Fall is coming quickly, and with a new season comes a time for new books to add to the top of the stack of other books you haven't started to read yet! In the same way that there's no better feeling than cancelling plans, there's no better book to read than the one you found yesterday. In that spirit, here are some books the editors at Lodestone have enjoyed reading this year and think should rise to the top of your fall reading list. So grab a gourd-flavored latte and settle into a book we think you'll love!
In her 2014 collection, Mary Oliver writes poems about dogs—her dogs—those faithful, albeit impermanent, companions to her solitary life after the death of her partner of 40 years. For dog lovers or not, Oliver encourages readers to stop and consider the life-giving joy that non-human friendship can bring.
Those looking for an adventurous "plot" can move along. This is a beautiful memoir of sorts, written from the perspective of John Ames, a third generation preacher of the Midwest. He writes to his very young son, sharing observations about his long life, philosophical musings, and family history. Gently humorous, sobering, subtle, and powerfully arranged, Gilead is not to be missed.
The thriving city of Saraykeht has been made prosperous by the magical ability of Seedless, a spirit bound in human form by his keeper, the poet Heshai. Peace and security are threatened, however, as unknown forces conspire to shatter Saraykeht’s economic prosperity. Day laborer Otah and poet-in-training Matai find themselves drawn in to the desperate plot that threatens to send the city into ruin. In a genre dominated by high fantasy, this novel features a fresh and interesting magic system, which is woven seamlessly into the world that Abraham creates. The characters are complex and convincing with contradicting motivations that bring them into conflict with each other. The novel as a whole is well-written and absorbing, and Abraham is unafraid to face the difficult, and sometimes alarming, decisions of his characters.
Thief and con artist Moist von Lipwig is spared the gallows within an inch of his life (quite literally) and is given a second chance--as the Postmaster of the dilapidated and outmoded post office. With his team of half-mad postmen, Moist sets out to revive the postal system and dodge his technologically advanced competition. But he discovers that being a Postmaster is a rather tricky job, especially since all of his predecessors have died under mysterious circumstances. Part fantasy, part satire, part social commentary, this novel is a fun read with surprising depth. While we enjoy watching Moist's clever maneuvering, we are also forced to examine his past and the ethics of his choices, and ultimately ask the question, "Is there such a thing as a victimless crime?"
An adult fairytale about a boy coming to terms with death, divorce, and a Crooked Man, The Book of Lost Things is a beautiful and disturbing mix of adventure and twisted childhood tales. From a gluttonous Snow White to a mad-scientist Huntress, this story cleverly and tenderly reminds us to accept, but not be enslaved to, the times of loss in our lives.
In this coming-of-age novel, Gene Forrester struggles with a friendship marred by guilt and fear after he inadvertently (or maybe intentionally?) causes an accident at his prep school. A Separate Peace takes place at the beginning of World War II, just as the world outside is beginning to invade the bubble of peaceful life at the school. While short, this novel covers a lot of ground, questioning the nature of friendship, of hope in a time of war, of willful ignorance, and of blame and forgiveness.
Image credit: "Two men reading, Meridian Hill Park, Washington D.C." by Erin Johnson licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.