Fall Book Flights

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Ever had a tasting flight of something, probably at a brewery or restaurant? Wine, beer, spirits, maybe even cheese? Basically the concept is you get several different portions of something, and taste them all back to back. By tasting them together, you really get a feel for their differences and are better able to pinpoint nuanced tasting notes in each individual one, while appreciating them together as a whole. 

While the previous examples are based on food, you can do the exact same thing with books! Reading a group of books together can really expand the depth and breadth of a topic for you. This can be as straightforward as reading all of a specific author's works, or choosing a really niche area, like Beat Poets, but it also works well in plenty of other varied combinations. 

This fall (you can see spring and summer) I started thinking (inspired by Anne!) about all the moods the season inspires and how to create book flights to cater to them, and these are what I came up with. The groupings are designed to have books that are fabulous on their own, but combined really give a lush, broad view of a subject. The dynamic interplay between books set around a central theme is the sweet spot!

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Campus + Secrets + Violence

  • The Secret History | Donna Tartt
  • If We Were Villains | M. L. Rio
  • The Lake of Dead Languages | Carol Goodman

Secret societies, friendships, campuses, darkness, violence, and more! Start with The Secret History for Tartt's powerful, classic campus novel filled to the brim with dreamy, brooding atmosphere and dark, twisted friendships. Move to If We Were Villains for more campus vibes and violent secrets between a close knit group of friends, with drama often playing out on the stage. Finish up with The Lake of Dead Languages for a lady- centered take on the same themes. All three will more than satisfy any craving you had for campus settings, complicated friendships, secret societies, and dark atmosphere this fall. 

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The End of an Era

  • The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
  • Brideshead Revisited | Evelyn Waugh
  • The End of the Affair | Graham Greene

Does the turning of the seasons trigger a deep nostalgia, as you watch the world around you slowly decay? Start with Wharton's classic, The Age of Innocence, and be swept back into the Gilded Age of high society in the 1870's, where the struggle between old and new rages, and a love story curls and twists around itself, while dealing deeply with "what-ifs." Move into the 1920's and the decline of the British nobility, where Charles Ryder is enfolded into the complicated family of his best friend. Love triangles, alcoholism, religion, and bone-deep nostalgia color these pages. Finish it off with Greene's slim novel of love and loss in post World War II London. All three deal with complicated love stories, changing worlds, and heart-achingly beautiful prose. 

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Getting HygGe With It

  • Murder on the Orient Express | Agatha Christie
  • The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax | Dorothy Gilman
  • Still Life | Louise Penny

If you need some straightforward, cozy mysteries in your life, first pick from the queen herself: Agatha Christie. Really any of her novels will do, but we are currently partial to Murder on the Orient Express because the movie is coming out next month! You'll get basically a game of Clue in book form, peppered with interesting characters, vivid details and delightfully unexpected endings. You'll find more cozy mystery goodness with Mrs. Polifax, a feisty, charming older woman determined to spend her remaining years doing something uncharacteristically exciting, which leads her to joining the CIA and leading a life of solving mystery and crime. Round out this flight with a contemporary mystery, and spend some time in Three Pines with Chief Inspector Gamache in Still Life. Small town life, a fascinating cast of characters, and layered plot lines make this series both fun and emotionally resonant.

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Ghosts + Creepiness

  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow | Washington Irving
  • The Woman in White | Wilkie Collins
  • The Graveyard Book | Neil Gaiman

If you're in the mood for a good ghost story, set the mood with Irving's classic short story (like, 30-ish pages short) of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow. His beautiful descriptions and perfectly creepy tone will really set the stage. Continue on to The Woman in White, one of the first mystery novels, peppered with mysterious ladies, love stories, foreboding letters, death, mental asylums, and good old victorian melodrama. Finish off with the more lighthearted ghost story in The Graveyard Book. Still undeniably creepy, and very unique, it will leave you with a satisfying blend of the known and the unknown tied up with friendly (and not so friendly) ghosts, complicated relationships with vampires, and old, sinister forces. 

 

Do you have any books you think pair well together? We'd love to hear!!