Fall for a good line: Five books to help ease into cooler season

Farm Forum

Fall has arrived, leaves litter the ground and the temperatures are tumbling downward.

‘Tis the season to cuddle up with a cup of coffee and a good book or five.

Now’s the time to get some reading in because too soon free moments will be spent shoveling snow and scraping ice from car windows. Nobody wants to help with those tasks, but we’re more than willing to offer some advice on good reads.

In that vein, here are five books (four released this year) you might enjoy spending some time with this autumn.

“And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini’s first two books, “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns” were brilliant but heartbreaking tales about life in his native Afghanistan. Like his first works, “And the Mountains Echoed” focuses on intense, important relationships. But unlike them, each chapter is told from the viewpoint of a different character.

Reviews for Hosseini’s third effort have been cooler than for “Kite Runner” and “Suns.” But all three have a way of tugging at the heartstrings. So when, early in “And the Mountains Echoed,” one of the characters gives away his daughter to a rich resident of Kabul, readers are set up to expect more of the same.

“I am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai

It’s always easy for adults to dismiss what teenagers have to say about life. But they shouldn’t do that with this 16-year-old Pakistani girl who has been shot by the Taliban and nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Malala Yousafzai is an outspoken advocate for the education of girls in Afghanistan. That’s why she was targeted by the Taliban in 2012 on her way home from school. In her book, she shares her story, including that of her father, also a strong proponent for education of not only girls, but all children. Some books are good. Some are important. This is both.

“Juliet, Naked” by Nick Hornby

If you haven’t read anything by witty British author Nick Hornby, do yourself a favor and change that. He plays with the language cleverly and develops likable, relatable characters in nearly all of his work. And he has a penchant for working good music and band references into his stories to boot. What’s not to like?

“Juliet, Naked,” published in 2009, remains Hornby’s most recent novel. He has a new one due in January. “Naked” melds his love of music with his love of writing. The story revolves, in part, around a past-his-prime singer-songwriter named Tucker Crowe and his desire to rejuvenate his musical career, salvage his son and find that special someone who understands his state in life.

“Inferno” by Dan Brown

Say what you will, but Dan Brown knows how to keep readers quickly flipping the pages with his mix of suspense and conspiracy theories. In “Inferno,” the impending crisis is the world’s overpopulation and an odd man who has a disturbing “solution.”

Brown’s favorite character, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, returns in “Inferno.” Predictably, he winds up in a foreign country. Predictably, he meets an enchanting female. Beyond that, though, come mystery and intrigue as Langdon relies on his expertise and sidekick to unravel a series of foggy, cryptic memories that lead him on an art-centric adventure through Florence, Venice and Istanbul.

“Fantasy Life” by Matthew Berry

Don’t get the whole fantasy sports craze? Maybe ESPN’s Matthew Berry can help you understand. Or maybe you’ll have even a lower opinion of those who grow obsessed with their fantasy football teams. Either way, Berry offers some funny stories about the lengths to which fans go to make sure they don’t miss their drafts and to embarrass the others in their fantasy sports leagues. And relates them to his life, which didn’t always seem to be en route to his current glamorous gig.

Not every tome has to be deep or touch on serious topics. This one does not. But it might be a way to get a sports junkie who struggles to pry his or her eyes away from the game on TV to spend some time reading. And that’s worth something.

Follow Scott Waltman on Twitter @ScottReports.