The Cozy Fall Book Tag!

Photo by Stephanie Harvey on Unsplash

It is Autumn! The air is crisp and full of golden leaves, and it is time to snuggle up with a book and a hot drink. To get more into the cozy mood, I thought I would do the Cozy Fall Book Tag that all my favorite Booktubers are doingg, originally created by The Book Belle on Youtube. So, without further ado, let’s get cozy!

1. What book always reminds you of fall/autumn?

Oh man, I have wayyyy too many. I would say any book that has ghosts or haunted houses. But to be more specific, I would pick Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. It is so autumnal not only because it takes place during Halloween, but it has one of my favorite Autumn quotes:

“For some, autumn comes early, stays late through life where October follows September and November touches October and then instead of December and Christ’s birth, there is no Bethlehem Star, no rejoicing, but September comes again and old October and so on down the years, with no winter, spring, or revivifying summer. For these beings, fall is the ever normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond. Where do they come from? The dust. Where do they go? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No: the night wind. What ticks in their head? The worm. What speaks from their mouth? The toad. What sees from their eye? The snake. What hears with their ear? The abyss between the stars. They sift the human storm for souls, eat flesh of reason, fill tombs with sinners. They frenzy forth. In gusts they beetle-scurry, creep, thread, filter, motion, make all moons sullen, and surely cloud all clear-run waters. The spider-web hears them, trembles–breaks. Such are the autumn people. Beware of them.”

2. What is your favourite autumnal book cover?

Definitely the one on the awesome edition of The Haunting of Hill House!

The Haunting of Hill House
Not only is this color full of Halloween colors, but the pages are sprayed black!!

3. What is your favourite autumnal drink to read with?

Either a hot cup of Earl Grey tea with honey, or a hot chocolate!

4. Do you prefer to read late at night or early in the morning?

Actually neither! I like reading in late afternoon or evening because that is when I get done with work for the day, and my mind is ready to settle down, get cozy, and just escape the world a little bit.

5. Halloween is coming! What is your favourite spooky read?

Anything Shirley Jackson! I’m probably going to reread her Dark Tales this year as that is my favorite of her collections. Though I would recommend anything she has written, she is brilliant and spooky, but at the same time kinda cozy!

6. What is the ultimate comfort read for you?

This is a tough one, but I’d probably pick The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman and The Fellowship of the Ring by Tolkien. Both of these books have elements of folklore and fairytale that always make me feel happy and cozy. Also, who wouldn’t feel cozy reading about the Shire and all the food they get to eat?

7. What is your favourite autumnal reading snack?

This changes ALL the time, but right now I am enjoying this amazing beef jerky made by my local meat market. Yes I know it’s not the most autumnal snack, but it is delicious.

8. What is your favourite autumnal candle to burn whilst reading?

Anything vanilla! It’s the coziest scent.

9. When you’re not reading, what is your favourite autumnal activity?

Art! Lately I’ve been painting Autumn trees with my watercolors. I want to capture all of the beautiful colors before it snows!

10. What is on your autumn/fall reading list?

So I actually made a blog post about it here! Got lots of ghost stories of course, but I also have a couple cozy mysteries!

And that’s the tag! I tag all of you to share your cozy autumnal routines and joys.

Happy Autumn! And, if you’d like to support me and my work, consider buying me a coffee!

My Top 10 Favorite Classics

assorted books on wooden bookcase

I was inspired by Lauren Wade’s video on Youtube, where she talks about her own favorite classics. Some of my favorite classics are a bit more modern or a bit more unusual, but I think that’s what makes them classics to me! These are in no particular order, though based on my other posts I think you can tell which one’s are going to be more favorite than others.

Also doing this because I’m in a bit of a reading slump, but hopefully writing and thinking about books will inspire me to read more!

The Haunting of Hill House
  • The Haunting of Hill House
    This is the hauntingly atmospheric novel by Shirley Jackson about a group of people who stay at Hill House, a supposedly haunted house. Told through the perspective of Eleanor, we see a shaky view of the people she meets and becomes more intimate with, and her unreliable narration amplifies the uneasiness felt in the house.

    I love how uneasy this book makes me, both because I get a bit embarrassed for Eleanor, but also because you KNOW there’s something strange going on in and because of that house. Jackson really knows how to give chilling vibes.

Rebecca
  • Rebecca
    As you might be able to tell, I do love my haunted house stories, and I count Rebecca as one of those stories. In this book a young woman meets and then marries the mysterious Max deWinter, whose wife, Rebecca, died a year before. As the new Mrs. deWinter tries to get used to her new role, she realizes that the grand manor, Manderley, holds more secrets and ghosts of Rebecca.

