• Brandi Bradley

Fall is the best season for books!


October is the launch of Reading Season in my house.

I’m the one leading the charge. As soon as the leaves start to change, I start dragging out the books. This time of year, I like things that are spooky, bloody, and gripping. I am not necessarily a “horror” person, but this time of year brings it out in me.


Here are my upcoming book-reading seasons:

Shock-tober

Spooky reading. Ghost stories and psychological thrillers. I also drag out my old copy of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark from elementary school and read it to my kids.


Book Friday

In our house, instead of Black Friday deals, we make our winter book purchases.


Small Business Saturday

Sometimes we travel for the holidays, and our travel plans always include hitting up the local bookstore. Bookstores are small businesses, and it’s a great day to support those businesses while picking up books that you can’t find at a national chain. Each bookstore buyer has their own idiosyncratic tastes, so not all indie bookstores are the same, unlike chain bookstores. As convenient as digital books are, touching the spines of physical books is stress relieving for me. I need to be where the books live.


Christmas Books

We always gift each other books, particularly the kids. When we’ve watched all the A Christmas Story that we can stand, we settle down with our new books. Well, I do. Obviously, the kids are still burning through their toys and devices. I love opening a present to see a brand new book.


Hibernation

As an instructor, I get a few weeks off in the winter. That is my hibernation time. It is Robe City in this house. I wear cozy socks, drink tea, and read for hours. I usually select cozy, Victorian, cottage-core, or winter-themed books. This is also when I drag out the Brontes again. One Christmas, I only read horror books – extending Shocktober deeper into the holiday season.


Note: Audiobooks count. In fact, in my life, audiobooks are essential. I listen to audiobooks when I do my holiday cooking and baking.


This season has kicked off with an interesting assortment of my interests. Murder, Mystery, True Crime, and Self-Help

My Sister is a Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

This book consistently popped up on my recommended list. What I learned from it was a story told from the outsider/insider perspective. It reminded me a little of Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, except with siblings or How to Get Aay With Murder (which I am rewatching). It gets into culpability. The protagonist did a bad thing, but not nearly as bad as the antagonist. And they are forever linked: if one goes down, so does the other. The killer + loyalty to the killer = inconceivable acts by the protagonist. It centers on the question of whether someone is a sociopath or not and weighing out whether turning them in would be the right thing. It’s in no way a templated story – it reads more literary than genre work.


The Guest List by Lucy Foley

I'd been sleeping on Lucy Foley. Like even my neighbor was telling me how great she was. I will actually be studying the structure of this novel. It’s told through two timelines beginning with the discovery of the body and then flashing back to the day before the body was discovered. It’s also told through multiple viewpoints. So I can only imagine constructing it was a challenge.


Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo

I love a good self-help book. This one has been on my list for a long time but never took the time. The author appeared on a podcast I was listening to and I had just finished a book, so I downloaded it and burned through it in two days. It came at a good time because I am figuring out a new project that I am incredibly nervous about it. The thing I learned from it was to create small action items to avoid indecision. Apparently, it’s indecision that stalls people, so acting, even in a small way, counteracts that. She gave the example – can’t decide between two wines at dinner? Ask the waiter for a sample of both to try. I have started to implement more action items into my ruminating process. I also enjoy the spirit of “you can, you just need to figure it out.”


Savage Grace by Natalie Robins and Steven M. L. Aronson

This true crime novel has been an interesting study of voice. Because it is true crime, many of the passages are excerpts from interviews, which I can only imagine were recorded because they perfectly capture the vocal and word choice of a specific subset of upper-class white privileged people who live in the northeastern United States. This book was released in the 1980s, only a few years after the crime occurred, which also makes it a time capsule of events. Reading it reminds me of watching The Preppy Murderer docu-series and Gossip Girl.


Other books on my To Be Read list and what motivated me to put them on my list:

  • All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris – A lawyer, a murder, a dark past, and it's set in Atlanta.

  • Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian – A college campus, a sociopath study, a stalker.

  • Cackle by Rachel Harrison – A fish out of water, small community, female friendship, a possible witch?

  • The Fact of a Body by Alex Marzano-Lesnevich – Louisiana, murder, the complexities of the death penalty.

I am not someone who always reads the newest and hottest books – I am someone who needs my content to season before I am ready for it – so if you are reading something that is knocking your socks off, please send me a recommendation on Twitter or Instagram! I will get to it!


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