Dear Friends,

I’m writing this to you while the leaves outside my window rustle with the expectation of rain. It’s a bustling, windy day! The thick stones that line my meagre hedgerow are damp from days of drenching wet, and my sundial won’t tell me when it’s time for tea today; the sun is dipping lower and lower into his autumn rest. I collected a bag full of chestnuts yesterday and, if the mowers and blowers don’t get to them first, acorns from my local park are to be gathered this afternoon.

Perhaps you’re like me and struggle with the greyer days of autumn. Cozy it may be but it’s also melancholy and cloistering as nature draws us towards the hearth. To fend of this gloom I think it’s all the more important to get outside and discover the treasures of the season! Perhaps they are not as obvious as spring’s burst, but they are heartening all the same.

In an effort to keep my spirits high I’ve also made a resolution: no more buying grey or black clothes for fall and winter! Taking my cues from fall’s foliage, I’ve just bought a new yellow blouse, and I’m going to sew up a rose pink scarf in a soft jersey. 

As much as I love to read, a great big hearty tome overwhelms me. For this reason many major classics — Anna Karenina, War & Peace, The Count of Monte Cristo, etc — have all been discarded after a number of abortive starts. Thus, when I heard about “DailyLit,” a service that will email you manageable chunks of such books I signed up in a jiffy! They offer a variety of reads (not all huge classics, either). You choose how frequently you wish to receive an instalment and the instalment length you find the most manageable. I’m aiming to read Jude the Obscure in 153 instalments (which sounds like buying a back massager in three easy payments of $19.95). 

P.S. I heard about DailyLit through the Backlisted podcast, a great listen if you love discovering books that don’t get the attention they deserve.

And, in the reading vein, I have a wonderful non-fiction recommendation for you.

It is Agatha Christie’s Come, Tell Me How You Live: An Archeological Memoir. As the title implies, this is no Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple. Instead, this light, meandering memoir recalls the period in the 1930s when Christie accompanied her archeologist husband, Max Mallowan, to Syria on a series of digs. It was warm-hearted, funny, and quite eye-opening! Christie is both admiringly adventurous — coping with long journeys, fleas, and tummy upsets — and reassuringly human (she nearly packs up for home after a night of vermin running over her head). 

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.”

– Emily Brontë