Fall Reading
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Book Club | 2017 List

Designers want me to dress like Spring, in billowing things. I don’t feel like Spring. I feel like a warm red Autumn.

Marilyn Monroe

Fall. Ahh, I just sigh. The whole season is just cozy.

Even though I still have a million things to do it’s the season of anticipation. Around the South, we’re just waiting for a chill. And, wonder of wonders, that has already happened, so perhaps I’m a bit more ready for the autumn take over. (lalalalalalala, I can’t hear you telling me it’s going to get warm again!)

Maybe, I just like a good excuse to curl up with a book in big comfy socks and a nice cuppa.

Post-Harvey many of our libraries were damaged and the piles of books outside of them is truly heart-wrenching so if you are still looking for a way to help Houston rebuild and you’re cleaning off your shelves consider donating your books to a public or school library in your area that may have sustained damage to their collection. Otherwise, Friends of the Houston Public Library and Harris County Friends of the Library are great places to start (if you have two boxes you can take them to any HPL location otherwise contact them to get open warehouse hours and you can drop them off).

Here in Houston, hopefully, your life has started to get back on track or at least some sort of routine and you can indulge too. Check out our fall picks below!


The Non-Fiction:

A List of Things That Didn?t Kill Me,?by Jason Schmidt

Jason Schmidt wasn’t surprised when he came home one day during his junior year of high school and found his father, Mark, crawling around in a giant pool of blood. Things like that had been happening a lot since Mark had been diagnosed with HIV, three years earlier.

Jason’s life with Mark was full of secrets–about drugs, crime, and sex. If the straights–people with normal lives–ever found out any of those secrets, the police would come. Jason’s home would be torn apart. So the rule, since Jason had been in preschool, was never to tell the straights anything. A List of Things That Didn’t Kill Me is a funny, disturbing memoir full of brutal insights and unexpected wit that explores the question: How do you find your moral center in a world that doesn’t seem to have one?

Read our Review of A List of Things That Didn’t Kill Me, by Jason Schmidt

The New:

Jane Steele, by Lyndsay Fay

Reader, I murdered him.

A sensitive orphan, Jane Steele suffers first at the hands of her spiteful aunt and predatory cousin, then at a grim school where she fights for her very life until escaping to London, leaving the corpses of her tormentors behind her. After years of hiding from the law while penning macabre last confessions of the recently hanged, Jane thrills at discovering an advertisement. Her aunt has died and her childhood home has a new master: Mr. Charles Thornfield, who seeks a governess.

Burning to know whether she is, in fact, the rightful heir, Jane takes the position incognito and learns that Highgate House is full of marvelously strange new residents the fascinating but caustic Mr. Thornfield, an army doctor returned from the Sikh Wars, and the gracious Sikh butler Mr. Sardar Singh, whose history with Mr. Thornfield appears far deeper and darker than they pretend. As Jane catches ominous glimpses of the pair’s violent history and falls in love with the gruffly tragic Mr. Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: Can she possess him body, soul, and secrets without revealing her own murderous past?

Read our Review of Jane Steele, by Lyndsay Fay

The Read-It-Before-the-Movie-Comes-Out:

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One takes place in the not-so-distant future–the world has turned into a very bleak place, but luckily there is OASIS, a virtual reality world that is a vast online utopia. People can plug into OASIS to play, go to school, earn money, and even meet other people (or at least they can meet their avatars), and for protagonist Wade Watts it certainly beats passing the time in his grim, poverty-stricken real life.

Read our Review of?Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline


The Good and the Beautiful:

Fates and Furies,by Lauren Groff

From the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of The Monsters of Templeton and Arcadia, an exhilarating novel about marriage, creativity, art, and perception. Fates and Furiesis a literary masterpiece that defies expectation. A dazzling examination of a marriage, it is also a portrait of creative partnership written by one of the best writers of her generation. Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years. At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed. With stunning revelations and multiple threads, and in prose that is vibrantly alive and original, Groff delivers a deeply satisfying novel about love, art, creativity, and power that is unlike anything that has come before it. Profound, surprising, propulsive, and emotionally riveting, it stirs both the mind and the heart.