    This book is so dark and sends the shivers up the spine. Like Eleanor in Hill House, the new Mrs. deWinter is unsure and uninformed enough to make the narrative shaky, unreliable, and eerie, at least until she is able to be in on things.

I, Claudius (Claudius, #1)
  • I, Claudius
    This historical fiction recounts the life of the Julio-Claudians in the early days of the Roman Empire, through the perspective of the emperor Claudius. The narration takes us from the rule of Augustus and ends when Claudius becomes emperor (the sequel Claudius The God tells of what happens after this).

    As a fan of ancient history, I love this telling. We get to know fun characters like the murderous Livia, the insane Caligula, and all who seek to impede Claudius’ life. Of course there are elements of this book that are not quite historically accurate, but it is still very, very entertaining.

The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)
  • The Lord of the Rings
    If you know me even a little, you will know that these are my favorite books in the world. I’m not going to go into the plot too much cause I assume if you haven’t read the book, you’ve at least seen the movie, and they’re pretty similar. The only think I will say that is missing from the films from the book is more of the folklore aspects that Tolkien fills his books with. I LOVE folklore and fairy tale, and reading about the elves, the barrow wights, Tom Bombadil, the mythology behind trees, it’s all just *chef’s kiss*. And the fact that all of this folklore has informed a lot of modern and contemporary folklore is what makes these books classics for me.

Sense and Sensibility
  • Sense and Sensibility
    One of my favorite romances EVER! I read this after I watched the movie with Emma Thompson and the rest of that all-star cast. I fell in love with Alan Rickman’s Col. Brandon, and so I had to see for myself if he is just as wonderful in the book and HE IS!! Also, a Jane Austen is always a classic, this just happens to be the best and favorite of mine!

Fahrenheit 451
  • Fahrenheit 451
    Ray Bradbury’s famous novella takes place in a dystopian (deceptively utopian) world where books are outlawed, so people do not have ideas that are non-conforming. Our protagonist, a fireman, is one of the people who burns books when found. But what happens when one day he decides to keep and read one?

    This is probably my favorite dystopian fiction because so many times have we almost lived this reality, where knowledge is kept secret and away from those who would learn and have their own ideas. Also, any book about books is for me, and a dystopian book about books? Oh ja.

Paris in the Twentieth Century
  • Paris in the Twentieth Century
    Another dystopian! This is a more obscure book by Jules Verne, imagining what life might be like in the late 20th century. In this version of modernity, the arts and humanities are considered obsolete, and our main character, a classicist and Latinist, has trouble fitting in this world.

    As a classicist myself, it is encouraging to read about those who will love the classics and language and art even in dire times, though it is sad to think about this decline. Even though it was in translation, I love the way Verne tells his stories.

The Last Unicorn (The Last Unicorn, #1)
  • The Last Unicorn
    I also read this book after I saw the movie, and I am happy to say that they are very similar! The book is so fantastic though, with a diverse and quirky cast of characters. I also love the theme of the disappearing fairy tale represented by the loss of the unicorns in this book. And a wizard named Schmendrick? I want him to be my best friend.
    Another more modern classic, but a fantasy classic nonetheless!

The Black Cauldron (The Chronicles of Prydain, #2)
  • The Chronicles of Prydain
    Again, I read this classic fantasy series after watching Disney’s The Black Cauldron, which takes its name from the second book in the series. In this series we follow three heroes, Taran, Princess Eilonwy, and Fflewddur Fflam as they overcome the evil powers that be in the lands of Prydain.

    This series is all based on Welsh mythology, much of which can be found in the Mabinogion. I think that’s why I was so drawn to it at all, cause Welsh mythology is so cool!

The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton
  • The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton
    Not really a classic in terms of books, but definitely in terms of the author. Edith Wharton is famous for her novels, but some don’t know that she also wrote ghost stories! Very much in the same vein of horror as Shirley Jackson, Wharton sets many of her stories in houses that have ghosts or secrets, the perfect haunting and eerie atmosphere that I am just in love with!


    Those are my top 10! What are some of your favorite classics?

Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag!

I’m a little late to this, but I’ve been seeing book bloggers and booktubers doing this tag, and I figured I would join them! So this is my Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag. Unfortunately, because I’ve been working on finishing my Masters, I haven’t read as many books as I would like this year (only 13), but I have read some great ones. And I’m in the middle of some others which I will tell you about at the end!

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2019

This question is really hard to answer because all of the books I’ve read so far are amazing. I am going to cheat and pick 2: Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman and The Deep by Rivers Solomon.

Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman

Einstein’s Dreams is just so creative in the ways it portrays time and perspective in the world.

The Deep by Rivers Solomon

The Deep turns historical trauma into a deep fantasy, dealing with memory and identity experienced with and without such trauma.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019

So I’ve only read one sequel this year, but I really did enjoy it, and that is Death in Dark Blue by Julia Buckley, part of her Writer’s Apprentice mystery novels.

Death in Dark Blue by Julia Buckley

It’s not the best written book, but it gave me what I needed at the time: a fun mystery, drama and suspense, romance, and the main character is a writer! Overall a fun book to read, and I have the third book in the series waiting for me.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

It’s not coming out until the end of the month, but I really want to read The Miraculous by Jess Redman. This is a middle grade novel that deals with death, healing, and childhood in the whimsy of magic. The darkness of it sounds right up my alley, but also the longing to go back to childhood and knowing that magic exists.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

This would definitely have to be the upcoming sequel to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. I don’t know when it’s coming out yet, and it’s probably not going to be this year, but I have my eyes peeled for it and I can’t wait to see what happens to Ari and Dante!

5. Biggest disappointment

Honestly none of the books I’ve read this year were bad, but if I had to pick a disappointment that would probably be The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff.

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

It was a very good book, but I think it would have been better if Hoff had compared more of Tao with Winnie the Pooh in a more direct way – his comments on the more ancient Tao and Pooh’s Tao seemed a bit too separate.

6. Biggest surprise

That would be There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. I had heard good things about this book, and I was looking for a new thriller.

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

But I didn’t expect to be so invested and emotional about this book! There’s so much that goes on with love and friendship, which made me want to cry, but also the fear of the person who is inside those character’s houses, threatening their lives and livelihood. I did not expect to be on the edge of my seat the whole time!

7. Favorite new author (debut or new to you)

Hands down, this has got to be Patricia A. McKillip. I had heard of her before on lists of fantasy authors and novels, but when I read The Forgotten Beasts of Eld I was enthralled with her writing and world-building.

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip

McKillip is definitely my new favorite fantasy author. Right now I am reading her book of short stories, Wonders of the Invisible World, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. McKillip can write hidden worlds and magical creatures like no other.

8. Newest fictional crush

Honestly, this is going to have to be Sybel from The Forgotten Beasts of Eld. She is a beautiful, powerful woman who can use magic, communicate with all creatures mythical or not, and puts fear into the hearts of the mightiest of men. I would not at all mind if she called me with magic to live on her mountain with all those fantastic creatures.

9. Newest favorite character

This is probably Yetu from The Deep. I really felt like I related to her in terms of growing up and figuring out who I am and what I want to do with my life. While her journey is much more dramatic, traumatic, and magical than mine, she shows great strength and vulnerability when trying to reconcile who she was and who she could be. Not to mention that she is basically a fearsome, siren-like mermaid who can hold the entire history of a people inside her person. That is badass.

10. Book that made you cry

Only one book made me cry a little bit this year, and that was Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

Not much to say except that this book was so funny, it made me cry with laughter at times.

11. Book that made you happy

So many of the books I’ve read have made me happy, but I will narrow it down to three. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll not only took me to my favorite genre, fairytale and folklore retellings, but also her art and illustration is just so beautiful. Of course The Forgotten Beasts of Eld was so fantastic I can’t help smiling when thinking about it. And lastly is Hyperbole and a Half again because it made me roar with laughter.

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

This would have to be Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, as not only is the cover beautiful, but Carrolls art and illustrations are gorgeous, dark, creepy, and mesmerizing.

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

13.What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Here’s the thing, I don’t NEED to read any books by the end of the year. However, I have many that I want to read, and many that I want to finish. I’ll just talk about the latter for now, as there are so many on my TBR shelf. Right now I’m in the middle of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde,

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Wonders of the Invisible World by Patricia A. McKillip,

Wonders of the Invisible World

and Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire.

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)

I will probably finish the last of these first as it is a rather short book and I am listening to it via Scribd.

14. Favorite book community member

I watch quite a bit of BookTube, and so here are my favorites:

The Book Leo

Jen Campbell

A Case for Books

booksandquills

Fictional Fates

Paperback Dreams

Peruse Project

Slytherin-bookworm-guy

Please feel free to give me recs of other bookish peoples!

And that’s the end of the tag! I tag all readers who want to do this.

Happy reading!

The Coffee Book Tag!

So not a book review, but I saw this post on Literary Leisha’s blog and I thought it would be fun to do the Coffee Book Tag! I tag anyone who wants to do it.

