1 Drink and 4 Books to Enjoy this Fall
Ahh Fall. It’s such a cliche but I really love Fall. Since moving to the US of A I have come to fully embraced the PSL, hygge-filled, flannel and scented candle season of Fall. Especially since I moved to New England, Fall is basically a way of life here and I’m very ok with that. My favorite Fall activity is still curling up under a blanket with a hot drink and a good book. (What can I say? I am an introverted bookworm at heart).
Although of course you can ready all types of books year round (and I do) there’s something about the cooler weather that makes me gravitate towards a certain kind of book. While in the summer I love page-turning romance and crime fiction, I like to slow down a bit in the Fall. I love a good family saga, a rich and complex narrative, and a bittersweet plot. Below are four books that I think are absolutely perfect books for this season and one of my favorite drinks to go along with them: Café de Olla.
Mexican coffee or Café de Olla is a hearty, sweet coffee that is traditionally made in clay pots. It is infused with sugar and spices the perfect drink to sip on a chilly fall afternoon. Sip it slowly and enjoy it alongside a good book!
Café de Olla
6 cups of water
6 tablespoons of ground coffee (not instant) roast of your choice
2 cinnamon sticks
1 piloncillo or 1 cup tightly packed brown sugar (less if you prefer it less sweet)
2-3 whole cloves (optional)
1 star anise (optional)
In a pot, bring the water to a boil then carefully add the piloncillo, cinnamon sticks, cloves and star anise. Let the mixture get to a gentle boil and stir occasionally until the piloncillo dissolves completely. Once the Piloncillo has dissolved and the mixture is at a gentle boil add the 6 teaspoons of ground coffee. Stir to mix well and let the coffee simmer for 5 more minutes. Strain the coffee with a tight mesh sieve or cheese cloth before serving.
Four Fall Reading Recommendations
Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
The Santiago family lives in a gated community in Bogotá, safe from the political upheaval terrorizing the country. Seven-year-old Chula and her older sister Cassandra enjoy carefree lives thanks to this protective bubble, but the threat of kidnappings, car bombs, and assassinations hover just outside the neighborhood walls, where the godlike drug lord Pablo Escobar continues to elude authorities and capture the attention of the nation.
When their mother hires Petrona, a live-in-maid from the city's guerrilla-occupied slum, Chula makes it her mission to understand Petrona's mysterious ways. But Petrona's unusual behavior belies more than shyness. She is a young woman crumbling under the burden of providing for her family as the rip tide of first love pulls her in the opposite direction. As both girls' families scramble to maintain stability amidst the rapidly escalating conflict, Petrona and Chula find themselves entangled in a web of secrecy that will force them both to choose between sacrifice and betrayal.
The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles
Skinny, nine-year-old orphaned Dores is working in the kitchen of a sugar plantation in 1930s Brazil when in walks a girl who changes everything. Graça, the spoiled daughter of a wealthy sugar baron, is clever, well fed, pretty, and thrillingly ill behaved. Born to wildly different worlds, Dores and Graça quickly bond over shared mischief, and then, on a deeper level, over music.
One has a voice like a songbird; the other feels melodies in her soul and composes lyrics to match. Music will become their shared passion, the source of their partnership and their rivalry, and for each, the only way out of the life to which each was born. But only one of the two is destined to be a star. Their intimate, volatile bond will determine each of their fortunes--and haunt their memories.
In the Distance with You Carla Guelfenbein translated from the Spanish by John Cullen
Vera Sigall, now eighty years old, has lived a mysterious, ascetic life far from the limelight of literary circles. This powerful character has a profound effect on those around her—Daniel, an architect and her neighbor and friend, unhappy in his marriage and career; Emilia, a Franco-Chilean student who travels to Santiago to write a thesis on the elusive Vera; and Horacio, an acclaimed poet with whom Vera had a tumultuous, passionate affair in her youth.
As Daniel, Emilia, and Horacio tell their stories, they reconstruct Vera’s past, and search for their own identities. Spanning from modern-day Chile to the 1950s, 60s, and through the years of the Pinochet dictatorship, In the Distance with You reveals successive mysteries and discoveries like a set of Russian nesting dolls.
Everyone Knows You Go Home by Natalia Sylvester
The first time Isabel meets her father-in-law, Omar, he’s already dead—an apparition appearing uninvited on her wedding day. Her husband, Martin, still unforgiving for having been abandoned by his father years ago, confesses that he never knew the old man had died. So Omar asks Isabel for the impossible: persuade Omar’s family—especially his wife, Elda—to let him redeem himself.
Isabel and Martin settle into married life in a Texas border town, and Omar returns each year on the celebratory Day of the Dead. Every year Isabel listens, but to the aggrieved Martin and Elda, Omar’s spirit remains invisible. Through his visits, Isabel gains insight into not just the truth about his disappearance and her husband’s childhood but also the ways grief can eat away at love. When Martin’s teenage nephew crosses the Mexican border and takes refuge in Isabel and Martin’s home, questions about past and future homes, borders, and belonging arise that may finally lead to forgiveness—and alter all their lives forever.