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10 Classics for Your Fall Reading List

10 Classics for Your Fall Reading List

It’s ‘back-to-school’ season and even if you’re a grown up or sans kiddos, you can still feed your brain by mixing some classics into your fall reading list. Fall is the perfect time to curl up in your pajamas with a good book, so make those moments count with these classic literary reads.

10 Books for Your Fall Reading List

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Grown-Up Bedtime Stories: Classics to Add to Your Reading List

1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

If you want a literary classic that is guaranteed to get your blood pumping, look no further than The Count of Monte Cristo. You could technically call this novel the first ‘action movie’ before movies. How’s this for a plot: an innocent man wrongly, but deliberately imprisoned spends his time locked away crafting a brilliant strategy for revenge against all who betrayed him. Should prove to be moderately entertaining!

2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

In the mood for a wistful fall read? Laugh and cry with Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, the literary classic that follows the four March girls in this tale of poverty, womanhood, and growing up. In short: being a woman is complicated and becoming a woman is even more so.

3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

A dash of romance in an over-the-top luxe 1920s setting. The Great Gatsby follows the story of eccentric millionaire Jay Gatsby as told by Nick Carraway, a Midwesterner who lives on Long Island but works in Manhattan. Gatsby’s enormous mansion is adjacent to Carraway’s modest home, and Carraway becomes curious about his neighbor after being invited to one of his famous parties. Romance, intrigue, and violence ensue as Gatsby’s intentions are revealed.

4. 1984 by George Orwell

This novel has seen a revival in popularity in recent years. Orwell’s story, published in 1949, unfolds in “futuristic” 1984 Oceania, the totalitarian superpower in post World War II Europe. In this world, most of the world’s population have become victims of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance and propaganda. This book was the catalyst for Big Brother paranoia. A thrilling, engaging, must-read that is as relevant today as it was 1949.

5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

A dense and truly epic read, Great Expectations is arguably Charles Dickens’ masterpiece. The tale depicts the personal growth and development of an orphan nicknamed Pip. Be warned, Great Expectations is full of extreme imagery — poverty, prison ships and chains, and fights to the death — and has a colorful cast of characters that have endure in our mainstream popular culture. One for the literary bucket list.

10 Literary Classics to Add to Your Reading List

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6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I mean, it’s fall so you have to watch the movie (any of them, really…) but why not actually read the book this season? A ‘modern’ Romeo and Juliet, this Jane Austen classic is a love story for the ages and perfect read for fall.

7. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Already have your Halloween decorations ready to go? For the horror enthusiasts, dive into the classic of classics, Frankenstein written by Mary Shelley in 1818. You know the general plot based on the book’s lasting portrayal in popular culture, but nothing quite compares experiencing the original tale.

8. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

It doesn’t get more nostalgic than New England in the fall and J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye perfectly captures the old school prep-school vibe. Set around the 1950s, the story is narrated by a young man named Holden Caulfield. Holden untangles his past in a foggy, dreamlike narrative, with a startling surprise at the end.

9. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

In case you’re not familiar with the epic takes that inspired the blockbuster movie of the same name and the Lord of The Kings films, J.R.R. Tolkien expertly crafts an entire universe filled with new races, places, and languages. Follow hobbit Bilbo Baggins as he leaves his quiet life to help a group of dwarves take back the Mountain from a dragon. Adventure awaits.

10. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Ok, so this may not fit your traditional idea of “classic literature,” but this ‘80s comedy science fiction trilogy was an adaptation of Adams’ radio series by the same name. The novel is a fictional guide book for hitchhikers galavanting around the universe with an alien, written in the form of an encyclopedia. A laugh-out-loud funny read that will awaken your childlike curiosity.

For more reading lists, movie recommendations, and fall recipes, visit our blog at thepajamacompany.com/blog.

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11 Best Summer Beach Reads

11 Best End-of-Summer Beach Reads

It’s never too late for rest and relaxation. We may have past summer’s halfway mark, but there is still plenty of time squeeze in a “beach read” (or a “rainy summer afternoon in your pajamas” read). If you’re the type of reader who reads in short, sporadic bursts — instead of cover-to-cover in a week or less, consider short stories.

Short stories aren’t just for kids and teens. There are many classic and contemporary short story collections that allow readers to complete a narrative in one sitting. These are our favorite short story collections for your end-of-summer beach read.

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Best Short Story Collections for Your Next Beach Read

1. Runaway by Alice Munro (2004)

This list is starting out strong: Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013 for her extraordinary work as “master of the contemporary short story. She also won the 2009 Man Booker International Prize for her lifetime body of work and has been called the modern-day Chekhov. Runaway is among her best collections, effortless shifting across decades. Munro has the remarkable ability to convey an entire life in a few pages.

