Before Autumn Leaves

Before autumn leaves, settle down into a bounty of words, sights and sounds that crackle with the color and energy of the season.  Then, take a few moments to take in an eclectic array of books and CDs that’ll bring an extra spark to warm the chill heading up that frosty hill.

Let’s start with some comfort food to get us in the mood for heartier matters.  The Taste of the Season: Inspired Recipes for Fall and Winter by Diane Rossen Worthington includes such treats as Autumn Salad with Persimmons and Pomegranates and Autumn Noodle and Rice.  Peter Kerr’s Viva Mallorca!:  One Mallorcan Autumn continues to chronicle the jazz musician and farmer’s family life on their island fruit farm.  Autumn Rhythm:  Musings on Time, Tide, Aging, Dying and Such Biz by Richard Meltzer is not for the “faint of eye.”  From its cover to the last page you are in for one wild ride. For a less revved up reading experience try Autumn Beguiles the Fatalist by Michael Foley.  Foley beguiles his readers with poems titled to fit a season’s “Dappled Things” and lines remembering “When sweetness surges up each stem.”

 “The look-forward-to-month of September ended without incident and became October.” The date is October 1, 1944 and the weather is clear. So states Itabashi Yasuo in Samuel Hideo Yamashita’s Leaves from an Autumn of Emergencies: Selections from the Wartime Diaries of Ordinary JapaneseThis necessary book opens with the quote  “In this autumn of emergencies, when the life or death of the state is at issue, the weak have become food for the strong.”   In war’s harvest all voices find place and resonance in present and distant times.   Terror of the Autumn Skies: the Story of Frank Luke America’s Rouge Ace of World War I chronicles the life and death of the first pilot to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. Far afield from nonfiction war titles is Daniel Abraham’s third fantasy title in the Long Price Quartet series An Autumn War.

What is fall without football? The Lion in Autumn: A Season with Joe Paterno and Penn State Football by Frank Fitzpatrick chronicles Paterno’s life and legacy in a stirring account of a renowned coaches success and struggles on and off the field.

What better soundtrack to temper the season than the classic “Autumn Leaves” being sung by Nat King Cole on the CD UnforgettableFor a completely different take on the season try Pinback’s Autumn of the Seraphs and rock your way through their “Blue Harvest.” You can imagine yourself watching colors dance in George Winston’s Autumn or revel in them in Dave Brubeck’s Indian Summer.  For more ear candy, try Diana Gabaldon’s time-traveling work of fiction, Drums of Autumn.

There is something adventurous about autumn so why not gain a new perspective on how rich and varied life in this world can be by viewing these seasonally titled films.  Life in China, Japan, the Czech Republic and Oklahoma is featured in Qiu Yue / Autumn Moon, Akibiyori / Late Autumn, Autumn Spring and Cheyenne Autumn. The extraordinary life of Gordon Park is highlighted in the documentary Half-Past Autumn.

Last, but certainly not least, is being up to your elbows in the good old earth.  For ardent tenders of the soil, here are a few offerings: Nancy J. Ondra’ Fallscaping: Extending Your Garden Season into Autumn, C. Colston Burrell’s Perennial Combinations:  Stunning Combinations that Make Your Garden Look Fantastic Right from the Start and Autumn Gardens by Ethne Clarke.

For  inspiration,  Autumn Years: Taking the Contemplative Path by Robert Harlen King is just the book to cozy up with when you’re ready to take a break and contemplate your place within the intricate web of a planet that offers such  bounty.  And as leaves come twirling down in a fancy dance of gold-burnished hue Gary Schmidt’s Autumn: A Spiritual Biography of the Season, should round things out nicely and put you in good stead to welcome winter.

3 thoughts on “Before Autumn Leaves”

  1. Where else but the library is one going to find memoirs, Nat Cole music, football, foreign films and gardening all rolled together in one big wonderful ball? What a rich harvest!

  2. Thank you for the lovely post. I’d like to add a book to your list: Autumn Across America by the American naturalist Edwin Way Teale. It’s the record of a 20,000 journey following the autumn season accross the continent from Cape Cod to California. This is the third in a series of seasons books: the others are North Wiith the Spring, Journey into Summer and Wandering through Winter. They are all beatufully written and illustrated with the author’s beautiful photographs.

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