Autumn is that time of year when it starts to get a bit chilly, the air is crisp, the days are starting to get shorter and you want to sit inside with a nice cup of tea. These are some of the books that I have read during the last few months, which transport you to another world, perfect for when the weather’s getting dreary.
The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
This is the perfect book to read in the Autumn, sitting on a terrace or with a blanket in your garden just as the leaves are turning golden and orange hues.
The Secret History is about a group of classics students with a ‘dark secret’ at Hampden College, New England. I had been recommended this book by quite a few people in my family, who say how fantastic it is. And it’s true – Donna Tartt brings a depth to her characters that makes you want to be inside the universe of Hampden College. Her use of storytelling keeps you hooked, unable to put the book down from the second you start reading. The book launches you inside the elusive world of the lives of these eclectic characters along with their unconventional professor. The characters become lost in a spiral of intellectual pursuits to reach an unfathomable decision. Reading The Secret History makes you feel like you have a privileged invitation into this enigmatic group of students’ realm, set against the haunting backdrop of New England.
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist is a beautiful book written in simple language. The central character is a young shepherd, Santiago, from Tarifa in Spain, who goes in search of a treasure in Egypt. The book takes you on Santiago’s journey. Along the way he meets many people who help him in his search for the treasure and also teach him valuable life lessons.
Through its deceptively simple story line, the book reveals many hidden meanings for life in general. One particularly important message is that with every obstacle there is always something to be learned. The book also shows the difficulties a person will encounter when trying to pursue their own dreams. This is one of my favourite quotes from the book: ‘When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too”.
A Year in Provence, by Peter Mayle
This lighthearted and witty book gives an engaging account of a Brit abroad in rural Provence, who has to contend with various eccentric locals throughout the different seasons. Peter Mayle is a former advertising executive who decides to pack up his life and move to Provence to renovate a home in the Lubéron. The imagery of honey coloured houses and unspoilt scenery provides an atmospheric backdrop to Mayle’s amusing anecdotes of the challenges he faces in refurbishing his new home. The first twelve months of Peter and his wife’s new life in Provence paints an idyllic picture. He gives the reader a peek into Provençal habits, with bustling markets, slow builders and of course hauntingly beautiful scenery. Problems range from tussles with French paperwork to the breezy delivery of a marble table to the middle of a field. Mayle writes in such a way as to draw the reader into this enchanting landscape and instil a keen longing to want to start over. His amusing account of closing a great deal on a statue at a local market and the subsequent celebratory lunch made me want to up sticks and move to the South of France myself.
The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
The Midnight Library shows that there is always hope. It really makes you feel positive, and shows how a change in perspective can truly change your life. It’s about a woman called Nora who needs to make a life changing decision. It asks the important question: if you could change your life, would you? And would another life actually be any better? Without giving anything away, it employs the unusual device of a library where Nora chooses different books to have lived experiences and find out where different choices might lead her. For me personally I found this book really interesting. While it considers all the choices in life a person can make, it is actually about your perspective on life and how that can make all the difference.
I hope this inspired you to pick up one of these books and find out for yourself how wonderful they are!
Thanks for reading!