Help me find another great fall book
October 5, 2008 11:49 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a book to read this month along the lines of Ray Bradbury's "From the Dust Returned." I want the book to feel like autumn.

A few years ago I read "From the Dust Returned" during a typical rainy Seattle October. (It was my bus book.) For me it was the perfect combination of atmosphere, nostalgia, characters, loneliness, regret, wistfulness, and a touch of Halloween to make the perfect October fall book. What are some other books along the same lines that would be good for this year? I'm not really looking for a particularly scary or horror novel, but the right one would be fine (e.g. Something Wicked This Way Comes.) The book doesn't have to be by Bradbury. An anthology of (mostly) related stories would be great, but it doesn't have to be that similar.
posted by sevenless to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe Jean Hegland's "Into the Forest"? I read it a few years ago and as I remember it it might fit your criteria.

Set in the near-future, Into the Forest is a powerfully imagined novel that focuses on the relationship between two teenage sisters living alone in their Northern California forest home.

Over 30 miles from the nearest town, and several miles away from their nearest neighbor, Nell and Eva struggle to survive as society begins to decay and collapse around them. No single event precedes society's fall. There is talk of a war overseas and upheaval in Congress, but it still comes as a shock when the electricity runs out and gas is nowhere to be found. The sisters consume the resources left in the house, waiting for the power to return. Their arrival into adulthood, however, forces them to reexamine their place in the world and their relationship to the land and each other.
posted by Harald74 at 12:13 AM on October 6, 2008

I was going to suggest "Something Wicked This Way Comes" but you already seem to know about that.
posted by Class Goat at 12:53 AM on October 6, 2008

Engine Summer, by John Crowley. It's about the autumn of the world. His book Little, Big has a similar, threnodic feel as well.
posted by Haruspex at 3:02 AM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

seconding Engine Summer & Little, Big - wonderful wonderful books
posted by jammy at 3:32 AM on October 6, 2008

How about Ray Bradbury's The October Country?
"... that country where it is always turning late in the year."
His first short story collection.
posted by spasm at 4:10 AM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Biased because it's the book I'm currently rereading, and it's by my all-time favorite author, but it captures the season perfectly for me -- Mickelsson's Ghosts by John Gardner.

The final novel by John Gardner, Mickelsson's Ghosts, originally published in 1982 just months before his untimely death in a motorcycle accident, is a tour de force. The protagonist Peter Mickelsson, a former star philosophy professor at Brown, relocates to Binghamton University. On the verge of bankruptcy, separated from his wife, in questionable mental health, and drinking heavily, Mickelsson decides to buy a country house in northeastern Pennsylvania. What he encounters there are impassioned and shameless love affairs (one of which results in a regrettable pregnancy), a Mormon extremist cult, small town mythologies, the robbery of a robber, multiple murders, the ghosts of an incestuous family, Plato, and our hero's own possible insanity.

And it's just back in print, too!

This is a great question! I watch the vintage-spooky-Disney-movie version of "Something Wicked This Way Comes" for Halloween every year, and "From the Dust Returned" might be next in my autumnal book-stack.
posted by kittyb at 7:22 AM on October 6, 2008

I just recommended it on the post apocalyptic thread, but Riddley Walker has a very damp, autumnal feel, although since its set a couple millenia in the future, you won't get any traditional autumn holidays.

Also, the poetry of Robert Frost.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:25 AM on October 6, 2008

October in the Chair by Neil Gaiman is a short story, and spooky, but wonderful for this time of year. (Also, it's dedicated to Ray Bradbury.)
posted by corey flood at 8:20 AM on October 6, 2008

The October Country is what I would read as well as Little Big which covers an awful lot of time but just feels like Autumn. If you're looking for a good survey of titles you might also want to check the Autumn tag on Library Thing. It's a little scattershot (and full of kid books) but can maybe spark some ideas.
posted by jessamyn at 8:40 AM on October 6, 2008

Neil Gaiman just published The Graveyard Book, and it feels like Halloween. He's reading chapters and posting the videos online as he tours with it so you can get a taste before you buy it (but it's really good.)

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell also feels like an October book to me.
posted by fuzzbean at 9:13 AM on October 6, 2008

You sound like a big Bradbury fan (me too!), so I am assuming you've read The Halloween Tree? If not, I recommend it.
posted by geeky at 9:51 AM on October 6, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for the great suggestions so far.

I had considered both The October Country and The Halloween Tree, but the one didn't seem quite right from the descriptions I read (though at least one story in From the Dust Returned is in The October Country too) and the other seemed like a (young) kids book. I suppose I should add them to the list after all.
posted by sevenless at 4:28 PM on October 6, 2008

The Halloween Tree isn't deep or anything, but I don't remember it being too childish. It's just a fun, quick seasonal read. There's an animated movie too, if you're interested.
posted by geeky at 6:27 AM on October 7, 2008

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