Ah, September! The month that starts my favorite season. I know most people prefer spring for its new beginnings or summer for its heat and vacations, but I love autumn the best. My senses are filled with autumn things:
The smell of wood smoke, apples, and fallen leaves
The sight of pumpkins piled high, the bluest of skies, the changing colors of the trees and chrysanthemums everywhere I look.
The sounds of raking and honks of geese as they fly over my head towards warmer climes.
The taste of homemade applesauce, the special ginger cookies I make every fall, and the first beef stew of the season.
The feel of a wool sweater embracing my shoulders, the crisp mornings, and the knitting beneath my fingers as I pick it back up after a break during summer’s heat.
Best of all, autumn is a time of reflection, a time to assess how the year has gone so far and decide what I’d like to wrap up by year’s end. I actually love that the days are growing shorter as I find it easier to reflect in the darkness of early mornings and evenings that increases throughout the season. I’m more content to sit inside with a hot cup of coffee or tea and gather my thoughts when there is no lovely sunshine beckoning to me to go outside.
What season do you love best and why? Please share your favorite in the comments below.
We are at the start of my favorite season. I love the golden light, the crisp evenings and mornings, the bright blue sky, the sounds of birds flying south, and the smells of bonfires and falling leaves.
My reading in the fall tends to be focused on reflective novels and books that warm my heart and soul. I’m always seeking new titles to read, but in autumn, I do a lot more rereading. Here are some of my favorite books to read this time of year.
Persuasion by Jane Austen – My favorite Austen novel, Persuasion is perfect for reading in the autumn as it talks about second chances later in life. I like to reread this one every few years and always in October.
September by Rosamund Pilcher – The title speaks for itself as it is set in September, but I love that most of the characters are in middle life, thinking about their lives, their choices, and where to go from here.
Possession by A.S. Byatt – An intellectual mystery, this novel follows a set of scholars as they seek the truth of the relationship between two Victorian poets – for those who enjoy an academic puzzle and unraveling historical mysteries
Anne of the Island or Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery – School stories always seem appropriate to read at the start of a school year and either of these work for that although Anne of Windy Poplars seems a bit more “fallish”.
Autumn Story by Jill Barklem – If you have not yet read any of Jill Barklem’s stories about the mice in the hedgerow over the various seasons, go immediately to your library and pick one up. The drawings are enchanting and the stories sweet without being cloying. The tale reads quickly but you will want to pour over the illustrations to look at all of the details of country English life.
Vittoria Cottage by D.E. Stevenson – This title by Stevenson is another book about second chances, this time for a woman in middle life with grown children.
Fresh From the Country by Miss Read – Another school story, this one describes the life of a brand new teacher. Miss Read’s Fairacre Series is also great for school-story lovers.
Pilgrim’s Inn by Elizabeth Goudge – Many of Elizabeth Goudge’s books are thoughtful and reflective, but this one is a favorite of mine with many descriptions of cozy home scenes.
Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struthers – Always good for a reread but especially great in fall and winter, each essay covers a small portion of Mrs. Miniver’s life in a way that can lead you to think more closely about the ordinary things in yours.
Books I’ve read that would make perfect fall reads:
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield – This gothic tale about an old woman who wants to tell the truth of her life after many years of hiding it away is perfect for fall reading.
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen – Austen pokes fun at gothic tales while telling one of her own. Delightful.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving – The classic story of Ichabod Crane and his night ride is spooky without being horror.
Early Days by Miss Read – Miss Read recounts her early childhood in this lovely memoir.
Books that are on my to-read list that would fit into fall reading:
Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope – I’m slowly reading through Trollope’s Barchestershire series, and anything by him has one thinking about the human condition and the choices we make.
September Moon by John Moore – I found a copy of this after reading about it at a bookish Instagram account I follow. It’s set in hops-picking time in England, a time I’ve always been intrigued by after reading about it other books. I’m looking forward to picking this up soon.
The Headmistress by Angela Thirkell – Anything by Angela Thirkell is good cozy reading and being about a school is an added bonus.
The Last Bookshop in London by Madeleine Martin – This book about a bookshop in World War II may not appear cozy at first glance, but I find any book set in London involving books takes me away to another world so it qualifies for me.
Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee – Memoirs about childhood memories are always good for fall, and this one has long been on my to-read list so I’m hoping to finally get to it this year.
The Cottage Kitchen: Cozy Cooking in the English Countryside by Marte Marie Forsberg – Cool nights and earlier evenings call out for spending time in the kitchen. I love to read cookbooks and this one just seems perfect for this time of year. I have certain things I always make in autumn and am hoping to find another favorite.
Autumn from the Heart of the Home by Susan Branch – I loved her memoir about her trip to England and hope to find an affordable copy of this book for the drawings and recipes.
Do you have a favorite book to read this time of year? Please share it in the comments. I love to add books to my autumn reading list.
The other morning I stepped outside to go to work and discovered that autumn had arrived. The sky was that perfect blue that you only see in September. Geese were flying overhead, calling to one another as they flew toward warmer climes. A slight mist was floating over the trees, bushes, and the flowers in my garden. The air had the faintest crispness, hinting at the cooler weather soon to come. Just like that, in the space of a day, summer had turned to autumn.
Autumn is my favorite time of year. It’s a time of new beginnings, of starting over, of turning the page of my life. As I was growing up, January never seemed as strong a new year as September, when the season began to change, new classes were starting, new books were bought and begun, and new unknowns were yet to be explored. New notebooks were full of white, clean pages, waiting to be filled with thoughts and ideas, facts and questions, many of which would influence my soul and my mind from then until the present.
Even now, when I no longer go to school myself nor teach others, I still view September as the beginning of my year. I turn over the calendar page to September and breathe a sigh of relief—the heat of August is waning and cool weather is right around the corner. Sweaters, my favorite garments, will soon be required in the mornings and evenings. Lap blankets and hot tea will accompany me to our back deck, as I read, write, and ponder the world while my nose grows rosy in the chill and my fingers and cheeks get cool.
Autumn is also a time for reflection. As the world around us readies itself for winter, I watch all the non-essential things be cast off. Plants stop blooming, trees drop their leaves, birds fly off and leave their old nests behind, animals prepare to sleep, and insects die after taking care to leave eggs for the next year. Everything prepares for cold days, in which only the truly necessary things will be kept.
So it’s a time for me to get back to basics, too. What is truly necessary in my life? What activities and relationships and duties are sapping my strength and dividing my attention unnecessarily? What is not in line with my most important goals, the things I believe I’m called by God to accomplish? Which thoughts are entangling me and keeping me from walking this particular path in a God-honoring way?
It’s a time to regroup, to choose again from all of the good opportunities for growth and service, to decide on the best things that fit in to the calling on my life at this time. With prayer and pondering, I consider each activity. I measure, not just my time but also my energy and margins, to determine how many extra things I can fit in to my schedule. I weigh the benefits (to others as well as to myself) of every opportunity before me to decide whether or not it fits in with my life goals, my family’s needs, and the gifts with which I have been blessed.
Autumn is a time for new beginnings, for shedding expectations and unnecessary encumbrances, and for looking to future blessings and work with a joyful heart. How glad I was, the other morning, to see that autumn had arrived!