The leaves are changing colors. There is a light dusting of snow on the high mountains. Winter is coming but is not quite here yet, so ’tis the season to snuggle up next to the fire and read! Nothing soothes the soul and mentally prepares us for the upcoming holiday season quite like taking a little “me time” in the comfort of a great book. So grab a hot cup of apple cider and a copy of one of these great reads this autumn!
Shantaram – by Gregory David Roberts
If you are looking to escape into a novel of epic proportions, then do not hesitate to pick up this heavy hitter and its sequel, The Mountain Shadow. In Shantaram, Roberts thrusts us into the immense world of Bombay, India based on his life as an escaped convict of an Australian prison. We are shown the slums of Mumbai through the eyes of Lin, the protagonist, who uses the slums and its colorful inhabitants to hide from Interpol. When an accident requires him to use his resuscitation skills borrowed from his time as a junkie to revive a fellow slum dweller, he becomes known as “Shantaram” or “Doctor” to the people of the slums. This catches the eye of a mafia boss who uses his seedy connections to provide health care for slum dwellers. The events that ensue are too outlandish to be anything but true. Roberts’ style of writing leaves nothing to interpretation. His own profound philosophy and code of “ethics” infiltrates every page, making this epic and its sequel real page turners.
The Goldfinch – by Donna Tartt
This coming of age action packed adventure story of resilience reminds us that how we react, is in fact, what we get back. The novel opens with our lead character, Theo Decker and his beloved mother falling victim to a terrorist attack in an art museum in New York. After losing his mother in the panic, he grabs a famous painting of a goldfinch on a stand with a tiny gold chain fastened to its ankle, a decision that alters the course of Theo’s life forever. This marvelous piece focuses on tragic loss and the nature of art and friendship. Sometimes, our only reaction to a life full of tragic heartbreak is to simply keep our eyes open.
House of Leaves – by Mark Z Danielewski
Cult favorite, House of Leaves, is the perfect thriller to read with all of the lights on this Halloween season! It is an untraditional novel filled with secret meanings and upside down & sideways writing that constantly keeps the reader guessing. Narrated by a blind old man, a tattoo apprentice, and a mad woman, this story follows one family’s terrifying experience to understand their shape shifting house, which seems to have an infinite amount of bewitching hallways and demons within. Unlike the two previous books mentioned, it is not neat and tidy, nor is it wrapped up with a pretty bow. This is a novel that stays with you and has many secrets and mysteries within its curious pages. Once you drink the Kool-Aid on this one there is no turning back!
Brain on Fire – by Susannah Cahalan
A real life horror story of a successful journalist’s decline into insanity, Brain on Fire brings us into the realities of mental health and the terrifying story of a woman’s brain turning against her. This tale of madness, memory loss and episodes of schizophrenia will surely compel you to turn each page in hopes that Susannah will fight what ails her and finally unlock her sickness. In this true story, Susannah uses hospital security footage and accounts from family and friends to piece together her “Month of madness”, as she calls it, from which she cannot recall one thing. This is a beautifully written memoir that touches on faith, love and hope in the midst of the often neglected hardships of mental health in this country.
I hope you find as much enjoyment in these books as I did! Stay warm this fall and remember, reading makes you smarter or at least less stressed!
p.o.m.e. guest blogger