And I thought October would never get here. :’D I mean, this September has been lovely, and I don’t think it’s as interminable as the song suggests. But October is the start of the spooky season, the colder weather, and all the real fall vibes, which is why I pegged this tag as an October post. There are so many things I want to read this month for the vibes alone, and I honestly would not object if there were two Octobers every year.

Original tag by Literary Gladiators. Text taken from Zezee with Books.

Pumpkin: A writer you always make a point to read in October.

I wouldn’t really say I make a point to read her, but Alexis Henderson does seem to be a fall writer, and I have definitely made The Year of the Witching an October read. This year I’m planning to read House of Hunger and I am raring to go, but I haven’t allowed myself to start it yet because at the time of this writing it is not yet October. ;_;

Pumpkin Spice: A work you would read to impress a Millennial.

None. I am a Millennial and don’t feel the need to impress myself. Frankly, I’m not even sure how I would do that.

Pumpkin Pie: A work that makes you think of autumn.

I’m not entirely sure why, but Hamnet (Maggie O’Farrell) gives me such a perfect cozy fall vibe yes even with the plague lemme alone. Maybe it’s the chores and the homemaking and the general Shakespearean vibes, idk. Whatever it is, I like it.

Pumpkin Cheesecake: A work that was challenging to read but was a rewarding experience.

The Map of Salt and Stars (Zeyn Joukhadar) was extraordinarily challenging because bad things kept happening, but in the end Nour’s family did make it to safety, and they did find a warm welcome with their uncle, and the payoff of knowing they would be okay was incredible, and also can bad things stop happening to Huda please and thank you. The parallel story with Rawiya was less depressing but equally rewarding, because I am always here for badass female warrior scholars.

Pumpkin Bread: An underrated work from a well-known writer.

Everyone knows Margaret Atwood for The Handmaid’s Tale, but I happen to think that Cat’s Eye is criminally underrated. Maybe it just caught me at a good time, but I love this book and I really need to read it again.

Pumpkin Soup: A work that you first enjoyed, but then lost interest in it.

I suppose this is kind of a cheat, but I was having a hard time coming up with an answer for this question, so I’m going with Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal (Christopher Moore). The beginning was great. The Chinese and Indian sections were an avalanche of catastrophically bad stereotypes. Then the ending was great again, so it’s not that I truly lost interest, it’s that I lost interest and then got it back when we left the realm of orientalist jokes.

Pumpkin Doughnut: A light, five-star read.

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Patricia C. Wrede) is a dragon-focused series from my childhood, which I only found out about because one of my school friends was reading it with her mom, and I do thank them for introducing me to it. You don’t even need to read the whole series – Talking to Dragons (book four) was the first to be published, but Dealing with Dragons (book one) is hands down the best in the series. Having said that, I do still love the other three books, even if the end of book three makes me mad, and now I’m starting to feel like I need to do a series reread.

Pumpkin Picking: Within the last year, from which genre did you purchase the most books?

I haven’t been keeping track, but I’d guess fantasy and/or contemporary, with a healthy dose of nonfiction mixed in.

Pumpkin Carving: A work that could have been trimmed down.

Look, I know this is low-hanging fruit, but The Priory of the Orange Tree (Samantha Shannon) is etched in my mind as the most pointlessly long book I’ve ever read. A close (and more recent) second would be The Bone Shard Emperor (Andrea Stewart), which tried my patience so many times and in so many ways. To this day I still cannot believe I made it through that book, let alone the entire series.

Pumpkin Painting: A book with magnificent illustrations.

Fire & Blood (George R.R. Martin) includes full-page illustrations. It’s been a while since I’ve read the book, but I remember liking the pictures.

Pumpkin Ice Cream: The most random work you would recommend.

If we’re talking about “random,” Build Your House Around My Body (Violet Kupersmith) will win every time, though nothing in this book is genuinely random. The story is so loose and raw and yet at the same time absolutely watertight, and, though I know others have struggled with it, I didn’t find it confusing. Frustrating and sometimes infuriating, yes, but never confusing. I loved this book so much that I ordered a copy of it after returning it to the library. This is another one I need to reread, and soon. Even if it’s set in Vietnam during some very hot weather, it’s a fall book for sure.

What is your favorite way to enjoy pumpkin?/What is your favorite dish in which pumpkin is the main ingredient?

I actually don’t enjoy pumpkin, but at a work potluck I once tasted some pumpkin cheesecake bars that were so good I asked for the recipe. This was several years and several jobs ago. I still have not made them. Now that I think about it, I don’t even know where the recipe is.