When autumn approaches it is time to return the favor, and so I sought her out for my annual interview to get some insight into which books published this Fall will be most worthy of our attention. I found her in high spirits and unusually preoccupied.
Kenny: Hi there, Autumn.
Autumn: Ah, I was wondering when you would turn up. Hail and well met and all that. Now mind yourself and don’t get in the way of our training.
Kenny: Training? Who is training and for what?
Autumn: Why, for the seasonal primacy of course!
Kenny: Seasonal primacy?
Autumn: Sigh. I forget how little you really know, for all your airs. You have probably noted that when it comes to books the Fall list is the most exalted in the publishing industry.
Kenny: I have indeed. The holiday season and all that.
Autumn: So it appears to those who whose feeble senses do not apprise them of what is sculpted and what does the sculpting.
Kenny: I’m going to ignore your slights and ask what in the world you mean.
Autumn: You think the primacy of the holiday season is the cause of my primacy, yet it is the reverse. My victory in the Hundred Year Challenge is what shapes the importance of the events that occur during my reign. And, as you are clearly ignorant of it, the Hundred Year Challenge is a battle for primacy among the Seasons in which our book champions do battle with each other and the winner’s champions insure which Season has the primacy for the next hundred years.
Kenny: Amazing! So your picks for Fall are actually your book champions?
Autumn: Yes. This year it is very particular qualities that I am seeking indeed. Warcross, for example, by Marie Lu, was an obvious choice.
Kenny: That does seem like a no-brainer given its depiction of a worldwide contest of champions, and its all-around excellence. What are the other members of your team?
Autumn: Great. All right, then here are my other champions.First of all the sensational and delightful Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crowe by Jessica Townsend; what can’t that dear girl Morrigan accomplish? Next up I chose Dear Martin by Nic Stone, for its perseverance and endurance in an environment whose turpitude allows no true closure, an important quality.
Kenny: Those are two great choices!
Autumn: Yes, yes, of course they are, why else would I have picked them? Really, Kenny I don’t need your seconding!
Autumn: All right then, the rest of my novel members are Kristin Cashore’s Jane Unlimited, in that its multiple storylines offer me a small army of champions in a single book. I also chose Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust for its ability to resurrect that to which it is attached. It should be a good team member. One character I had to have for our side was Nahri, whose stirring exploits are detailed in S.A. Chakraborty’s sensational new fantasy City of Brass. And finally I picked The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City by Jodi Kendall. What a delightful book! It is the very model of perseverance and charm uniting to overcome obstacles.
Kenny: Formidable! But what about pic…
Autumn: Yes, yes, I have picture book champions as well. Of course I do. Really, man, think before speaking, eh? My picture book champions are Look! What Do You See? by Xu Bing; its combination of puzzles, art, and calligraphy would help keep its opponents off balance. I also chose Read the Book, Lemmings! by Ann Dyckman, illustrated by Zachariah OHora, as who could keep their composure and steadfastness of purpose confronted with its humorous aplomb? Finally I chose Emmet Otter’s Jug Band, a reprint by Russell Hoban, I know, but what book could better embody transcending difficulties, or be more life-affirming amid challenges?
Kenny: Totally agree. I was absolutely thrilled to see it coming back into print. Thank you, Autumn, and good luck to your champions, they are a formidable group indeed. I can see that the holiday season is sure to stay right where it is for another hundred years!
Autumn: Now you’re thinking. Farewell.