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  • Writer's pictureGaili Schoen

Autumn and Distilled Genius by Susan Branch

If you are in need of some extra cozy delight in your life, author/artist Susan Branch has it in spades! I am currently reading Distilled Genius: A collection of Life-Changing Quotations, Branch's collected wisdom that has helped her through her darkest times (which you can read about in her book Martha's Vineyard, Isle of Dreams -- I will review it in December) as well as inspiring us to notice and appreciate all the love and beauty in our lives. I keep the book on my kitchen table and read a few pages while sipping my morning Teeccino (a non-acidic delicious coffee-substitute I savor every morning) and it helps me start my day feeling content and connected. As always, I keep post-its near by and mark the pages with quotes that really speak to me. Here are a few I have loved so far:

"Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors." ~African Proverb
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." ~Eleanor Roosevelt
"You're only given one little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it." ~Robin Williams
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is." ~Albert Einstein

Distilled Genius was published this year and would make a great gift. You can open literally any page and read something that will uplift and inspire. I particularly love her chapter on BOOKS in which Branch tells her story about her love of libraries, and recommends books some of which I have read, and many I will put on my TBR (to be read) list!


Every Fall I take out my Susan Branch Autumn: From the Heart of the Home book and revel in the gorgeous drawings and the fun fall recipes and menus. There are some great quotes here too, and I love opening chapters about Decorating for Autumn and Entertaining:

"Crowd folks around the dinner table. The closer they are to each other, the more intimate the conversation (the more FUN the dinner). Put 8 at a table for 6."
"Comfort food looks best served in pottery, wooden bowls...pewter, ironstone, silver & brown....Bread looks best served in a basket."

(For more books about how to r e l a x while entertaining click here!)

Some of my favorite go-to recipes are Branch's Figs and Goat Cheese, Prosciutto Pears, Pear Tatin, Stuffed New Potatoes, Potatoes Anna (we love pears and potatoes around here!), Farmhouse Biscuits, Orange Spiced Harvest Stew, Gingerbread Cake, Cranberry Apple Crisp and Molasses Cookies. But the best thing about Susan Branch's books is always her illustrations and borders. