chestnut book blog

Read. Recommend. Revel.


Top Five Books for Autumn

As the air starts to smell of bonfires and falling leaves dance around me on my walk home, my attention is drawn to particular books on my shelves. Some books are just made to be read in Autumn, curled up with a hot chocolate, and here are my choices:

1. His Dark Materials series

Maybe it is the Armoured Bears of icy Svalbard that mean this series is indelibly linked to Autumn and Winter for me, I’m not sure. But what I do know is that as soon as the clocks go back, I’ll be reaching for Northern Lights, Lyra and dust!

2. Harry Potter series

These won’t be all young adult choices I promise, but here is another series which keeps me company in Autumn. Magic, Hogwarts and Harry Potter are made for reading at this time of year. As the Hogwarts pupils go back to school and Dementors creep up in the dark, I’ll be following their adventures again this autumn.

3. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Wonderful, strange and fragile. I return to this book most Autumns. It is one where I feel I have to reread it regularly as I am never sure I have fully understood it. I love it though even though I am sure I miss many of its nuances. Please let me know if you have read this and what you think of it if you have! I’d love to know,

4.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The wild Yorkshire Moors call to me at this time of year and Jane in particular.

5.  The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

You have got to love a spine tingling ghost story at this time of year and Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black is one of my favourites.

So those are my choices for this Autumn, what will yours be? I’d love to know. If you need any other inspiration, here are Richard and Judy’s Autumn 2013 choices.


A gift of books

Recently, my lovely Grandad gave me a gift of books. Here they are in their new home.


This set of Tennyson and Dickens, the Dickens in particular, bring back such strong memories of my childhood; seeing Grandad reading them, their wise and solemn presence in living room as I grew up and the smell of age and much love when I opened them. This is why they were so much more than a gift of leather, paper and ink; they were the gift of memories. So now these books will stand in my home, watching over me as I age and perhaps one day, I will pass them on myself to a daughter, son, niece or nephew. I will pass them on to someone who loves books as much as I do, as much as my Grandad does. In their covers will be preserved all of our memories of reading, of our family and of our homes. These books are my heirlooms and I will treasure them. Do you have books that are heirlooms?

Book Bollards

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I just had to share this – I went to the Cambridge University Library recently and they had the most wonderful bollards at the front of the building – shaped like a pile of books. Each book also span when you pushed it! Amazing! I wonder if I could get one for my garden?!

Book bollards

Book bollards outside the Cambridge University Library