It’s getting pretty around here:
I like to say that October is Nebraska’s apology for the rest of the year. Our summers are hot and humid, while our winters are cold and icy. Spring is utterly unpredictable and likes to throw tornadoes and hailstorms at us when the temperature isn’t jumping from summer-like to winter-like in the span of a day or so. But October?
October is when the nights are crisp and not-quite-cold, and the days are clear and cool enough for scarves and sweaters. It’s the short window where we don’t mind going outside, between the heat and the cold when the mornings are long and misty and twilight lingers on far longer than you think it should. At night, there is the scent of wood smoke in the air as hearths are readied for winter, and by the time Halloween rolls around the first frost has swirled across the windows. Sometimes there’s snow. October is the last gasp of color before gray November comes along and turns everything bleak and brown during the long stretch of Winter, until the first crocuses peak through the snow in April.
“October Country . . . that country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and mid-nights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain. . . .”
-Ray Bradbury, The October Country
Except for a week of heat and the fact that I was no longer in Iceland, I had very little to complain about in September. It was an easy month where the few troubles I had at work rolled right off my back when I went home. I spent time with friends I rarely see, read books new and old, and felt like a teenager again while waiting for the new Star Trek to premiere.
I only read eight books in September. Nine, if I finish Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky today, which I don’t think I will. They were, on the whole, thoroughly enjoyable (though I’m not in the habit of finishing books I don’t find interesting just to say that I’ve read them. Life is too short, and there are too many books for that).
- The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe by Ann Morgan
- Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland by Sarah Moss
- Enigma Tales by Una McCormack
- The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
- Some Danger Involved by Will Thomas, narrated by Antony Ferguson
- Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
- The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
- Desperate Hours by David Mack
I have five books ready for October’s reading list:
- The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett
- Old Scores (Barker and Llewellyn #9) by Will Thomas
- The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
- The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime by Judith Flanders
- A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
It seems like everyone in the blogoverse is planning to read all sorts of horror novels and other spooky tales, but I’ve never really been interested in ghost stories or horror. That The Invention of Murder is on the current list is happenstance, as I had it on hold at the library and it came in for me this week. Old Scores is the latest in my favorite mystery series (it’s due out on October 3rd); I bought The Magician’s Assistant over the summer in part because I enjoyed Patchett’s Bel Canto and partly because some of the story takes place in Nebraska. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet shows up because, well, Autumn, and because I’ve never read anything by Mitchell. Lastly, A Year in Provence is here because I’m a sucker for ‘I up and moved to (country name here)’ memoirs. There are some other books for my ‘authors from around the world project’ that I want to read this Fall, too, though I can’t remember their titles at the moment.
Suffice it to say that October is going to be a busy book month.