Allie, Lindsay, Kelly, Hope, Candace, Rachel and Lindsey
Summer is winding down, cooler weather is on the way, and pumpkins are popping up left and right. In other words: it’s almost fall, y’all. While we’re hyped about all the fun activities that come with fall, something about the September weather makes most of us here at Literally, Darling want to cozy up with a warm cup of coffee or tea and get lost in a good book from our “to-read” lists.
These are some of the (many) titles, new and old, that we can’t wait to dive into.
1. “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman
A co-worker passed this title on to me when I was complaining about some neighborhood drama my fiance and I were inadvertently dragged into by neighbors (yes, apparently there can be drama in a town home neighborhood. Who knew?). I’ve only had time to read a chapter or two so far, but I can’t wait to devour the rest of this, asap. “A Man Called Ove” follows Ove, one of the most crotchety old men I’ve ever encountered in a book, and I absolutely love it. His character is brilliantly written and actually quite charming as a result. Beneath his grumpy exterior, there’s a deeper story and some sadness that has already tugged at my heartstrings. This book will make you laugh, and (if you’re anything like me, at least), will most certainly make you cry. It’s a perfect book to get lost in and feel a lot of feelings in the process. -Allie
2. “The Big F” by Maggie Ann Martin
The Big F is the debut novel by my fabulous friend Maggie, and all bias aside, it’s a fun, quick read. It’s a new adult fiction (that’s perfect for older young adult fiction lovers like me) about friendship, failure, and figuring out your future when things don’t quite going to plan. Danielle had her plans for the future figured out, until she failed her senior English class and lost her college acceptance. To try and get her life back on track, she enrolls in her hometown community college with a plan: pass English and get back to her dream college. Of course, there’s a little romance involved too–but it’s not totally as expected. She’s is a smart, funny, and totally relatable main character, and I was hooked on her story from the beginning. -Allie
3. “Once and For All” by Sarah Dessen
I loved Sarah Dessen when I was 13, and apparently at 25 I still get excited when I see a new Sarah Dessen book on the shelf at a bookstore. She’s one of the few authors whose books I will never get tired of, no matter how predictable the endings may be. Sometimes you just need a cute love story, and she always brings the cute. I’m a little late to this party because it was published in June and I had no idea it even existed until about a week ago, but I’m so stoked to dive in. “Once and For All” follows Louna, a cynic who doesn’t believe in happily-ever-after, as she helps brides plan their wedding days, and the boy who’s not discouraged from trying to gain her affection anyway. My own cynical heart is ready for the feels. -Lindsay
4. “It” by Stephen King
Terrifying clowns, red balloons and sewers galore, It has been a cult classic for decades, but I have never taken the time to actually read it — or even watch the 1990 movie, which inspired a generational hate for clowns. In light of the new movie coming out and the hundreds of articles comparing the book to the old movie, the book to the new movie, the old movie to the new movie, etc. I thought I’d take the time to sit down and read the Stephen King book of horrors. I’m only a few chapters in (the book is surprisingly long — 1,000+ pages!) and am already reminding myself that I am a full-grown adult and this is just a fictional book. The story follows the clown Pennywise, his reign of terror on a small town, and young children die left and right. Prepare for the nightmares. -Kelly
5. “Deathless” by Catherynne M. Valenta
I’ve been kind of chasing a high lately. Several months ago I read “Uprooted” by Naomi Novik, and it floored me. I haven’t loved a fantasy book that much in a long time. The last book that captured me like that was “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrel” by Susana Clarke. I’ve been tearing through fantasy books at alarming speeds, chasing the magic (pun intended) of those reads, and I think I’ve finally found it in Valenta’s book “Deathless.” It focuses on Koschei the Deathless, a well known figure in Russian folklore, and is set against the backdrop of twentieth century Russia. This book promises magic, love, Stalinist house elves (?), plant golems, and betrayal! I, for one, cannot wait to dive right in. – Hope
6. “The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World” by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu
In April of 2015, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu spent a week together in Dharamsala, India. As old friends, the two came together to address one central question: How does one cultivate joy in life, especially when suffering is so inescapable? In the midst of today’s current climate— political, environmental, and otherwise— I have turned to this book for guidance, time and time again. I am currently on my second read-through, and I have to say, their words continue to calm my anxieties and give me hope for our collective future. I find this book especially helpful because, unlike so many new-age self-help gurus, His Holiness and Archbishop Tuto do not prescribe a magical ingredient or secret sauce that will make your life suddenly perfect. You needn’t purchase pre-packaged seminars or undergo hypnosis or walk on coals. Instead, these two spiritual leaders advocate for what we have always known to be true: compassion towards others can lead to a Joy that is not felt in spite of our suffering, but because of it. – Candace
7. “The Answers” by Catherine Lacey
I picked this book up randomly on a leisurely stroll through the public library, and I immediately fell in love with the premise. Mary Parsons is a broke 20-something with a dead-end job and debt collectors calling her every night. It doesn’t help that she’s recently begun to develop symptoms of a chronic illness that no doctor can explain. The only treatments that help are incredibly expensive, and her search for a second job lead her down an unconventional path. The wealthy but slightly eccentric actor, Kurt Sky, is looking for a girlfriend. But not just any girlfriend, an “Emotional Girlfriend.” He already has a Maternal Girlfriend, a Mundanity Girlfriend, and several other girlfriends for intimacy. It will be Mary’s job to fulfill an emotional connection with Kurt. What might at first seem like a lighthearted romance novel, Lacey turns into a more thorough exploration of the human mind and how we view love. – Rachel
8. “An Enchantment of Ravens” by Margaret Rogerson
I was lucky enough to get an advanced reading copy of this book and after seeing it all over instagram I am so ready to read this. Isobel is an artist whose clients are members of the fair folk. When she receives an order from her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life. This book has the making of a great fantasy backdrop and the initial pages I’ve read lend Rogerson to some beautiful world building and writing. -Lindsey
What’s on your to-read list this month? Share it in the comments below or tweet us @litdarling!