Autumn is my favorite time of year to read. Well, autumn and summer. And also January. Ok, maybe every time of year is my favorite time to read, but you know there is something extra alluring about sitting down with a chai and a great book on these smoky, dusky days. Here are three books I'll always wish I could read for the first time. Again.
The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson
When I can't find a good book, it feels like I can't breathe. I'd been trying a variety of things--classics, popular fantasy, new releases--and nothing would take. Then along came The Family Fang and saved my life.
The third page (or so) had me laughing harder than the latest Chelsea Handler book--and I love Chelsea Handler. The Family Fang is so approachable, so witty and deeply entertaining. It is the story of Annie and Buster Fang, known in the art world as Child A and Child B. Their parents are performance artists who have been incorporating Annie and Buster into their oddball public stunts since they were babies. The book plays with some serious themes--as adults, Annie and Buster have trouble determining which events in their lives are real and which are for entertainment. But mostly it's just a great time when Child A and Child B each suffer a career mishap and land themselves back at home with their famous, crazy parents. I loved every page of this book. I read it slowly. Part of me wanted to stay with the family Fang forever, I was so wrapped up in their lives and having such a fantastic, hilarious, thought-provoking time there. This is one of the best books I've read in a long time.
The Rules of Civility, Amor Towles
It's kind of like if you took really good writing, the good kind of good writing, not the stuffy kind. Then you add all the romantic Manhattan sets from Gossip Girl, only if Gossip Girl was set in in the 1930's so it's even better. Ice cold dirty Martini's, extra olives, instead of fluorescent pink Cosmopolitans and your grandmother's pearls replacing Juicy Couture. Stockings drying on the radiator instead of hair dye and spray tans. Ok? And then you took a little bit of Great Gatsby--not the parts you're supposed to value as the Great American Novel, but the parts you might have actually liked if you weren't constantly having it's greatness shoved down your throat--the ambiance, the intrigue, the ingenue. Dress it up in the sleek, stylish working-girl story lines of Mad Men. Add a sharp-tongued heroine and fantastic rat-a-tat banter of a black and white starring Bette Davis--and you've got yourself a novel to fall into and fall in love with. I loved every minute I spent in this book, bashing around New York, New York with working-class Katey Kontent and her high society friends and lovers. If I developed a freak memory loss, where every day I woke up not remembering anything from the day before, it would all be ok as long as someone would hand me this book every morning, and I could read it anew. Maybe that's a weird thing to say but love makes you crazy.
Now you know, October is coming. Every October I get pretensions about myself and think I'm going to read Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker.
I never have.
But that's ok, because there is an author whom I'd much rather spend October with. Her books are deliciously spooky, overwhelmingly absorbing. They crawl under my skin and don't leave me for months. They haunt me. I was lucky enough to get to write a review of her latest one over here on Blogher.
My title over there is better this time, and you know why? Because they changed it.
Feel like buying a book? Maybe you will want to head over to your local Barnes and Noble or independent bookstore. Did you know that even used book stores often stock new releases? I mention it because I'm hoping to avoid more of this:
I loved you, Borders Longmont.
Happy reading, friends and lovers.