The Help Desk: It's thick book season!

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Dear Cienna,

When I was a kid my parents always had one of those big thick 70s novels going. The Godfather. Roots. Shogun. I was too young to read them then, but I'm thinking that this might be a good time to dig into all those thick, engrossing historical stories. Hell, I might even drum up a few friends and do a themed book club. Any other novel to throw on the pile?

Darrel, White Center

Dear Darrel,

Fall is the best of all seasons – spiders are growing their winter coats, making them perfect for cuddles; drinking whiskey for breakfast can be excused as medicinal; and forests look like living rainbow flags in which every tree's an ally. It is also the best time to get your lineup of epic novels ready before winter blots out the sun and takes a shit on your precious stores of optimism.

You've got a healthy start to your reading list. I'd recommend adding Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, which reads like a melodramatic soap; nevertheless, its eloquence in portraying the constricted roles of "proper" women in society is still pretty topical.

I've also got Roberto Belaño's 2666 and L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time series on my list for this winter. I'dd add them to your list if, like me, you have any stuffy friends or judgy children you're looking to impress.