken strategies of thought, the nature of art, and our always unpredictable, evolving experience of love, we quickly discover the mind and heart are rarely what we expect.”

Description and photo are courtesy of McGill-Queen’s University Press.

6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief book cover.

I read this book in one of my high school English classes and love it. It’s been years since I’ve read it and I have been wanting to read it again. Warning, if you have not read this book before and are planning to, expect to cry.

“It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.”

“Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.”

Description and photo are courtesy of Penguin Random House.

7. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein book cover.

Another book I read in high school and loved.

“Few creatures of horror have seized readers’ imaginations and held them for so long as the anguished monster of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The story of Victor Frankenstein’s terrible creation and the havoc it caused has enthralled generations of readers and inspired countless writers of horror and suspense. Considering the novel’s enduring success, it is remarkable that it began merely as a whim of Lord Byron’s.”

“’We will each write a story,’ Byron announced to his next-door neighbors, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin and her lover Percy Bysshe Shelley. The friends were summering on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland in 1816, Shelley still unknown as a poet and Byron writing the third canto of Childe Harold. When continued rains kept them confined indoors, all agreed to Byron’s proposal.”

“The illustrious poets failed to complete their ghost stories, but Mary Shelley rose supremely to the challenge. With Frankenstein, she succeeded admirably in the task she set for herself: to create a story that, in her own words, ‘would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature and awaken thrilling horror — one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart.’”

Description and photo are courtesy of Dover Publications.

8. The Tobacconist by Robert Seethaler

The Tobacconist book cover.

“Seventeen-year-old Franz Huchel journeys to Vienna to apprentice at a tobacco shop. There he meets Sigmund Freud, a regular customer, and over time the two very different men form a singular friendship. When Franz falls desperately in love with the music hall dancer Anezka, he seeks advice from the renowned psychoanalyst, who admits that the female sex is as big a mystery to him as it is to Franz.”

“As political and social conditions in Austria dramatically worsen with the Nazis’ arrival in Vienna, Franz, Freud, and Anezka are swept into the maelstrom of events. Each has a big decision to make: to stay or to flee?”

Description and photo are courtesy of House of Anansi.

9. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita book cover.

Another book I sadly abandoned for another but am itching to dive back into.

“When it was published in 1955, Lolita immediately became a cause célèbre because of the freedom and sophistication with which it handled the unusual erotic predilections of its protagonist. But Vladimir Nabokov’s wise, ironic, elegant masterpiece owes its stature as one of the twentieth century’s novels of record not to the controversy its material aroused but to its author’s use of that material to tell a love story almost shocking in its beauty and tenderness.”

“Awe and exhilaration–along with heartbreak and mordant wit–abound in this account of the aging Humbert Humbert’s obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America, but most of all, it is a meditation on love–love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation. With an introduction by Martin Amis.”

Description and photo are courtesy of Penguin Random House.

10. Christmas at the Vinyl Café by Stuart McLean

Christmas at the Vinyl Cafe book cover.

I was gifted this book last Christmas and have been waiting for the start of holiday season to read it, and now that the holiday season is almost amongst us I finally can.

“Christmas has always been a special time at the Vinyl Cafe. For two decades, Stuart McLean travelled across the country every December with The Vinyl Cafe Christmas tour, bringing the gift of laughter and light during the darkest days of the year. The hilarious world of Dave and Morley was even more real—more vibrant—during the holidays. For many, the Vinyl Cafe Christmas stories became beloved family traditions. Now, for the first time, they have been brought together in this special collection—including the classic ‘Dave Cooks the Turkey,’ as well as five new, never before published Christmas stories. From mishaps with the Turlingtons and the tale of a young Dave’s first holiday disaster to the surprising “Christmas Ferret” and the touching sign off in ‘The Christmas Card,’ these wonderful new stories will delight for years to come.”

“Brimming with charm and humour (often at Dave’s expense), these twelve stories entertain on every page, reminding us what the holidays are all about.”

Description and photo are courtesy of Chapters Indigo.

What’s on your list?


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