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Now that Daylight Savings has kicked in, shorter daylight hours make curling up with some good books or an E-reader sound enticing. Although this doesn’t apply to those of you in the southern hemisphere, your time for cooler weather and shorter days will be here faster than you think!

If you’re wondering how to fill the time you were spending outdoors enjoying your patio and garden, here are some literary suggestions that may ease the transition.

Good Books on Décor

Do you love bold, intricate patterns and bright, saturated colors? If so, Maryam Montague’s book, Marrakesh by Design, will help you use the building blocks of Moroccan design to spice up your own home.

Add global décor to your home.

Add global décor to your home.

Another way to add more pizazz is showcasing global décor, whether it’s from actual trips you’ve taken or items you’ve purchased. Remix: Decorating with Cultural Objects and Soul by Aphrochic bloggers and designers Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason shows how using bold colors and unique patterns along with art and accessories can help you express yourself in style.

For those of you who prefer a tamer color palette, there’s British West Indies Style, by Michael Connors, who captures the history and unique design of nearly 50 English island great houses. Fortunately, even if you don’t live on an island, you can still apply many of the techniques in your own home.

Textile designer John Robshaw has traveled all over Asia to learn the art of dyeing and printing techniques. His book, John Robshaw Prints: Textiles, Block Printing, Global Inspiration and Interiors, will take you on a trip around the globe, where you’ll learn about batiks in Java, ikats in Thailand, and indigo printing in India.

Tasty Treats

A new season also brings new flavors and cravings. Here are some good books with tasty treats for fall and winter.

After a day of raking leaves, wouldn’t you just love a dinner of fast-fix tomato-basil soup along with Gran’s stuffed turkey rolls, sweet potato casserole and cinnamon-glazed apple pie? If so, try the book Homemade Harvest, a spiral bound book of recipes plus a chapter of crafts for handmade gifts in the Gooseberry Patch series.

The next book is only in a Kindle edition, but since I’m a coffee fanatic and it got such good reviews, it made the list.  Unforgettable Fall Recipes with Coffee: Gourmet Recipes for Coffee Cakes, Sweets, Warming Coffee Drinks and Coffee-Based Cocktails by Billy Taylor features classics like Pumpkin Spiced Latte and variations like Humble Apple Pie with a Caffeine Kicker and Coffee Cake of the Gods.

Eventually, autumn turns to winter, which means it’s time to turn toward Soup, written by the editors of Cooking Light magazine. Inside are 56 nutritious and satisfying recipes, ranging from chili to Creamy Tomato and Hot and Sour. The best part? You don’t have to feel guilty when you want seconds!

Winter time is soup time!

Winter time is soup time!

The cookbook The Taste of the Season: Inspired Recipes for Fall and Winter by Diane Rossen Worthington contains 75 recipes for food that will warm you from head to toe. There are soups ((Hearty Lentil Soup with Grilled Sweet and Hot Italian Sausages), stews (Spicy chicken gumbo), main courses (Roast Duck with Lavender Honey Sauce), and desserts (Toasted Coconut Cake). Yum!

Good Books for the Gardener

Believe it or not, even if you live in a snowy climate, there are things you can do to enjoy your garden in winter. Two books, The Winter Garden: Create a Garden that Shines Through the Forgotten Season by Val Bourne and The Garden in Winter by Rosemary Verey focus on ways to use the subtle beauty of silvery white light and snow to your advantage. 

A winter garden can be beautiful too.

A winter garden can be beautiful too.

Both books include specific design suggestions for flowers, grasses, shrubs and trees that will add flair and color in the “quiet season.”   

Not everyone has to deal with snow in winter. Tough Plants for Southern Gardens by Felder Rushing is written for novice and accomplished gardeners who value the appearance of their home and benefits of well-placed landscaping but don’t want to devote too much time to keeping it beautiful.

Finally, if you just can’t wait until next spring to plant vegetables and herbs but don’t know how to grow them inside, here’s a perfect book, Indoor Gardening for Beginners: Start an Indoor Veggie Garden & Grow Your Vegetables and Herbs at Home by Mike T. Anderson. The author shares step-by-step directions and teaches the reader to grow carrots, potatoes, garlic, lettuce, microgreens, tomatoes, basil, rosemary, chives, cilantro and more.

 Good Books for Armchair Travelers

Perhaps you already have plans for a wonderful vacation trekking through the ruins of Peru, lying on a Hawaiian beach, or sipping a glass of cava in Barcelona. If you do, congratulations; I envy you!

Happily for the rest of us, there are some excellent books that can quench our thirst for travel even if we can’t leave the house.

I’ve been a fan of the Best American Travel Writing series for years. The 2014 edition, edited by Paul Theroux, features stories from sources as diverse as The New York Times magazine, Vanity Fair, Outside, GQ and much more.

Another compilation, The Best Women’s Travel Writing Stories Volume 9, invites readers to “ride shotgun alongside intrepid female nomads as they travel the globe discovering new places, people, and facets of themselves.” Follow along to destinations close to home, like Louisiana and Canada, and across the world to Afghanistan and Rwanda.

You can read about traveling too!

You can read about traveling too!

Next up? Sit back and dig into Better Than Fiction: True Travel Tales from Great Fiction Writers. Distinguished writers such as Isabel Allende, Alexander McCall Smith, Joyce Carol Oates and others share original stories that describe their passion for travel and the unexpected truths it has revealed.

Finally, for those of you who not only love to travel but also savor good food, you could take a bite into National Geographic’s Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe. Highlighted fare ranges from 5-star sushi restaurants in Tokyo and spicy Creole favorites in New Orleans to the great French wineries and hidden side-street cafés.

Now that we’ve shared some of our favorites, tell us what you’re reading this fall and winter!