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Pumpkin Autumn Challenge 2022 - To Be Read

The Pumpkin Autumn Challenge is a reading challenge created by Guimause Terrier to welcome Autumn while wrapped in a blanket, with a pile of books at hand. I've watched it from afar for a few years but in 2022 I'm ready to join the fun and make a dent in my TBR trolley. You'll find here what I've chosen to read for all the prompts, in the hope that it will inspire you!

This challenge is broken down into four menus, each one encompassing three or four subsections. Everything else you need to know is available in Guimause's blog post (click) and in her YouTube video (click). And here is my selection!

a pile of books framed by a few tomes laid vertically. A small lit candle tops the scene.
This picture is non-contractual!

Automne Rayonnant (Radiant Autumn)

  • We're all born naked and the rest is drag: LGBTQIA+ / Self-love / Diversity / Inclusivity.

This section invited me to grab the queerest book in my pile, and this one turned out to be All the Birds in the Sky by trans author Charlie Jane Anders. I bought her novel *cough cough* years *cough cough* ago but still haven't read it. And that's the whole point of this challenge for me - to read whatever gems are waiting for me on my trolley.

  • You cannot eat the money: Ecology / Anticipation / Science-fiction / Post-apo.

At the time I'm writing this, I've already read a few books for this challenge, and that is the case for this prompt: Eutopia by Camille Leboulanger. This futuristic utopia convinced me and made me think. For a more detailed review, have a look at my blog post (click).

  • The gift of the Merriwick: kindness / love / helping one another / guide / sorority / relation / healing.

I had too many ideas for this subsection, as for the first one, but I finally chose Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger. This novel promises to be soft and kind, with a lovely relationship between the heroin and a ghost dog (not sure my heart can take it). Bonus point: the heroin is asexual, which is tremendously important for me.

Automne douceur de vivre (Autumn & cozyness)

  • Two pumpkins are better than one: duology.

At first I'd planned to re-read my beloved duology Six of Crows / Crooked Kingdom, but I finally moved here the books I'd planned for "The gift of the Merriwick" (it was a real game of Tetris to create this reading list and I loved it). And so I picked Becky Chambers's duology, starting with A Psalm for the Wild-Built (find my review here) and followed by A Prayer for the Crown-Shy (review in my October wrap-up). These two novellas ended up in my list of favourite books of all time before I'd even finished them.

  • The Slanghsters House: Humour / audiobook / audio series / podcast.

Here is a section I had trouble with. I don't listen to audiobooks, nor do I listen to podcasts on a regular basis (except Procrastination, but I haven't planned to listen to everything in the space of 3 months). As far as humour goes, it's not easier because I'm so picky (read: grumpy) that I rarely read comedies. I first considered a book from my local library (The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde), but as I was reading the back of Plain Bad Heroins, which had been waiting patiently for me to fit it into this challenge, my eyes stopped at the words "sly humour" and so here it is.

  • There's no such thing as too many spices in my pumpkin pie! Food / Childhood / Family / Transmission / not-guilty pleasure.

I'm particularly excited about this section, and it didn't take me long to find a book for it: Baker Thief. It has a fearless queer baker as its main character and I don't need to say more.

  • Sing me a song Sassenach: Myth and legend / Time-travel / Magic / Wanderlust.

I picked an endless number of books for this vast prompt, and ended up associating it to a book I couldn't fit anywhere else but wanted to read soon, and which ended up working perfectly: Emmi Itäranta's The City of Woven Streets (a gem, wait for my October wrap-up).

Automne de l'étrange (Eery Autumn)

  • The mysterious inhabitants of Pottsfield: Autumn / Halloween / Samhain.

Let me tell you how surprised I was not to find one book in my trolley with an autumnal theme! Never mind, I chose to re-read a book which ends on Halloween week-end and blends together vampires and witches, namely A Discovery of Witches (which I have now read 3 times, as you will understand reading my review here).

  • Mushroom-picking: Forest / Gathering / Poison / Small People.

I interpreted this prompt quite widely and used mainly the theme of poison which is tragically important in this book: Robin Hobb's Fool's Assassin. This enables me to combine the Pumpkin Autumn Challenge and my own autumn reading challenge, which is to re-read the Fitz and the Fool trilogy between October and December. But my first pick for this prompt, which I heartily recommend, is the French short story anthology Féro(ce)cités published by Projets Sillex, and which is all about animal fantasy.

  • In the dark I hear a call : Fantasy / Ambivalence / Quest / Duplicity / Power / Darkness / Light / Destiny / Loyalty / Bad influence.

I felt this prompt was the widest, and at first I'd hoped to fit R.F. Kuang's Babel here, because I'd planned to bring it back from my Oxford trip at the beginning of September. But the novel was out of stock everywhere, and so I picked Robin Hobb's Blood of Dragons, for the same challenge I mentioned earlier, and which I had to read in September.

  • Sois vent, rêve, cendre et néant / Sois nuit, noir, âme et souhait. Fairy Tale / Gothic / Macabre / Witch / Rescue / Disappearance.

For this prompt I read Gallant by V.E. Schwab. It was a lovely discovery (find my review here), first because I absolutely enjoyed it, and then because it could hardly fit the theme better!

Automne frissonnant (shivering Autumn)

  • Ghost hunt : Exorcism / Ghost hunter / Possession / Investigation.

This whole menu made me tie my brain in knots — I'm not particularly keen on anything frightening, and so I didn't pick anything very scary. For this prompt, Ring Shout by P.D. Clark leans towards horror without ever quite reaching it. An excellent book which I reviewed here (click).

  • The portrait of evil : a cover with a face.

I own remarkably few books with a face on the cover. I usually buy my books second-hand and whenever I have the choice I pick a cover without characters at the front. But I'm glad to finally read K. Ancrum's The Weight of the Stars, for a touch of science-fiction in this fantasy-and-fantastic-heavy selection.

  • Sakuma drops in the midst of fireflies: Historical / Drama / Biography / Memoir / Brother and sister.

For this prompt I read a very small historical novel I'd been gifted a few months ago, Madeleine St John's The Women in Black (review in my October wrap-up).

Have you ever done the Pumpkin Autumn Challenge?

Would you pick one book from my selection?

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