2. Pulse by Julian Barnes (2011)

Barnes is best known as a novelist and won the Man Booker Prize in 2011 for The Sense of an Ending (sensing a theme here?). His collection of short stories, Pulse, is brilliant — steeped in social nuance and colorful details. Two particularly excellent examples from this collection are “Complicity,” about the start of a love affair, and “East Wind,” about a relationship between an estate agent and a foreign waitress. Perfect content for a beach read.

3. Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl (1960)

Everyone knows his peerless children’s books, but did you know that Roald Dahl writes adult fiction that is equally vivid and… well… wicked and a little unsettling? The stories in Kiss Kiss are brilliantly unnerving and considered a “masterclass” in the form. This collection is is a wonderful way to see Dahl in a new light.

4. This Isn’t The Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You by Jon McGregor (2012)

Set in the UK — in Norfolk and Cambridge — this collection of stories will haunt you for months. McGregor has a knack for elevating everyday occurances, turning them into small, perfectly rendered pieces of art. As one review in the Guardian noted, “The stories wrap themselves around the wholly disconcerting premise that catastrophe can rear up in anyone’s life without warning.”

5. Tenth of December by George Saunders (2013)

Winner of the Folio Prize for fiction, Saunders is, according to Entertainment Weekly, “the master of joy bombs: little explosions of grin-stimulating genius that he buries throughout his deeply thoughtful, endless entertaining flights of imagination.” Written with a mix of humor and humanity, this collection is ideal for readers who want to smile and be moved.

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6. A Life of Adventure and Delight by Akhil Sharma (2017)

Like Alice Munro, Akhil Sharma has also been likened to Chekov. A truly epic writer, Sharma’s stories in this collection feature Indian protagonists, both in India and abroad, carefully exploring complex relationships with their families, partners, and selves in flawless short form.

7. Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? By Raymond Carver (1976)

Carver’s classic 1970s collection is perfect for people who like a writer who uses one word instead of 12. Known for his short, punchy prose, Carver conveys in a few words what many novelists take several pages to express. In stories such as “Fat” and “Are You a Doctor?” he writes with flat understatement about suburban disenchantment in mid-century America. This particular collection was shortlisted for the National Book prize and was written during what Carver called his “first life,” when he nearly died of alcoholism.

8. There Are Little Kingdoms by Kevin Barry (2007)

If you’ve ever read Kevin Barry’s work before, it’s clear that he takes joy in story-telling — a joy that is palpable in his writing. It’s well, fun, to read authors that are clearly having fun. While the stories themselves are not always “joyous” — there are plenty of tales of lost souls and misfiring Irish families and friendships — this is funny, stirring writing from a unique talent.

9. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (1999)

Another prize winning read. This collection of nine stories by Lahiri won the Pulitzer Prize shortly after it was published and was named New Yorker’s debut of the year. The New York Times described the stories as containing an “uncommon elegance and poise.” The narratives explore the Indian-American immigrant experience and the alchemy of love and relationships.

10. A Selfie As Big As the Ritz by Laura Williams (2016)

Get lost in this contemporary collection by Laura Williams, a smart and funny writer who uses details that other writers would overlook, losing their punch. One critic wrote, “I admire that at the core of each story, Williams sticks to the familiar. Her writing however, her style, are anything but.” The stories aren’t a stretch and are easy to grasp, but presented in a new and entertaining format. Especially relatable for readers of a younger generation, but timelessly enjoyed.

11. The Love Object by Edna O’Brien (2014)

Edna O’Brien is a critic favorite and considered one of the great modern Irish writers. This collection spans five decades of brilliant short story writing from O’Brien whose prose style is among the most celebrated of any living author. Her characters range from lonely nuns to single mothers to modern millionaires and are consistently remarkable. Perfect stories for the beach, on the couch, or if you’re tucked in bed for the night with a cup of tea. Good luck putting this one down.

For more ideas for rest and relaxation this summer, visit The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog.

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Best Winter Reading List for Pajamas

The Ultimate Winter Reading List

After this week’s Nor’easter on the East Coast, we feel like curling up in our flannel pajamas with a good book this weekend. A hot cup of coffee and great novel is the best way to recover after a yucky week of snow, sleet, ice, and slush. The winter months are ideal for nostalgic novels, a splash of history, dark thrillers, and deeply twisted plots. Grab your fuzzy slippers and park yourself on the couch with one of these winter favorites.

Winter Reading List

Get comfortable with pajama pants and a good book this weekend.

Top 10 Books to Read in Your Pajamas this Winter Continue reading

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Fall Reading List, Best Autumn Novels to Read in Your Pajamas

Fall Reading List: Curl Up in your PJs with These Wistful Novels

The crisp fall weather inspires us to put on our warmest pajamas, curl up on the couch, and snuggle up with a soft blanket and a good book. Here we have listed our favorite fall reads across all genres. But what exactly constitutes a ‘fall read’?

