“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” –Jane Austen
Fall reading is in full swing and I’m embracing chilly nights reading by the fire.
Here are a few of the books topping my list this month:
Marilla of Green Gables
by Sarah McCoy
Calling all kindred spirits! This new prequel by Sarah McCoy brings the world and characters of L.M. Montgomery back to life. If you’ve ever wondered about Marilla’s story before Anne arrives (and that time she called John Blythe her old beau) you’ll love Marilla of Green Gables. Sarah McCoy comes at this novel with a true love and deep knowledge of Montgomery’s characters and the Prince Edward Island setting.
**You won’t want to miss my interview with Sarah McCoy on next week’s episode of the podcast! She is a true kindred spirit and we had a delightful conversation about all things Green Gables. **
Book Reporter calls Marilla of Green Gables a “winning prequel” and Bustle writes, “If you happened to be a book lover during the last century, or so, you know Anne of Green Gables. You’ve walked the great White Way of Delight with her, rowed across the Lake of Shining Waters, traipsed the Haunted Wood, considered the name ‘Cordelia’ for yourself. You’ve fallen in love with Matthew Cuthbert, found Mrs. Rachel Lynde a challenging personality, and developed a particular disdain for the Pye girls. And, if you’re anything like author Sarah McCoy, you’ve wondered about the mysteries of Marilla Cuthbert’s life as well — mysteries that McCoy’s brand new novel, Marilla Of Green Gables, seeks to answer.”
From the publisher: “A bold, heartfelt tale of life at Green Gables . . . before Anne: A marvelously entertaining and moving historical novel, set in rural Prince Edward Island in the nineteenth century, that imagines the young life of spinster Marilla Cuthbert, and the choices that will open her life to the possibility of heartbreak—and unimaginable greatness.”
by Doug Burgess
Looking for a great mystery to curl up with this month? Fogland Point is my favorite kind–quirky small town, richly drawn characters, and a plot that keeps me guessing. I think fans of Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series would enjoy this book as well. For me, it was a nice bonus that Fogland Point is set in Little Compton, Rhode Island–next door to my hometown.
Publisher’s Weekly gave Fogland Point a starred review, noting ““Elegant prose, a veritable chinese box of puzzles, and authentic, well-rounded characters make this a standout.” And author Francine Mathews says,“If only we all had friends like the Laughing Sarahs: fiercely loyal, mordantly funny and murderously clever. Doug Burgess’ Fogland Point brings a wildly original amateur detective to the table of the most secretive small town in New England. I can’t wait to go back.”
From the publisher: “David Hazard wanted nothing more than to forget his renegade family and the foggy New England village “on the wrong side” of Narragansett Bay where he grew up. When sudden tragedy brings him back to Little Compton to care for his grandmother during her struggle with dementia, he discovers her fragile memories may hold the key to a bizarre mystery half a century old – and perhaps to the sudden and brutal murder right next door.”
**I’ll be featuring an interview with Doug Burgess on the podcast in December. Be sure to subscribe in iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts so you never miss an episode.**
Winter in Paradise
by Elin Hilderbrand
Elin Hilderbrand delivers again with another vacation read to tuck into your suitcase, this time set on St. John. I brought Winter in Paradise on a recent trip to San Fransisco and it was perfect entertainment for a long flight.
Booklist writes, “As she does in her books set on Nantucket, Hilderbrand excels at establishing a setting (the food! the luxury! the sea turtles!) that will inspire wanderlust. This first book in a planned trilogy ends with unanswered questions, but, with engaging characters on a picturesque island, this is the perfect escape.”
From the publisher: “Irene Steele shares her idyllic life in a beautiful Iowa City Victorian house with a husband who loves her to sky-writing, sentimental extremes. But as she rings in the new year one cold and snowy night, everything she thought she knew falls to pieces with a shocking phone call: her beloved husband, away on business, has been killed in a plane crash. Before Irene can even process the news, she must first confront the perplexing details of her husband’s death on the distant Caribbean island of St. John.”
The Benefits of Being an Octopus
by Ann Braden
This middle grade novel from Ann Braden is a must-read for parents, librarians, educators and the young people in their lives. The Benefits of Being An Octopus ranks right up there with Wonder in terms of a story that will touch your heart and change your perspective after walking in a character’s shoes. Highly recommended. In a starred review, School Library Journal says, “This heartbreaking, beautifully written book about finding one’s voice will offer some readers a relatable reflection and others a window that can help build empathy and understanding. Braden’s story raises many thought-provoking and timely questions about the difficulty of escaping poverty and the prevalence of gun violence.”
From the publisher: “Seventh-grader Zoey has her hands full as she takes care of her much younger siblings after school every day while her mom works her shift at the pizza parlor. Not that her mom seems to appreciate it. At least there’s Lenny, her mom’s boyfriend—they all get to live in his nice, clean trailer. At school, Zoey tries to stay under the radar. Her only friend Fuchsia has her own issues, and since they’re in an entirely different world than the rich kids, it’s best if no one notices them. Zoey thinks how much easier everything would be if she were an octopus: eight arms to do eight things at once. Incredible camouflage ability and steady, unblinking vision. Powerful protective defenses. Unfortunately, she’s not totally invisible, and one of her teachers forces her to join the debate club. Even though Zoey resists participating, debate ultimately leads her to see things in a new way: her mom’s relationship with Lenny, Fuchsia’s situation, and her own place in this town of people who think they’re better than her. Can Zoey find the courage to speak up, even if it means risking the most stable home she’s ever had?”
**Ann Braden will be joining me for an upcoming episode of the podcast to discuss this incredible book for young readers!**
Kick It, Mo!
by David A. Adler, illustrated by Sam Ricks
Mo is back in this popular early reader series. Young readers will enjoy the play by play as Mo tests out his soccer skills. Kirkus notes, “Simple in its storytelling, strong in its diversity, this is an entertaining as well as enlightening read.”
“The soccer season is starting, and Mo has been working hard on his kicking skills so he can help his team, the Billy Goats, score a goal. But when he gets on the field on game day, it seems like all he gets to do is run back and forth. Will Mo ever get the chance to show his team what he can do?”
Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse
by Mercy Campbell and Corinna Luyken
I discovered this picture book at Books Inc. in San Fransisco and completely fell in love with it. The illustrations are stunning and the message will certainly resonate with young readers and spark conversations about empathy and kindness in classroom or bedtime read alouds. Teachers: pair this one with your class read aloud of The Benefits of Being An Octopus.
From the publisher: “Adrian Simcox tells anyone who will listen that he has a horse–the best and most beautiful horse anywhere. But Chloe does NOT believe him. Adrian Simcox lives in a tiny house. Where would he keep a horse? He has holes in his shoes. How would he pay for a horse? The more Adrian talks about his horse, the angrier Chloe gets. But when she calls him out at school and even complains about him to her mom, Chloe doesn’t get the vindication she craves. She gets something far more important. Written with tenderness and poignancy and gorgeously illustrated, this book will show readers that kindness is always rewarding, understanding is sweeter than judgment, and friendship is the best gift one can give.”
What have you been reading? Share your recommendations! And if you’ve picked up a book after reading the blog or listening to the podcast, I’d love to hear. Leave a note in the comments or tag me on Twitter or Instagram @ABookishHome.
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Laura Szaro Kopinski
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