If you’ve been around here for a while you’ll know that I do seasonal book recommendations (find winter here and summer here). The other day I realised that I’ve never done one for autumn before, so I thought I would fill a gap in the series and share with you all the orange books that I think you’ll love reading this autumn.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott. Fitzgerald is narrated by Nick Carraway and tells the story of when he moves to New York in the summer of 1922. He tells the story of Jay Gatsby and his love for Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession.” It is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s; the Jazz Age as Fitzgerald coined it.
Now whilst this isn’t my favourite work of American literature (I’m a Steinbeck and Hemmingway girl) and in places Fitzgerald is extremely up himself and narcissistic, the novel is told exquisitely with delicious language. It’s also fascinating to read from different perspectives such as queer and Marxist. The Great Gatsby represents the corruption of the American Dream and tells the story of the 1% for the 99%.
Regeneration by Pat Barker is historical fiction and tells the story of two of my favourite poets, Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, at Craiglockhart War Hospital in Scotland during World War 1. The novel confronts the psychological effects of World War I, focuses on treatment methods during the war and the story of a decorated English officer sent to a military hospital after publicly declaring he will no longer fight. Yet the novel is much more. Written in sparse prose that is shockingly clear — the descriptions of electronic treatments are particularly harrowing — it combines real-life characters and events with fictional ones in a work that examines the insanity of war like no other. Barker also weaves in issues of class and politics in this compactly powerful book.
Upon finishing the book, my mind was absolutely quiet, almost numb, as if there were too many thoughts to assimilate and I needed to let it all soak in. Like the patients with their experiences, this book can’t be rushed, you can’t quickly brush past one passage to go the next. Each person’s thoughts and memories need to marinate, allowing their individual flavours to meld together, in order to enjoy its overall affect. It is profound and thought provoking, and deserves to be mentioned along side the best of anti-war literature, All Quiet on the Western Front and The Red Badge of Courage. Pat Barker’s Regeneration, first of her WWI trilogy, goes even deeper into the heart, mind and souls, of not only the men who fought, but of the people affected by the Great War.
A necessary read.
The Establishment by Owen Jones is another important read, but this time non-fiction. Behind our democracy lurks a powerful but unaccountable network of people who wield massive power and reap huge profits in the process. In exposing this shadowy and complex system that dominates our lives, Owen Jones sets out on a journey into the heart of our Establishment, from the lobbies of Westminster to the newsrooms, boardrooms and trading rooms of Fleet Street and the City. Exposing the revolving doors that link these worlds, and the vested interests that bind them together, Jones shows how, in claiming to work on our behalf, the people at the top are doing precisely the opposite. In fact, they represent the biggest threat to our democracy today – and it is time they were challenged.
He’s our generation’s Orwell.
Now I don’t talk about YA on here much anyone as I don’t read a lot of it as I used to when I was younger, practically none this year. However, I’ll mention one on here for people who enjoy the genre that I read in 2016. Girl Online: Going Solo by Zoe Sugg is the third book in the Girl Online series. This book follows Penny as she is living life without Noah and trying to find her own style and touch in photography. I really liked the way anxiety was portrayed in this novel along with the blog posts. I also liked the representation of friendship in this novel and the inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters and showing conflicts between parents and children over these issues. It was the perfect cosy read and I read it in a matter of hours.
So there you have it, those are my recommendations for orange books that you should read this autumn. Have you read any of them? Are you going to read any of them this autumn? Let me know in the comments.
Happy Blogging! xx