For many years, the Labor Day Weekend was my signal that life would soon be kicking into high gear. School was the obvious reason for the major uptick in my activity level. I was barely out of college when my son started kindergarten, and when he graduated from high school I was working in a school myself. So for about 40 years of my life, September meant getting all of our heads in gear for another academic year.
It’s been five years since I was completely divorced from school activities of any kind, and this is the first year I’ve noticed a change in my perception. For the past four years, I’ve felt a gentle nudge toward the school supply aisle, a need to start setting my alarm clock incrementally earlier, an impulse to shop for a new purse or bookbag. But this year – not so much. Perhaps because this autumn I’m focused on the impending arrival of my first grandchild rather than a new schedule of classes! Whatever the reason, I’m not feeling the least bit academically inclined.
And what does all this have to do with reading? Usually in the fall, I’m eager to take on some heavy reading lists- haul out the classics, sign up for some of the reading challenges so popular in the blogging world, maybe even join a book club with “real” people. I haven’t felt quite the same impetus to do those things this fall – in fact, I’m still plugging away at the TBR pile that’s been sitting in my corner all summer. I’d like to clear that up before baby Connor’s arrival, which is anticipated around Thanksgiving, but if I don’t, it will wait for me.
There is one book on my horizon that will not wait to be read. It’s been calling to me ever since I first heard the title and saw the compelling cover illustration. You Are My Only, the latest novel by Beth Kephart, tells the story of Emmy Rane, a young mother in an unhappy marriage whose baby daughter is stolen from her one horrible day, and of Sophie, that very daughter 14 years later, a teenaged girl trying to understand why she has always been forced to live a reclusive, nomadic life. Beth Kephart always conveys an amazing depth of understanding about her characters and their emotional lives, while creating a story that captivates and engages readers of all ages. She writes about real people in real situations whose lives and feelings mirror our own, but elevates these experiences to an almost mystical level with her beautiful descriptive language and writerly attention to detail. As My Friend Amy described it so perfectly in her post today, Kephart has a gift for capturing those “small moments” that “bring a story out of the realm of the imaginary and ground them in the real world, and make these stories stick because they feel so real.” I eagerly anticipate every one of Beth’s new novels, and can’t wait to add You Are My Only to my growing collection of her work.
What about you? What’s on your horizon for fall reading?