Another seasonal-themed tag! This time, unknown-to-me food items weren’t involved.
The air is crisp and clear
name a book with a vivid setting!
Whenever I think of books with the right atmosphere for fall, Anna-Marie McLemore is the first author who comes to mind, and her novel Wild Beauty was for me the one with the most vivid setting. The beautiful world of La Pradera and its undercurrent of pain and grief was so vivid and enchanting and… scary, at times. I still remember the morning glories and the starflowers and the beautiful Lactarius indigo. Everything was magical and I felt as if I was experiencing it along with the characters, which is the reason this is my second-favorite of McLemore’s.
Nature is beautiful… but also dying
name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief.
I don’t talk about The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan that often, considering that it’s a favorite book, but it’s the perfect answer to this question. It’s a beautifully written novel about a biracial Taiwanese teen coming to terms with losing her mother to suicide while visiting her grandparents in Taiwan. It hurts to read in all the right ways, it’s one of the best portrayals of a mentally ill parent in an age range that tends to turn them into villains, and the way it talks about grief and memories and art… this is almost 500 pages but it didn’t feel like that, at all.
Fall is back to school season
share a non-fiction book that taught you something new
I don’t talk about the nonfiction I read on here, because I doubt anyone who follows my “SFF + some contemporary” blog is that interested in knowing what I thought of the Field Identification Guide to the Skates of the Mediterranean Sea or something like that, but since it’s a question: in September I read Abissi by Claire Nouvian (I think the English title is The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss) and… well, there is so much that is weird, creepy and breathtakingly beautiful about this part of our world we barely know. (The inflating glass squid was definitely my favorite kind of weird.)
If it’s an option for you – I have no idea whether this would be easy to find in English – I really recommend it. It’s worth it just for the pictures.
It’s good to spend some time with the people we love
name a fictional family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be a part of.
At first I couldn’t think of any, because I’m noticing that most of the books I like don’t have anything like a found family trope (the only exceptions I can think of being Six of Crows, Want and The Lost Coast) and I’ve never really wanted to infiltrate someone else’s fictional household. However, while I’m not sure I’d like to be a witch in the redwoods (I’m dendrophobic. I’m better than I was a few years ago but that’s still horror material), it would be nice to meet the Grays from The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta, the six queer witches this story follows.
The colourful leaves are piling up on the ground
show us a pile of fall-colored spines!
There you go! Now you can add this picture to “the many reasons Acqua is not a bookstagrammer”. And yes, I still need to read King of Scars. (I’ve read all the others, usually before buying the physical copy, and they’re all five stars but Moonshine, which I bought just because the ebook wasn’t available to me and why not, when I really want to read a book that has a pretty cover? It was fun but not mind-blowing.)
Storytelling by the fireside
share a book wherein somebody is telling a story.
I’ve been surprised to discover that I actually don’t like this kind of books, usually, but there are exceptions, when the book focuses clearly on either the story told or the storyteller’s timeline. My favorite example of “person telling a story” is probably The Ascent to Godhood by JY Yang, in which courtesan-turned-revolutionary Lady Han recounts her complicated romantic relationship with Hekate, who is the Protector (basically an empress) and the series’ villainess. And she does it while drunk. Yes, it works, I didn’t think it would but it did.
The nights are getting darker
share a dark, creepy read
Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant. After reading Abissi by Claire Nouvian, I can’t help but think that this book could have done even more with the deep-sea setting, but I can’t even complain, because Heather’s descent with the Minnow is still the creepiest scene I’ve ever read. There’s so much to love in this book, really – from the large cast of characters, all developed and interesting, to the fact that the main romance is f/f and gorgeous, to the fact that it follows a queer marine biologist and that will always mean everything to me. Also, scary.
The days are getting colder
name a short, heartwarming read that could warm up somebody’s cold, rainy day
I was thinking that “short and heartwarming” is usually a code for forgettable, and then I remembered that The Fox’s Tower and Other Tales by Yoon Ha Lee exists and that I’m definitely wrong. If you want something that doesn’t require you to think too much about worldbuilding and magic but you still want beautiful writing and gorgeously weird (and cute!) sci-fantasy imagery, this is perfect. Bite-sized flash fiction that will make you contemplate foxish mathematic, that will introduce you to gay crane wives and dormouse paladins, that will tell you about the lives of carousel horses. It’s everything to me.
Fall returns every year
name an old favourite that you’d like to return to soon
I’d love to reread Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter. I loved it in 2016 because – according to my review on my now-private Italian blog – it made no sense but spoke to me on a level I didn’t fully understand but felt deeply. This usually means that it does make sense – see what happened last year with my reread of The Gallery of Unfinished Girls, which was a story about perfectionism and a difficult relationship with fantasy all along – and that I just didn’t know how to explain it. Also, seeing how much Sarah Porter’s Never-Contented Things also made sense to me, I really need to get to this.
Fall is the perfect time for cozy reading nights
share your favorite cozy reading “accessories”!
I don’t really have any? I can read pretty much everywhere and the point of reading is that my surroundings become irrelevant (or half-irrelevant; at the bus stop, I’m still kind of paying attention while reading on my phone). So I don’t have an answer.
As usual for tags for which I wasn’t tagged, I won’t tag anyone, but feel free to act as if I tagged you if the questions sound interesting to you!