After the humidity tantrum that was August, this September has been an absolute delight. (I’m pretending the insolently hot first week of September didn’t happen.) We are supposed to be in the seventies all week, and I’m even hopeful that we’ll get a couple of days in the sixties. The weather app constantly fluctuates, but the general range has been pretty consistent every time I’ve checked. Long story short, we are finally heading into fall, and that really does make my soul so very happy.

With that in mind, I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate the season with this apple book tag, whose text was taken from Zezee with Books. Her post bundles the apple and pumpkin book tags created by Literary Gladiators, but I have separated them into two posts because, you know, any excuse to stretch out my content.

Granny Smith: An overbearingly sweet work or character.

Little Women (Louisa May Alcott) was a sickeningly saccharine ride for the first thirteen chapters, but it eventually got its shit together. Of course, I’m still mad that Jo gave up on being a writer, in service to her never-before-mentioned dream of opening a boys’ school. It’s been a number of months since I read the book, but I don’t remember the boys’ school ever being discussed until the final chapter.

Fuji: A work about a mountain.

I was stuck for an answer, but then I remembered that Salamandastron (Brian Jacques) is literally named after a dormant volcano that has been home to countless generations of Badger Lords and fighting hares. For more information on all of these things, please see my Redwall project.

Red Delicious: A book that would be perfect if it were only judged by its cover.

This one hurts. I really, really, really wanted to love the bone shard books, because I want to support other Asian writers but also because the covers are gorgeously intricate. So if we’re judging by the covers, then, yes, the books are perfect. If we’re judging by the quality of the stories, the characters, and the world, well, I’ve already made my feelings inescapably clear.

Golden Yellow: A book with yellow on the cover.

The Toss of a Lemon (Padma Viswanathan) has got a giant lemon right smack in the middle of the cover, which is entirely appropriate. IYKYK.

McIntosh: A writer who has influenced or would influence your writing.

Say it with me: M A R G A R E T   A T W O O D 😀 (I will admit, however, that there is currently only one Atwood review on this blog, and that’s gotta change.)

Honeycrisp: A book you have read that is in great demand.

I honestly have no idea. I don’t choose books for their popularity, and my reading list tends to be severely out of date. I don’t even read my most anticipated new releases right when they come out. My reading lists are as offbeat as I am, and none of us has ever been accused of being trendy.

Baldwin: A writer you feel needs recognition due to stunted acclaim (e.g., in the case of premature death).

No one comes to mind.

Empire: A work about or set in New York City.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (V.E. Schwab) is partially set in NYC, as is The Thirty Names of Night (Zeyn Joukhadar), which I desperately need to reread.

Gala: A work that fits under multiple genres.

Plain Bad Heroines (Emily M. Danforth) is a queer historical fiction blended with supernatural horror and mystery, and I wish it explained itself better. This was another one I wanted to like more than I actually did.

Ambrosia: A long work that was easy to follow.

I still can’t believe how much I loved Heart of the Sun Warrior (Sue Lynn Tan), especially when it is packed with the kinds of things that normally drive me crazy. But this is one very special case in which all those things combined in such a way as to hit a completely unexpected sweet spot, and – unlike the bone shard books – I didn’t have any trouble following the plot.

Jazz: A work written in or after 2010, and which demonstrates freshness and originality.

I was going to put Circe (Madeline Miller) and I do stand by that, but then I read Odder (Katherine Applegate) last Thursday and it was nothing short of miraculous. I’m going to go on record saying I don’t “get” free verse, because I don’t. I have never really meshed with poetry in general, so my ability to appreciate it is somewhat blunted. That being said, Odder is absolutely charming and perfectly written, and my heart imploded about five times while I was reading it. I am so glad it was predominantly written from the point of view of a young sea otter, rather than the humans she interacts with. The book as a whole is so refreshing and light, even as it made me cry bitter tears. Fuck, I need to get my copy back from my mom so I can write up my thoughts more coherently.

As a side note, Odder (the character, not the book) is also known as Jazz because Reasons, and I’ve only just now realized how perfectly this answer worked itself out.

Mutsu: A big book in which you indulged.

I’m not sure what “indulged” is supposed to mean in the context of this question, but I suppose The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas) and Musashi (Eiji Yoshikawa) fit the bill. These books are fucking huge. I read them both in grade school and thought nothing of it (look, I was a weird kid), but as a time-strapped, burned-out adult, the brain capacity required for these books is a luxury I do not always have. I am hoping to reread Monte Cristo before the end of the year, and I am also hoping I will have the bandwidth afterwards to finally review it.

What is your favorite apple?

N/A. I am a barbarian and I cannot tell the difference between all these different apples. All I know is that raw apples make my mouth itchy, but apple pies are the best kind of pie and I will die on this hill.