Read our Review of Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

The Current Vibe:

You Can’t Touch My Hair – and Other Things I Still Have To Explain, by Phoebe Robinson

Being a black woman in America means contending with old prejudices and fresh absurdities every day. Comedian Phoebe Robinson has experienced her fair share over the years: she’s been unceremoniously relegated to the role of “the black friend,” as if she is somehow the authority on all things racial; she’s been questioned about her love of U2 and Billy Joel (“isn’t that . . . white people music?”); she’s been called “uppity” for having an opinion in the workplace; she’s been followed around stores by security guards; and yes, people do ask her whether they can touch her hair all. the. time. Now, she’s ready to take these topics to the page and she’s going to make you laugh as she’s doing it.

Using her trademark wit alongside pop-culture references galore, Robinson explores everything from why Lisa Bonet is “Queen. Bae. Jesus,” to breaking down the terrible nature of casting calls, to giving her less-than-traditional advice to the future female president, and demanding that the NFL clean up its act, all told in the same conversational voice that launched her podcast, 2 Dope Queens, to the top spot on iTunes. As personal as it is political, You Can’t Touch My Hair examines our cultural climate and skewers our biases with humor and heart, announcing Robinson as a writer on the rise.

Read our Review of You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain, by Phoebe Robinson

The Series:

The Parasol Protectorate, by Gail Carriger:

Five books chronicling the exploits of Alexia Tarabotti, a lady of considerable assets including a large Scottish werewolf, a battle-parasol, and treacle tart tenancies. Oh yes, and she has no soul.

A fun steampunk romp, that checks all the boxes – mystery, romance, Victorian bustles, and a heroine who is more concerned about her next meal than her proper place.

Book 1: Soulless; Book 2: Changeless; Book 3: Blameless; Book 4: Heartless; Book 5: Timeless


For the Kids:

The Important Book, by Margaret Wise Brown

What is the most important thing about a spoon? The fact that you can eat with it? What about an apple? Or a shoe? This book helps curious preschoolers notice important details about their everyday surroundings, like daisies are white, rain is wet, and a spoon is used for eating.

For the important thing about The Important Book is that the book resonates long after it’s closed. What’s most important about many familiar things like rain and wind, apples and daisies is suggested in rhythmic words and vivid pictures.

Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey

Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk! Sal and her mother a picking blueberries to can for the winter. But when Sal wanders to the other side of Blueberry Hill, she discovers a mama bear preparing for her own long winter. Meanwhile Sal’s mother is being followed by a small bear with a big appetite for berries! Will each mother go home with the right little one?

With its expressive line drawings and charming story, Blueberries for Sal has won readers’ hearts since its first publication in 1948.

Follow the Dream, by Peter Sis

Illus. in full color. The 15th century comes alive in this splendidly original picture book about Christopher Columbus. “The illustrations, executed in a variety of media, show scenes from the explorer’s life as well as some imaginary creatures that populated the Europeans’ picture of the outside world at that time. The details on each page invite individual readers to pay close attention, but the brief, clear text and framed illustrations lend themselves equally well to group sharing. Make room on your crowded Columbus shelf for this one.”

The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, by Beatrix Potter

The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin is an original classic by Beatrix Potter. Beatrix Potter’s famous tale of a naughty squirrel who loses his tail is as popular today as it was when it was first published over 100 years ago. Join Nutkin, his brother Twinkleberry and all his cousins as they make their way over to Owl Island to gather nuts. See what happens when Old Brown, the terrifying owl guardian of the island decides he has had enough of silly Nutkin’s cheekiness! Ouch!!

The Thanksgiving Story, by Alice Dalgliesh

In this festive Caldecott Honor?winning picture book, Alice Dalgiesh brings to life the origin of the Thanksgiving holiday for readers of all ages.

Giles, Constance and Damaris Hopkins are all passengers aboard the crowded Mayflower, journeying to the New World to start a new life. Things get a little more cramped when their baby brother Oceanus is born during the passage. However, when they arrive, there are even worse challenges to face as the Pilgrims are subjected to hunger, cold, and sickness that put their small colony in great danger. With the help of the Native Americans though, they might just be able to survive their first year in this strange land?and have a November harvest to celebrate for generations!

Little House on the Prairie Series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

This nine-book paperback box set of the classic series features the classic black-and-white artwork from Garth Williams.

The nine books in the timeless Little House series tell the story of Laura’s real childhood as an American pioneer, and are cherished by readers of all generations. They offer a unique glimpse into life on the American frontier, and tell the heartwarming, unforgettable story of a loving family.

Little House in the Big Woods; Farmer Boy; Little House on the Prairie; On the Banks of Plum Creek; By the Shores of Silver Lake; The Long Winter; Little Town on the Prairie; These Happy Golden Years; The First Four Years

Happy reading!!!!




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