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  • Isabella Keroglyan

Turning Leaves and Turning Pages: A Fall Reading Revival


Once September arrived, the final days of summer’s sun slowly faded away and made way for the gentle fall breeze that rustles through the trees. This season brings a transition to the world. The leaves of trees, once bright and green, have now turned golden, and the hot summer air has turned cool and breezy. The summer, which was sunny and clear, is now cloudy and glows with orange and pale hues. Along with its transition, this time of year also holds different meanings for everyone. It signals back to school for some, anticipation for the holidays for others, or a time to focus on oneself, as for myself.


As the seasons changed, I found myself longing for something to soothe this sense of restlessness that had been building up inside me. Sitting at my desk, I looked out at the yellowing fall leaves from my bedroom window. A sense of guilt hit me as I shifted my gaze to the left, now facing my bookshelves. Once neatly organized and filled with my anticipation for their stories, my bookshelves had now served as a reminder of my failed reading goals. They were overfilled with untouched books, each one silently begging me to be opened. I was in a reading slump, a phase that had kept me from doing what I loved most. Time had been slipping through my fingers as I busied myself with the distractions of life, resulting in my books growing dusty with neglect. Their existence, after all, was meant for more than just living as decorative pieces for my room; it was meant to be read, each of their pages filled with dreams and adventure, waiting to be told.


I wanted to take advantage of the comfort I find in the arrival of fall to rekindle my love for reading. The thought of the cool, crisp air and the coming cloudy days inspired me the most to read. The feeling of excitement filled my mind as I pictured myself snuggled up in front of the fireplace, a hot mug of chai warming my hands, and a good book in my lap, driving me to lose track of time within its pages. So, if you also find yourself stuck in a reading slump, join me in reading these three books this fall!


Title: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

Author: Ocean Vuong

Let’s begin with the book I’m looking most forward to reading: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. I discovered this piece while talking with a friend about our favorite reads. As we went back and forth, each describing our favorite literary works, his eyes lit up with excitement when he realized I had never heard of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. The passion he showed for the book was infectious. He described it heartfeltly, expressing so much enthusiasm that I was immediately convinced to invest in a copy. Within its exploration of love, identity, and human experience, Vietnamese-American writer Ocean Vuong takes readers on a heartfelt journey through his book On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. Published in 2019 and written as a letter to a mother from a son, its pages dive into the complicated relationship shared between a single mother and her son while simultaneously delving into the complex truths of race, class, and masculinity. The book explores addiction, violence, and intergenerational trauma yet is still grounded with moments of empathy and gentleness. Hearing about Vuong’s ability to navigate these deep themes delicately and authentically excites me to finally break free from my reading slump with On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous.


Title: Open Water

Author: Caleb Azumah Nelson

While visiting Lost Books, one of my favorite Montrose bookstores, I stumbled upon Caleb Azumah Nelson’s Open Water. As it sat in the recommended by booksellers stand, its cover and title are what caught my attention, intriguing me to pick it up and read its description. It sounded like something I would enjoy, so I bought it! Open Water is the debut book by British-Ghanaian author Caleb Azumah Nelson. Published in 2021, it follows a love story that’s more than just boy meets girl, as it also provides a poetic glimpse into the themes of love, race, art, and identity. Within its pages, the reader meets two young unnamed artists, one a photographer and the other a dancer, who develop a connection at first glance. As their relationship grows deeper, the novel delves into the complexities of their lives, personal battles, and the challenges of being a person in a world that only sees you from your surface.


Title: Slouching Toward Bethlehem

Author: Joan Didion

Gifted to me by my best friend, Slouching Toward Bethlehem by Joan Didion has held a place on my reading list for quite some time. I’ve consistently heard so much praise for Didion’s work and decided now is finally the perfect time to begin my Didion journey. Slouching Towards Bethlehem is a book of essays in which Didion illustrates a portrait of America, specifically California, during the sixties. Published in 1968, this iconic work provides an insightful commentary on the culture, politics, and societal norms of the time. Didion’s unique views and observations about the world make Slouching Towards Bethlehem a noteworthy piece of American literature, clearly and skillfully capturing the spirit of its time.

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