I’ve made no secret of the fact that I absolutely adore reading and books in general. I adore the act of holding a book in my hands, feeling its’ weight balanced between my palms, hearing the satisfying ‘swish and flick’ as I turn the pages and get completely suckered in to a fictional wonderland. It’s the BEST.
As a child, I’d climb up onto the windowsill in my bedroom, close the curtains behind me and read by moonlight until Mum caught me and told me to get back in bed and catch some sleep. And these days, I have to say not much has changed! You’ll likely still find me reading at 2am, only by the light of my Phillips Hue smart lighting instead of a romantic moonlit setting! (I’m on the wrong side of the house now anyway…)
As the cosiest season of them all creeps up on us and leaves crunchy leaves in its’ wake, I wanted to share a list of the tomes that’ll forever bring me autumn joy. I’m a serial re-reader. In the same way that I’ll happily watch Friends and Gilmore Girls hundreds of times, I’ll happily delve back into comforting reads again and again, discovering something new in them each time.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K.Rowling
I first discovered the Harry Potter book series way, way back in 1998 when I happened upon a copy of Chamber of Secrets in my local Tesco. I’d wander off (naughty!) while Mum did the weekly shop, devouring pages at a time in their book aisle where there were three colourful plastic chairs set down for customers. Soon, Mum realised I was a 7-year-old obsessed and bought me my very own copy to read every single night.
I’d tuck it under my pillow and savour every word on the page. Then, when I discovered it was book two in the series, I loaned the first from the library that I’m still a member at, and the rest is a History of Magic and countless hours of midnight queuing. And of course the fact that each book covers a school year brings endless September feels and autumn joy to my life.
Pick up a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone here.
Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar
People are always shocked to discover that Gossip Girl was originally a book series, and one of my favourites at that! The series has more than 12 books, plus spin-off series, all of which happily reside in my expansive bookcase. I read them religiously at school and they felt so scandalous at the time! I personally adore the books even more than the TV series and highly recommend a read. The first book in particular brings me all of the autumn feels as it starts with the traditional school term in September and tells tales of well-dressed Upper East Sider schoolgirls, set in Central Park and beyond. There’s nothing greater (to me) than picking up my love-worn copy of Gossip Girl, making a hot chocolate and cosying up for a few hours to catch up on the escapades of Blair and Nate.
Pick up a copy of Gossip Girl here.
The September Issue of Vogue
With a fashion journalism degree and a dissertation for which I studied 20 years’ of British Vogue issues under my belt, it’s no wonder that the September issue of Vogue is one of my most anticipated reads of the year. For me it marks the turning of a new style year and I absolutely love picking up the chunky tome and laying spread-eagled on my bed devouring all of the editorials and the fresh set of adverts, making tears for my personal records. In the digital age of Pinterest and Instagram as key sources of inspiration, I still find it incredibly useful to keep a ring binder with my favourite magazine features, editorials and adverts to refer back to.
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Murakami is one of my favourite authors. I particularly love Norwegian Wood, but his 1Q84 will forever bring autumnal vibes to me and that’s most likely because I first read it whilst commuting to work on September mornings.
1Q84 is a dystopian novel, set in 1984 and dealing with fictionalised and real parallels of the year that run in tandem with one another. I don’t want to give too much away because I delved into the story with absolutely no prior knowledge of the plot, and found that it completely gripped me because of that reason. There are three books in the series, and each as lengthy but captivating as the next. In fact, having written this out, I’m tempted to embark on another reread! If you’re new to Murakami, I totally recommend you start with this title.
Pick up a copy of 1Q84 here.
Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
Part of the reason that some books bring me autumn joy is that they’re more than a light, summer, by-the-pool read, and that’s exactly why Girl in Translation made it to this list. I recall picking it up as part of a huge Amazon haul years ago and feeling thrilled at the prospect of reading something laced with Hong Kong references, references to an integral part of my growing-up. Girl in Translation tells the story of Kimberly Chang, a Hong Kong Chinese immigrant who’s recently arrived in Brooklyn, New York, and who’s balancing life as a schoolgirl and sweat shop worker. As someone that’s been raised inherently Chinese in a Western setting, Kwok brilliantly captures what it’s like to constantly battle between cultures, to be a first-generation Chinese immigrant (i.e. their parents emigrated) and the human connections created from her words are unlike almost anything I’ve read.
Pick up a copy of Girl in Translation here.
Peony in Love by Lisa See
Autumn calls to mind Halloween and all of the spooky goings-on that come with it. Peony in Love is a historical fiction novel (my favourite genre!) set in 17th century Japan and centres around a girl named Peony who becomes involved with a famed opera – ‘The Peony Pavilion’. Upon her death, she returns as a ghost to haunt her former fiancé, who has now remarried.
The story is beautifully told and is that of a tragic romance. See’s writing is vivid and evocative and absolutely captures ancient Chinese traditions towards marriage and death. I have to say I rarely read anything to do with the afterlife, but this book is one that’s remained with me years after I first came across it in my early teenage years.
Pick up a copy of Peony in Love here.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like the edition I wrote detailing the books that made an impact on me while growing up, as well as a round-up of what I’ve been reading so far in 2018. Plus, find me on Goodreads to discover all that I’m currently reading!