As I'm writing this the temperature outside is hot, like baking hot. And I don't like it. This constant humidity is making me cranky and I can't sleep at night. So I'm tired, clammy and longing for the rain to come down and the temperature to drop (I currently resemble this and it is not a good look for me). Heck, I want to huddle under a blanket and read by candlelight. I want the leaves on the trees to change to auburn and golden shades. Summer I am so over you, I need Autumn, now.
I've spent the last few months seriously decluttering my home but books are the one thing that I struggle to part with. I was a bookseller for many years in my twenties and you can't be a bookseller and not have a huge collection of books - it's the law. I'm pretty good now at only buying ones that I want to keep and re-read or that will be useful like cookery or gardening. If I'm really keen to read something I check the online library catalogue first to see if they have a copy. I'm not buying as many books as I used to but when I do it is important to me to support independent and local bookshops as much as I possibly can. I thought it would be nice to share some of my favourite recent reads every season, either books I've bought myself or borrowed from my local library. I've listed them below and hopefully you'll find something you fancy getting yourself a copy for reading under the blanket on those colder, darker, autumn evenings. Bring them on.
- Simple Matters - Living with Less and Ending Up with More by Erin Boyle. Essentially this is a book all about decluttering, simplifying and organizing your home. It's full of practical advice on how to live in a small space and choosing to be a conscious consumer. With lots of tips and personal insights, I'm finding it really helpful with my decluttering mission and the chapters on decor and organizing particularly useful. It's inspiring to see how others live in small spaces and Erin's apartment is gorgeous too.
- Savor - Rustic recipes inspired by forest, field and farm - Ilona Oppenheim. Beautiful photography, words and recipes from a Swiss girl who lives in the mountains of the US. Fully embracing slow and seasonal eating, Ilona cooks for her young family encouraging them to learn where food comes from and how to use it wisely. My husband bought this for me for my birthday as I'd been admiring it and I have a big list of things I want to cook from it - plum cobbler is up first this weekend.
- Station Eleven - Emily St.John Mandel - I heard this being recommended on the Slow Your Home podcast (which I'm addicted to). I managed to find this in my local library and absolutely love it. It's the story of a flu pandemic that wipes out most of the population, only a few survivors remain. There is no power, no transportation, no infrastructure - everything is gone. It's beautifully written from the point of the survivors as well as flashbacks to those who didn't make it. I'm almost finished this and I'll be a little heartbroken when I do. A riveting read.
- The Outrun - Amy Liptrot - A memoir covering addiction and recovery and the power of nature to heal. It's the tale of a young woman who after a decade in London returns to her childhood home of Orkney a little broken. Chronicling her addiction to alchohol, the effects on herself and other people, it's also a fascinating history of the islands and the wildlife that inhabits them. From tales of wild swimming alongside seals, observing the rare birds to searching for the northern lights, this is a beautiful account of how the wild can restore life and renew hope. It made me long to visit Orkney.
- An Astronomer's Tale - A Life Under the Stars - Gary Fildes - the autobiographical story of a former bricklayer who worked for years on a building site until he finally followed his lifelong passion for astronomy. Gary is the founder and lead astronomer at Kielder Observatory, one of the top ten stargazing sites in the world which he also helped to build. I haven't started this yet, but I'm so looking forward to reading it and then gazing out at the night sky.