When autumn sets in, the days get shorter and colder, making many people miss the carefree sun-filled days of summer. ‘Wistful’ is a word that is often used to describe books that give us a feeling of slight melancholy, usually brought on by nostalgia. Fall reminds us of childhood, school years, and signals that the holidays are just around the corner. Not all novels that remind us of fall take place in autumn. ‘Fall,’ in a feeling, is a mood that defines each of these moody classics.

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7 Reasons to embrace cooler weather

1. Hot Chocolate – When the temps get chilly, it’s the perfect excuse to enjoy a decadent cup of hot chocolate.

2. Scarves! – Cooler weather means wrapping up in your favorite scarf before you head out.  We think stripes and plaids rule!

3. Reading by the fire – It’s that season again: Light a fire and get snuggly under the blankets with a good book and a latte.

4. Soups & Chili – Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup?  Hearty beef chili?  Nothing goes better with a cool day and PJs…

5. Be a couch potato – We love cooler weather because it’s even more of an excuse to relax on the couch in our jammies. Movie marathon? Pizza delivery? Netflix binge-watch? Mac and cheese and popcorn? Bring it on!

6. Cozy Sweaters – Time to break out our coziest sweaters.  And what the heck, shop for a few new ones. Need we say more?

7. Fall Hikes – Fall weather is perfect for getting bundled up, taking the family out, and exploring the trails. Then come back home and warm up with a hot toddy. #perfectday

Image via Padurariu Alexandru

 

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Spring Reading List

“There’s so much more to a book than just the reading.”

-Maurice Sendak

We believe that curling up with a good book, a cup of coffee, and a cozy blanket is one of life’s simple pleasures. If you need a good book recommendation while you’re relaxing in the hammock or enjoying a rainy day, we’ve got you covered…

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Alice Howland, a Harvard professor is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers disease at 50 years old. As her disease progresses, she learns that who she is as a person is much more than her academic accomplishments. This book has gotten a lot of attention since it was made into a movie: the movie is really good but the book is better.

The Language of Flowers by  Vanessa Diffenbaugh

A beautiful story about a young homeless girl who discovers her gift for flowers, and uses it to touch other’s lives. The best part about this story? The transformation of the main character…

A Good Yarn by Debbie Macomber

This heart-warming book takes place in  the backdrop of a Seattle knitting shop. As several women gather and knit together, they become friends and share their real life stories –  which have happy endings. 🙂

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zavin

A sweet story of the quirky and cranky owner of a bookstore whose life is transformed when a baby is abondoned in his shop. This is a feel-good story, light read perfect for spring!

The Caller by Karin Fossum

The Caller is a dark Norweigan crime thriller – part of the Inspector Sejer series – which includes “The Indian Bride” and “Black Seconds”. What starts as a few cruel neighborhood pranks in a small town, ends with an unexpected twist.

Expecting Adam by Martha Beck

When two Harvard trained academic types learn that their unborn baby has Down syndrome it’s the catalyst for many changes in their lives. This true life story from the wise and funny Martha Beck is nothing less than magical and inspring.

Photo Credit: Dane Vandeputte via Compfight cc

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Summer Pajama Reading List

 by Becky Boyd, The Pajama Company Editor

Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.

–Vera Nazarian

Happy Summer!  Tomorrow is the official first day! Whether you have plans this summer to lounge in your pjs, chill out by the pool, or maybe in the shady hammock under a tree, a good book is always a great companion.

Here are the books that have made my summer reading list…

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

This is a historically based fiction story about the Grimke sisters of Charleston, SC, who sparked the abolishionist movement.  Its an inspiring story, with each character struggling to break free, each in their own way.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Klein

Also a historical novel, this book is the story of  orphaned and abandoned children in the 1920’s in NY city who were sent out to the Midwest to find families.  Its heart-wrenching, but at the end you feel as though the main character has found her true family.

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

I have not read this one yet, but this was on the NY Times list of best book of 2013.  This is the memoir of Sonali Deraniyagala – her tale of surviving the 2004 Tsunami, but tragically losing her family.

Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table by Ruth Reich

This is the interesting and humorous life story of Ruth Reichl (former editor of Gourmet Magazine). She takes you through her quirky childhood which included her time in boarding school and her manic depressive mother who would have dinner parties serving  old, moldy food.  She also just released her first novel last month, Delicious.

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

A dark, yet magical novel about a circus that only occurs during the night time hours.  Celia and Marco are two star-crossed lovers who must live out their destiny to become competitors.  I really didn’t expect to like this book as much as it did, but its a great read!

The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap by Wendy Welch

Another memoir, this is the charming story of a couple who decide to fulfill a life long dream of owning a bookstore, which they do in a small town in West Virginia.

What are you reading this summer?  Share with us below!

Photo Credit: susivinh via Compfight cc

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