By Ashly Moore Sheldon • September 25, 2019
Fall has arrived and, as always, it's bittersweet. On the one hand, the darkening skies and shorter days can take a toll on our moods. But, on the other hand, there’s pumpkin spice everything! What is it about this sweet and spicy flavor that has led to such a craze? The piquant seasoning shows up in everything from cereal to cream cheese to spam (...ewww!). Heck, you can even get a pumpkin spice latte for your dog!
We have some thoughts about why this is a thing. Number one: Pumpkins are just so darn tasty. The large seasonal gourds are plentiful because they are both affordable and easy to grow. For more than 80 delicious pumpkin recipes, try Purely Pumpkin by Allison Day.
Also, the pumpkin's vibrant color is emblematic of fall and a common decorative item. To immerse yourself in the aesthetic beauty of it all, try this coloring book for grownups: Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice. Read on for more of the season's pleasures.
Another earmark of autumn is the foliage. The vibrant colors of the trees can be stunning. It's worth a hike or a drive just to gaze at them a while, but time is fleeting for catching the trees in their full fall regalia. If you don't get enough of it, pick up this gorgeous book with more than 75 full color photographs: The Colors of Fall: A Celebration of New England's Foliage Season by Marcy and Jerry Monkman.
Next it's time to get out your rake! This chore can actually be so satisfying! The sharp crunch underfoot as you form pretty mounds of red, orange, and yellow. And even though it means redoing some of your work, it's so worth it to let passing kids jump and play in the piles of dry leaves. Pure joy! Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert is a beautiful way to teach kids about the science behind this fall phenomenon.
Autumn might mean a visit to a local farm to pick pumpkins, play in a corn maze, and ride around in a trailer full of hay. For most of us, this little foray into farm life is plenty, but in The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love, Kristin Kimball tells her story of leaving the city behind to become a farmer.
Maybe one of the reasons we like to visit farms is because it takes us back to a simpler, more idealistic time—one we can also read stories about. Willa Cather has written several great ones, including O Pioneers!, the first in her Great Plains Trilogy.
Nothing says fall like chunky knits. Whether a soft, cashmere cardigan or a cozy wool beanie, the sudden chill in the air leaves us wanting to cover ourselves in knitwear—as we knit new stuff. Along with comfy attire, this activity offers many beneficial outcomes. Among other things, knitting has been shown to reduce stress levels and improve cognitive functioning. A good starting point is Stitch 'n Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook by Debbie Stoller, and Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book is a great choice for any level knitter.
It'll cure what ails ya! Hooray for the season when we get to have soup—piping hot and delicious! This is definitely one of the perks of colder weather. For a proper bowl of steaming goodness, start with a Nourishing Broth. This cookbook by Sally Fallon Morell and Kaayla T. Daniel will not only give you the foundation for making an excellent soup base, it explains the science behind broth's magical healing qualities. It also includes yummy recipes you can make once you've brewed your miracle elixir. For more than 700 scrumptious soup recipes, treat yourself to The Soup Book by Louis P. De Gouy (He also wrote The Pie Book for another tasty fall staple!)
Reading is certainly number one on our list favorite fall activities. Check out our ThriftBooks Deals section for a pile of nicely priced new reads. You can also peruse bestsellers or trending books to see what's getting the buzz. We would be remiss if we didn't include a thematic fiction suggestion, so here you go: Pumpkin Spice Secrets by Hillary Homzie. It's a fall-themed meet-cute love story, sure to make you feel all fuzzy inside! And, of course, you can treat yourself to a pumpkin spice latte while you read!
We love hearing from you! What are your favorite things about autumn?