The Best Long Books to Savor in Fall and Winter

It just took me a whole month to finish a book—Jonathan Franzen’s Great American Novel, Freedom—and man, what a great way to slide into fall. That and tea: lots and lots of tea. Fall is my favorite season of year, closely followed by Christmas (and yes, I count that as a season, not a holiday!). I have a side to me known as “The Elf,” and the Elf enjoys a spirit of generosity, cheer, and spontaneous good deeds. The Elf goes into high gear around October 1 through December 31. Many crafts are undertaken, many ambitious baked goods and complicated soups are crafted in my kitchen, and I start another scarf I won’t finish. And of course, the fall and winter are perfect excuses to stay inside—all readers know this. I enjoyed how Freedom transported me from humid mid-September to the breezy, crisp mid-October, the chill of the AC morphed into the chilly air from my window. And so, I have been feeling a return to long novels. A few years ago, I read The Goldfinch, Outlander, and Flowers from the Storm all in a span of a few months. I was hooked on the bigger-is-better theory and read—or, let’s be honest, only acquired—many huge tomes, but...

The Best Cookbooks to Get You Excited for Fall

One of the reasons why I love the fall so much is it makes me excited about cooking again. I never feel like eating much in the summer heat, so I usually scale back my cooking and baking operation in the hottest months of the year. But as the calendar flips to September and my iPhone gives me nothing but highs in the 70s, I sigh and know it’s time to buy some yeast and stock up on parchment paper—not to mention pumpkin-themed cupcake liners and glittering red and green sprinkles. I also pull my trusted and most reliable fall-appropriate cookbooks off the shelf for inspiration. Certain cookbooks are just meant for the fall and winter months. Given the bounty of the fall harvest, I want to be making soups and stews and vegetable-heavy main dishes. If I climb out of cool, crisp sheets and put slippers on in the morning chill of first frost, I’m going to want to find something using cinnamon and nutmeg to fill the house with the undeniable, intoxicating smell of October. Here are a few of my favorite cookbooks that capture the spirit of autumn. Here’s hoping you find inspiration to tackle a new recipe, whether...

Announcing the Backlist Timey Wimey Reading Challenge

Lately, I’ve been morose, realizing that I’m going to finish this year having read approx. 60 books, the same as the last two years, give or take. This year I focused mainly on new releases, attempting to answer my eternally plaguing angst question of: What does it mean to be “well read”? This year, my answer was, read enough new releases to be up to speed, to be able to have read enough books published this year to legitimately craft a year end “best of” list. Cocktail party chatter for cocktail parties I never went to. And yes, I’ve accomplished that, and yes, I know it’s still the end of September, but I feel like I’ve cheated myself, and I’ve cheated my ambitions to be “well read,” and wasted time on some admittedly mediocre 2016 books—that I knew going into it were not going to rock my world and were probably 3-4 star reads at best—while overlooking some books that are older and that could indeed be life changing reads. After all, I read The Secret History, A Visit from the Goon Squad, Flowers from the Storm, and A Song of Ice and Fire backlist. So here I am, readers, hoping...

Welcome to the Fall Publishing Season | FAQ for Pre-Order

Aaaannnd…. Here we go! It’s fall publishing season 2016, baby, and I am drowning in pre-orders… more than 30 between now and the end of the year. I am not really big into advanced review copies. I’ve always felt icky about an obligation to read something—even with book club—because I believe the freedom to read (or should I say… FREADom) whatever you want is as much one of the “certain unalienable Rights” I have in my country. Does this look familiar to you? On Any Given Tuesday, I wake up to packages outside. It’s a little bit like Christmas. Like this early-October photo from last year, where five books were just dropped off by the dedicated drone they have at the nearest Amazon warehouse in Delaware. I’m super excited for pre-order season, so I thought I’d write an article about how you can do to prepare for a bookageddon. This of course includes when you’ve requested a million holds through the library system and they all come it at once week by week. If you’re feeling nervous with anticipation or getting cold feet—how am I going to read all these books? I’m just about to drop $500 on pre-orders—am I insane? What if five...

Book Review of “A Study in Charlotte”

In today’s post we look at a book review of , Brittany Cavallaro’s promising debut YA mystery and the first in a trilogy. Recently I updated some things on Goodreads—finished a book, marked it Read, checked out my “2016” shelf to see how many books were on it—and learned something surprising about myself. I discovered that my average rating had dropped to 3.58. So out of 227 books I’ve marked as “Read” since October 2010, four have no star rating because they did not earn even one star, and the remaining 223 were rated a 3.58 on average. Damn. When did I becomes so critical? Probably 2014, the year my read-per-year number jumped to 53 books, up from 22 in 2013 and 15 in 2012. My relationship to reading has changed as the years have passed. When I graduated college in 2011, I was grateful to read just about any book. Similarly, I went through a few years of holding jobs that were less than intellectually stimulating, so I erred on the side of anything I read and remotely liked as a five star or four star read due to pure escapism. But since I started reviewing and writing about books...

Greetings Fellow Reader!

Welcome to Broke By Books, a blog by Sarah S. Davis, where the guiding mission is to spread a contagious love for reading through helpful, thought provoking, and enjoyable writing about books. Please join me in growing an inspired, engaged, and fearless reading life.

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