Friday, August 22, 2014

Falling into Fall: Upcoming books to pair with pumpkin and spice

The days may be getting shorter but my to-read list seems to stretch on forever*. I’m looking forward to mulled cider and wine, all things pumpkin-derived, and cool evenings on the balcony spent immersing myself in these soon to be new releases.  Being a book lover and working in a library means it kind of  feels like my birthday whenever the new books come in, so here is a list of my most anticipated new books of Fall 2014:

[*For those of you who don't know, which I would imagine is all of you, I am attempting to read 100 books this year. Why? Because goals. With 46 left to read and this late in the year it isn't looking good for me, but I've really enjoyed the challenge so far. I'll let you know in January how it ends.]

Wolf in White Van
John Darnielle
Isolated and disfigured game designer Sean Phillips orchestrates an elaborate text-based role-playing game known as "Trace Italian" with terrible consequences as the game plays out in real life. John Darnielle's mysterious and cosmically twisty debut novel, due out mid-September, should appeal to fans of Haruki Murakami and Alif the Unseen.
Station Eleven
Emily ST. John Mandel
Fans of Margaret Atwood, and those disappointed by California, should keep an eye out for the fourth novel from Emily St. John Mandel, also due out in September. Hours after an actor dies onstage during a production of King Lear the world begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time, Station Eleven is the suspenseful story of Hollywood actors at the end of the world.

The Bone Clocks
David Mitchell
If you were one of the many people celebrating the release of Haruki Murakami's latest (yeah guys, me too) then you probably already have your calendars marked for this one. Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell's upcoming metaphysical thriller is already long-listed for the Booker prize and you can expect to see it on the new books shelf in September.

Mermaids in Paradise
Lydia Millet
Lydia Millet's latest sounds like quite a ride.  Honeymooners Deb and Chip meet a marine biologist in the Caribbean who claims to have found mermaids. The couple teams up with others to save the mermaids from being turned into an amusement park attraction. Swamplandia! fans and readers of Jeffery Eugenides and Tom Rachman be on the lookout for this darkly funny new release in November.
Wittgenstein Jr
Lars Iyers
Lars Iyers returns with a "hilarious coming-of-age love story" set among a group of Cambridge undergrads determined to impress their existentially anguished professor dubbed "Wittgenstein, Jr." Fans of Muriel Barbery and Saul Bellow will be excited to get back to school with this in September.
Not That Kind of Girl
Lena Dunham
I'm sure you know of outspoken and witty Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture, Girls) by now so you probably already know that her book is coming out at the end of September. Honest, smart, and funny, "these are stories about getting your butt touched by your boss, about friendship and dieting (kind of) and having two existential crises before the age of 20 [...]" and more. If you love Kelly Oxford's Everything is Perfect If You're a Liar you'll probably be into this.
10:04: A Novel
Ben Lerner
Fans of Jonathan Franzen will be happy to get their hands on this novel due out in September. (September is going to be a busy month for me.) In 10:04 a man is asked to help a friend conceive a child in a New York that is teetering on the brink of collapse, socially and environmentally.
Love Me Back
Merritt Tierce
I suppose I should label this post "Hotly Anticipated end-of-Summer Bummers." If you like to read cheerful books, my recommendations are probably not for you.This gritty debut novel by Merritt Tierce about a struggling and self-destructive single mother should interest fans of Chuck Palahniuk in September.

And now, for lovers of all things Fall, "my"** Apple Chai-der recipe:
[**I actually use store bought prepared Chai tea concentrate and mix it with Bold Rock Cider in a 1 to 1 ratio because I am efficient.***]

1 1/2 cups water
1 cup apple cider ("hard" or "soft". Virginia has a fine selection of both to choose from)
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon crystallized ginger
5 whole black peppercorns
2 green cardamom pods, crushed
2 English breakfast black tea bags

In a medium saucepan combine water, apple cider, cinnamon stick, ginger, peppercorns and cardamom. Heat over medium heat until just beginning to boil. Reduce heat; simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove cider mixture from heat. Add tea bags; steep for 3 minutes then remove tea bags. Strain cider mixture; discard spices. Serve in mugs.

Makes 2 servings (2 cups total)

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