Join Our Fall Reading Club: 8 Books for All Ages

Michelle Chahine fall books reading

It’s the season for reading in cozy nooks!

There’s nothing like grabbing a good book on a misty fall day and curling up in a corner with a warm drink—bonus points if a peaceful dog (OK, or cat) is sleeping at your feet.

Here are a few suggestions that caught the eyes of our editors at MariaShriver.com, for our second seasonal book list (this one has picks for all ages!):

Shattered Blue Lauren Bird HorowitzYOUNG ADULT

Shattered Blue by Lauren Bird Horowitz 

Book One in The Light Trilogy was named the number one back-to-school read for teens in 2015 by Culturalist and one of the most anticipated fall book releases by SheKnows.com. And we all know that Young Adult (YA) books aren’t just for teens! A survey found that 55% of YA readers are actually adults. Maybe it’s because we’re all still young at heart, and enjoy spending afternoons with books written with young people in mind. Or maybe it’s just because its fun — a forbidden love story entertains everyone does it not?

In Shattered Blue, get to know Noa and Callum. From the start, 16-year-old Noa senses that the mysterious transfer student to her Monterey boarding school is different— Callum unnerves and intrigues her, and even as she struggles through family tragedy, she’s irresistibly drawn to him. Soon she learns his secret and must decide if she will sacrifice everything for him. Read an excerpt here.

[13 Scary Books to Read for Halloween]

MIDDLE GRADE

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordian Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer

Riordian’s books get better every year. From his first Percy Jackson adventure with Ancient Greek gods, through his revival of the many colorful gods of Ancient Egypt and Rome, Riordian brings to life these forgotten mythologies in stories especially for children and young teens (and the many adults, like myself, who just love children’s literature. Who’s with me?).

In his latest installment featuring the ancient Nordic mythology, Riordian introduces us to homeless teen Magnus Chase who has lived on the streets of Boston for two years, ever since his mother’s mysterious death. The book opens on his sixteenth birthday, when he learns that his uncle Randolph–a man his mother had always warned him about–is trying to track him down. When Magnus tries to outmaneuver his uncle, he falls right into his clutches. Randolph starts rambling about Norse history and Magnus’s birthright: a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years. The more his uncle talks, the more puzzle pieces fall into place. Stories about the gods of Asgard, wolves and Doomsday bubble up from Magnus’s memory. But he doesn’t have time to consider it all before a fire giant attacks the city, forcing him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents… Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die.

[7 Things Children Can Teach Us]

ADULT FICTION

Rumi and the Red HandbagRumi and the Red Handbag by Shawna Lemay

“What is the soul?” asks Rumi, the poet. “If I could taste one sip of an answer, I could break out of this prison for drunks.”

Rumi and the Red Handbag follows the lives of Shaya and Ingrid-Simone, working together one winter at a second-hand clothing shop. Theodora’s Consignment Shop becomes a small world where Shaya, an academic who abandoned studying the secrets of women writers, finds in Ingrid-Simone a reason to begin writing again, on scraps of paper and post-its. Fresh, unique and intelligent, Rumi and The Red Handbag is a journey to the Museum of Purses and Handbags in Amsterdam, a journey to find Rumi, the soul, and the secrets hidden in a red handbag.

The Invisibles by Cecilia Galante The Invisibles Cecelia Galante

The Invisibles is a novel that asks: How much of our pasts define our present selves? And what does it take to let go of some of our most painful wounds and move on?

Thrown together by chance as teenagers at Turning Winds Home for Girls, Nora, Ozzie, Monica and Grace quickly bond over their troubled pasts and form their own family which they dub The Invisibles. But when tragedy strikes after graduation, Nora is left to deal with the horrifying aftermath alone as the other three girls leave home and don’t look back.

[How Dependable Are Your Memories? Mary Karr on Remembering]

Fourteen years later, Nora is living a quiet, single life working in the local library. She is content to focus on her collection of “first lines” (her favorite opening lines from novels) and her dog, Alice Walker, when out-of-the-blue Ozzie calls her on her thirty-second birthday. But after all these years, Ozzie hasn’t called her to wish a happy birthday. Instead, she tells Nora that Grace attempted suicide and is pleading for The Invisibles to convene again. Nora is torn: she is thrilled at the thought of being in touch with her friends, and yet she is hesitant at seeing these women after such a long and silent period of time. Bolstered by her friends at the library, Nora joins The Invisibles in Chicago for a reunion that sets off an extraordinary chain of events that will change each of their lives forever.

Career of Evil Cormoran Strike Robert Galbraith JK RowlingCareer of Evil: Cormoran Strike #3 by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling) 

This is one of those books you can make a weekend out of — and if you haven’t read books 1 & 2, you’ll need the whole week. These good, old-fashioned detective novels following Cormoran Strike, a private detective in modern London, are written by arguably one of the most-beloved authors of our time, J.K. Rowling, under the pen name Robert Galbraith.

In the third installment of the Cormoran Strike Book Series, Career of Evil, a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott who works for Strike. She is soon horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg. Strike is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible–and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality. With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…

[10 Books That Will Change Your Life for the Better]

A clever mystery with unexpected twists around every corner, Career of Evil is also a gripping story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives.

ADULT NON-FICTION

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert Big Magic Elizabeth Gilbert

The author of the international phenomenon Eat, Pray, Love digs deep into her own generative process to share her unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

[10 Ideas for Starting a Journal to Transform Your Life]

Mindy Kaling Why Not MeWhy Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever or, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.

Kaling turns the anxieties, the glamour and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.

 

Negroland: A Memoir by Margo Jefferson Negroland Memoir Margo Jefferson

A deeply felt meditation on race, sex and American culture through the prism of the author’s rarefied upbringing and education among a black elite concerned with distancing itself from whites and the black generality while tirelessly measuring itself against both. Born in upper-crust black Chicago, Pultizer-Prize winning culture critic Margo Jefferson has spent most of her life among what she calls “the colored aristocracy,” “the colored elite,” “the blue-vein society.” Since the nineteenth century they have stood apart, these inhabitants of Negroland, “a small region of Negro America where residents were sheltered by a certain amount of privilege and plenty.”

[Read Maria Shriver’s latest ‘I’ve Been Thinking’ essay]

Reckoning with the strictures and demands of Negroland at crucial historical moments—the civil rights movement, the dawn of feminism, the fallacy of postracial America — Jefferson brilliantly charts the twists and turns of a life informed by psychological and moral contradictions. Aware as it is of heart-wrenching despair and depression, this book is a triumphant paean to the grace of perseverance.


Book descriptions from the authors’ or publishers’ official websites. Click on each book cover above for more. 

{Image credit: Padurariu Alexander, Unsplash}

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