Books For Autumn

The blog has been focusing on recipes for a while, but I’ve been keen to share a bit more on wider aspects of our connection with nature and the cycle of the seasons besides the seasonal food, foraging and food growing. I love to read, and especially when the nights start to draw in I love the idea of curling up on the sofa with a hot drink and a good book. There are plenty of recipes on their way, but today I wanted to share some books that I’ve read, am currently reading, or that I want to read to get me into a really cosy, autumnal mood as we move into the weekend.

The Apple Orchard: The Story of Our Most English Fruit by Pete Brown

Britain has a really important history of growing apples and the wealth of apple varieties we have traditionally grown is astounding. Pete Brown paints a wonderful picture of our apple-growing heritage whilst exploring the folklore and traditions that have emerged. I love the humour in his writing and this book made me want to drink cider, eat apples and delve into our rich apple culture.

Root Stem Leaf Flower by Gill Meller

OK, I’m sneaking a cookbook in here because I can’t help myself. I love Gill Meller’s recipes and the photography and artwork in all of his books is just masterful. Gill’s books always celebrate the rustic charm of seasonal cooking, and I especially love his autumn recipes using the best of the season and injecting warmth and delicious flavour into every page. We recently tried his red onion, sage, blue cheese and potato farls and they were absolutely divine – real cosy treat and perfect with his serving suggestion of roasted tomatoes and topped with an egg.

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake

I’ve really been getting into mushrooms this year – no, not in the psychedelic sense – and learning how to identify them and understand their habitat. I shared a post recently all about our morning in the New Forest learning all about mushroom identification in one of the best locations for fungal diversity. Autumn isn’t the only time to find mushrooms, there are various types that can be found throughout the year, but autumn is definitely a good time to forage for things like ceps, parasols, autumn chanterelles, hedgehog mushrooms and more. I saw this book in the window of a local bookshop and was immediately sold. It’s pretty chunky, and delves into the science behind the connectedness and interdependence that exists between plants, fungi and really all life. I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far and it’s a really perfect fit for an autumn long read.

Autumn: An Anthology for the Changing Seasons by Melissa Harrison

As much as I love a long read, I also like to vary things a bit and sometimes I’m looking for short stories or snippets that I can dip in and out of. Melissa Harrison has pulled together anthologies of British writing for each of the seasons which I am looking forward to reading over the course of the next year, and this season’s selection contains prose and poetry from authors such as John Lewis-Stempel, Amy Liptrot and Helen Macdonald.

Autumn by Ali Smith

Another for my to-read list, this book was given to me by a friend, and from what I’ve gathered Ali Smith uses the theme of autumn in not so much a literal sense but as a metaphor in the context of post-brexit Britain. I always tend towards reading non-fiction, so I thought perhaps this could even out the balance a little.

Autumn Light: Japan‘s Season of Fire and Farewells by Pico Iyer

As a huge Japanophile and autumnophile(?), I was naturally drawn to this book. Japanese culture is deeply connected to a sense of seasonality, with the well-known celebrations of cherry blossom in spring as well as the vibrant maple leaves in the autumn. This memoir explores the author’s experience of the death of his father-in-law and deals with the idea of change and changelessness in the context of this seasonal transition. It sounds like a beautiful read.

What’s on your reading list this Autumn that you’re looking forward to cosying up with now that the nights are drawing in?

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