We think a good book is an essential part of any well-packed carry-on. It's also the best way to travel when you can't actually travel, which is why we were excited to partner with the book delivery service Quarterlane and curate their Fall Passport Collection. In return, we asked Quarterlane founder Elizabeth Lane to share the books on her autumn reading list.
Like so many, I adore summer — the lazy days, dinners outside, countless hours by the water, and sense that time is unlimited. But fall? That's my favorite. F. Scott Fitzgerald described the mood of the season best: "Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall." Through August, I anticipate that first morning that brings a crisp hint of the chill to come, weekend trips to see the leaves change, and those first evenings defined as sweater weather, when we settle down with family, snuggle close, and reach for a good story. Here are a few fall reads that fit the mood of the season, whether your travels take you far from home or to a fireside seat with a cozy blanket.
Little Fires Everywhere
With her debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng quickly became one of my favorite novelists, a fact confirmed with her second book. Ng paints such a deft and personal portrait of a particular community — the relationships formed, the desire to keep life within known boundaries, and the consequences of these structures so closely held — that I felt a deep recognition of both place, character, and situation — not only because I was a teenager in the mid-nineties, a period that Ng depicts with stunning accuracy. By far, one of my favorite books for fall. ($19)
What We Lose: A Novel
Zinzi Clemmons' debut novel reads like an autobiographical meditation and feels so true and close that I had to remind myself often that it was a novel rather than a memoir. I read What We Lose in one sitting and was transported. The prose, both beautiful and hypnotic, offers the perfect bit of travel within the pages of a book. ($16)
The Readymade Thief
Augustus Rose takes readers on a trip into the absurd and thrilling, with a fierce heroine and Duchamp's masterpiece The Large Glass at the center. A fresh and propulsive mystery, The Ready-Made Thief is the perfect vacation book — ideal for both the airplane and the hotel room as a late-night page-turner. Bringing Duchamp and Dadaism to the forefront of a mystery is genius fun. ($15)
Girl in Snow
A thriller, a mystery, and a meditation on the secrets we keep to devastating affect, Danya Kukafka's debut novel strikes that delicate balance between dark and suspenseful and hopeful, displaying a profound and sincere compassion for her main characters. I found myself reading it late into the night and picking it up again in the earliest hours of the morning. ($17)
Stranger in the Woods
This is one of my favorite books of the year. Michael Finkel's biographical account shares the story of Christopher Knight, a man who, at twenty years old, walked into the northern Maine woods and didn’t re-emerge for almost three decades. Knight lived in isolation until he was caught stealing from a nearby camp. What compelled him to walk into the woods in the first place? How did he survive — and survive so well? Finkel presents a well-rounded account: The particulars of Knight's story and survival are profound. ($20)
Havana: A Subtropical Delirium
I have been a forever fan of Mark Kurlansky's writing, first with Salt, then Cod, and later Paper. In Havana, Kurlansky brings the legendary yet relatively unknown city to life in a manner and voice so uniquely his own, taking us along on a narrative journey to the mysterious city that triggers every sense and fills every corner of the imagination. ($18)
Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook
The American food legend Alice Waters' long-awaited memoir hits shelves this fall. It's one of my most anticipated books, as she is someone I've long admired, whose cookbooks are the ones I turn to most often. A poignant and intimate glimpse into the life of a woman who changed the way we've come to think about food, Waters takes us on a beautiful trip of the senses and embodies the importance of holding the things that matter close. ($19)
Books for Living
When I am on a trip, I often take a book of essays or short vignettes along with me, for they are the perfect morsel to read in snatches of time — relaxed, delightful, no stress. And a book that celebrates books: perfection. In Books for Living, Schwalbe cracks open the books we know, some titles so familiar they feel like old friends and contemporary juggernauts, some lesser known if still familiar gems. In all cases, Schwalbe shows different sides and fresh takes, inspiring us to revisit our own bookshelves and reconsider these stories (we think) we know so well. This is one to carry, travel with, and dog-ear for years. Like The Velveteen Rabbit, with each new reading, this book breathes new life.
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