What @bookishmadeleine reads

As summer fades into fall, I am busier than ever with work and school, and have been trying to find a balance between reading for school and reading for fun. For me, summers mean lazy days on the beach filled with endless time to read what I want to read, which often counterintuitively becomes the season in which I read the least. What this means is that I get a lot of fun reading done when I am busiest with school, because I need to actually think about fitting fun reading into my schedule. This fall, I am incredibly excited about a whole bunch of books ranging from mysteries and thrillers (always great October reads), to literary fiction, to nonfiction. I like to think that I am somewhat of an eclectic reader, so here is a list of books that I cannot wait to read this fall!

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Susan Orlean is an incredibly talented essayist who has written for The New Yorker and has also written a brilliant non-fiction book called The Orchid Thief. She is a writer who I stumbled upon in a class, and since then, I have actively sought out her books because of her fresh approach to reporting and journalism. The Library Book is a soon-to-be-released non-fiction book that focuses on the most devastating library fire in American history, where 400,000 books were destroyed and 700,000 more were damaged. The fire was never solved, and this book delves into all aspects of the case.

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

I love Liane Moriarty’s books. Though I haven’t yet made my way through all of them, I plan to. They are delightful page-turners, often with some thriller themes in them, and are always refreshing and dynamic, keeping me absolutely invested in the story until the last page. So, naturally, when I found out she had another one coming out soon, I got very, very, very excited. Nine Perfect Strangers is a psychological thriller set in a health resort, that follows nine strangers (surprise!). I don’t know much else about it, but that is always how I love to dive into a Liane Moriarty book – they always surprise me in the very best ways.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

The Silence of the Girls is currently sitting near the top of my TBR pile, and it is calling my name. This book is essentially a feminist retelling of The Iliad and I just absolutely love the sound of that. I love the idea of reclaiming a story and telling it in a new and dynamic way from a voice that otherwise would have gone unheard, and I have heard such great things about this one.

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock has been lauded as a beautiful novel that explores obsession and wonder through a gorgeously atmospheric, magical realist lens, and I cannot wait to read it. I have always loved mermaids and all one has to do is look up the synopsis to see why this book sounds like such a great read. I love the idea of a mermaid being discovered, and the ways in which the discoverer’s life might be forever changed. This is a prime example of a book that came onto my radar when some of my favorite fellow bookstagrammers started raving about it (namely @literaryjo) and I can’t wait to crack this one open.

Under My Skin by Lisa Unger

I love a good psychological thriller, and with October looming large, the spookier the read, the better (in my own humble opinion). I am most definitely not alone in this, but I love reading on the scarier side as Halloween approaches, and this sounds like such a fun, scary read.

I Know You Know by Gilly Macmillan

I’ve read a few of Gilly Macmillan’s books in the past, and though it’s been a few years, and so I, therefore, remember very little, I do remember loving the way she crafts a story. I’ve already said this, but I will say it again: I love a good psychological thriller leading up to Halloween, and I’ve read enough of Macmillan’s work to know that it will deliver all the heart-pounding, scary feels.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

I am late to the game on this one, I know… but I could not leave this off my list, especially since our patron saint of good books, Reese Witherspoon, chose it for her September book club pick. I don’t always agree with Reese’s book choices (for example, I almost never seem to like the psychological thrillers/murder mysteries she chooses), but her literary fiction picks always seem to really resonate with me. Also, not only has Reese raved about this one, but it seems like all of Bookstagram has read this book and loved it.

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

OK, so this is far from a recent release, but I couldn’t resist including it on my list. It is one of my all-time favorite books and is on the syllabus for one of my classes this semester, and I am just way too excited to get the opportunity to read it for the second time in a classroom setting. I love Virginia Woolf, and I think that this book is truly a masterpiece. I love her characters, I love how time operates in the narrative, and I love that the values shift in such a way that a dinner scene takes up 40 pages and death barely gets a sentence. So, technically this is going to be a reread for me, but I’m so excited about it.

Madeleine Letellier

Madeleine Letellier is a student and bookstagrammer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has a passion for books and reading, and aspires to one day work in publishing, though in the meantime is working as a bookseller at one of her favorite indie bookstores as she works her way through her final year at UC Berkeley. She reviews books on her Instagram, @bookishmadeleine, as well as on her blog that she created with her good friend Taylor, which they have titled Book Club for Two. She is an English Literature major, a cat lover, an avid coffee drinker, and a French and English speaker. She is a firm believer that literature holds the power to foster empathy in others, and strives to inspire others to read through sharing her love of books.

  1. Great list! Definitely some from there that I want to add to my fall reads! I just finished a great non fiction book called “We Can Do It: A Community Takes on the Challenge of School Desegregation” by Michael Gengler. It is a very well-researched book that describes the coming together of community members of Alachua County in Florida coming to end segregated schools in the 50’s and 60’s. There are personal stories of people who were part of the actual events in the book and it was very inspiring to read. The way the US has been so divided lately, it was a relevant read because we need to come together like those in the past did to overcome the challenges they faced. You can find out more about the book at http://www.wecandoitbook.com and I definitely recommend it!

  2. Great suggestions for reading, Madeleine! Plan to find at least a couple to take on my upcoming trip. Great blog. Keep up the good reading! xo

  3. Hello, Madeleine,
    Seeing the Lisa Unger title on your list reminded me of a novel I’ve long wanted to recommend to someone like you. It’s “Under the Skin” by Michel Faber. If you haven’t read it, you may have seen the numbly arty movie with Scarlett Johannson that was made from it. That failed to capture the the rich detail of the book—in part, I think, because it was under-budgeted and had oddly meager special effects. You can get a whole bunch of mini-blurbs for the book by using “Look Inside!” on its Amazon page, so I won’t try to describe its plot or atmospherics. I also loved Faber’s much longer and very different “The Crimson Petal and the White,” but one’s enough for now.

    I was a friend of your Robinson grandparents from Salt Lake City days, and like you and them, an English major. We may have met at the memorial for your grandfather in Pleasant Hill; I’m not sure. I’m also a FB friend of your mother; that’s how I found your blog.

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