It’s that time of year again. Shortening days, beautiful foliage, the hint of winter around the corner. It’s fall. And that means it’s time to get cozy and curl up with a good book and a hot beverage. And no matter what cozy fall drink you choose, I have a book to match. So let’s get into it.
Ah, yes. A drink whose name is as wonderful as its taste. Sink into some sweet earl grey and vanilla with this atmospheric beverage that calls to mind the unfurling fogs of Victorian London. For a drink like this, I recommend a classic. The Greatest Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. Fall is a time for mysteries and these are so readable. I turn to them again and again, whenever I’m in need of comfort.
Want something more current? How about The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold. Incredibly well researched and beautifully written, Hallie Rubenhold does a deep dive on the women murdered by Jack the Ripper. Long thought to be prostitutes, Hallie sets the record straight and tells the real stories of these five fascinating women tied together in death. A must read.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
The drink of the season, encapsulating all the warm, cozy vibes of fall and immediately putting me in the spirit for Halloween. This drink requires books that are fabulous, cozy and feminist. It requires witches. There are quite a few to choose from, such as Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart, The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow, The Witches of New York by Ami McKay or the classic Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman.
I personally recommend We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry. Set in the eighties, it tells the story of a girls field hockey team who makes a pact with the darkness to gain a winning season. It’s quirky, awkward and funny. Or Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson, about a girl named Mila who brings her best friend back from the dead to help solve her murder, only to accidentally bring back their high school’s It girls with her.
What should we pair with this lovely, spicy beverage? Only the best, of course. A drink so cozy and flavourful requires books with plenty of layers and flavour of their own. My first pick is Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal. This book has everything. Nikki, the daughter of Indian immigrants and a law school dropout, impulsively takes a job teaching creative writing at the community center in London’s close-knit Punjabi community. The class, as it turns out, is made up Sikh widows, looking for a class on english literacy, not creative writing. One thing leads to another, and after one of the women finds a book of sexy stories Nikki’s friend stuck in her bag, the women begin writing their own. But they must keep their work secret from The Brotherhood, a group of young men who’ve appointed themselves the community’s moral police. The book is funny, warm, but still has elements of mystery and even murder. An all around winner.
If you’ve already read that one, then my next pick is Tuesday Moonie Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia. I love this book SO much. It has everything. Murder. Puzzles. A dead rich guy with a mysterious will. A ghost. Friendships. All. The. Things.
You might think of this as more of a winter drink, but I argue that hot chocolate is appropriate whenever the weather is cool and you want to get cozy. For something so sweet and familiar I think it’s important to pick up a book that warms your heart. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon will definitely do that. It’s a beautiful love story brimming with optimism and light and it brought a smile to my face while reading it. Alternatively, Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong is not about romantic love, but family and it will also make your heart sing. It’s absolutely lovely and so, so well written. Either way, both books are guaranteed to make you melt into your hot chocolate.
When you have the coziness of hot chocolate mixed with the buzz of coffee, what do you read? Something that keeps you turning the pages, obviously. Add a pinch of cayenne to make it a little spicy and you’ve got the perfect drink to sip on while you read Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. It’s moody, spooky and atmospheric, perfect for Halloween and once it gets going, it really gets going. So don’t be put off by its slow start, it will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Already read that one? Then may I suggest The Whisper Man by Alex North? Talk about a page turner. This thriller will keep you up all night long reading, so it’s a good thing you’re drinking coffee. It is un-put-down-able.
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