Black Coffee: Name a series that’s tough to get into but has hardcore fans.

I think for me this would be the Game of Thrones series, but only because the show turned out badly, and because the books aren’t really finished, I don’t think I could start it and have it meet my standards.

Peppermint Mocha: Name a book that gets more popular during the winter or a festive time of year.

I don’t know if there’s a particular book, but I do know that lots of people enjoy reading Harry Potter near Christmas. Now, I am not a Christmas, I am a Chanukah, so I myself will probably just read my usual fare (likely ghost stories).

Hot Chocolate: What is your favorite middle grade book?

I really loved the Percy Jackson series, but I also love these others (couldn’t just pick one):

  • The Book of Three, first book of the Chronicles of Prydain.
  • Pages and Co.
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Double Espresso: Name a book that kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

Definitely There’s Someone Inside Your House. Never knew what was in store around the corner for our heroes!

STARBUCKS: Name a book you see everywhere.

A Curse So Dark And Lonely! I keep seeing everyone read and review it, and honestly I kinda want to read it too.

That Hipster Coffee Shop: Give a book by an indie author a shout out.

Gail Wronsky! She is a wonderful poet, and now has at least two long poetry collections out.

OOPS! I accidentally got decaf: Name a book you were expecting more from.

House of Furies by Madeleine Roux has such an interesting premise – a young woman runs away and ends up living in a house full of demon – but the characters were completely unfulfilled.

The Perfect Blend: Name a book or series that was both bitter and sweet but ultimately satisfying.

This is a tough one, but I would have to name Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss. This novella deals with really heavy subjects, but the main character has a good ending and the less heavy themes are super interesting.

A Cup of Tea: Your favorite classic.

I mean, knowing myself I’d have to say Lord of the Rings. But I also love anything written by Shirley Jackson.

Flat White: A book that isn’t a novel.

Edith Wharton’s Book of Ghost Stories! These are just the best, chilling, gothic, everything you want in a spooky story.

Reader Problems Book Tag

Hello fellow readers! I just realized I never have done a book tag on here, so I thought today would be a good day to do one! I’ve decided to do the Reader Problems Book Tag, as I am a reader with many, many problems (I jest, but this tag does seem fun!). I got this book tag from The Nameless Book Blog, do check her out!


1. You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?

What I pick is going to depend on the following factors:

  • Easiness: I will probably pick the book that is easiest to read, either because it is shorter, or just not so dense, or the topic is not so heavy. It will likely be a book of short stories cause that’s generally what I go for if I don’t know what to read.
  • Covers: yes, sometimes I judge a book by its cover, and the most interesting (or relevant) cover is going to get picked.
  • Oldest: by oldest I mean the ones that have been sitting on my TBR for a very, very long time. I do try to pick up the older ones after I’ve read a new one.

2. You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?

Honestly, I’m probably not going to finish it. I’d rather stop and read something I know I’ll love than suffer through a book just to get to the end. I did this with The Secret History – part of me wanted to finish it because everyone was saying it was really interesting, but I just did not get on with that book.

3. The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?

Eh whatever happens happens. If I can find some shorter books to read I will, and I have done so with short stories and poetry. If I can’t I don’t worry about it, and I know I’ll get to read more books in the next year.

4. The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope?

I’ll live. I do try to get matching covers as much as I can, but I don’t usually get upset if they don’t match.

5. Every one and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?

Probably my best friend, who generally agrees or at least understands my feelings. Otherwise I will go on the internet (i.e. this blog or twitter) to rant with other bookworms.

6. You’re reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

Cry me little heart out!

7. A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?!?!?!?

I will probably skim through the first book and read a synopsis and then head right to the sequel. Though I am very blessed with a good memory and this doesn’t happen too often.

8. You do not want anyone. ANYONE. borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people nope when they ask?

Well this would never happen, I always lend my books. However, I am choosy as to whom I lend them to cause I know who is and isn’t going to be responsible. If someone wants to borrow mine and I don’t want them to, I will try to find them an alternative option.

9. Reading ADD. You’ve picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?

At this point it’s just me waiting to find the right book to read. When that happens I stick to it. Or I do my usual and find a book of short stories, which is good if I want different plots.

10. There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

My rule at bookstores is that I can only buy two at a time, so probably two (maybe three if I’m feeling like it).

11. After you’ve bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you get to them? 

It honestly depends. Sometimes I’ll get to one so quickly and then breeze right through it. Other times the books can sit for months at a time (they are so sad!).

Thank you all for reading, and I tag whoever wants to do this tag! Do tag me as well so I can see your answers!