O Magazine's Fall Reading List

This fall brings dark (and delicious) books, from a stunning new mystery that explores the persistence of the past, to a postapocalyptic novel that wonders what happens to those left behind.
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt

240 pages; Ecco
In her whimsical mash-up of historical fiction and scrapbooking, Caroline Preston uses vintage images and artifacts, paper ephemera and flapper-era souvenirs, to enhance a narrative it appears she pecked out on a manual Corona typewriter. Apparently no junk shop or eBay seller was spared in Preston's search for ways to bring her fictional heroine to life in The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt. The novel, designed as a memory album, takes Frankie from girlhood in small-town New Hampshire—cue family photos, magazine biscuit recipes, freckle-cream ads, and an untoward relationship with an older man—on to graduation from Vassar in 1924. From there, the aspiring writer goes forth into Greenwich Village bohemia and expat adventures in Paris, including an illicit love affair, progressive political associations, flowering feminism, and encounters with famous folk like Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce. But as befits any sprightly ladies' fiction of the era, the greatest surprises await our heroine where she least expects them and teach her a fundamental lesson of early-20th-century life. You can love with the heart of an old-fashioned girl and still succeed at that most modern pursuit: an actual, thriving, honest-to-God career.
— Celia McGee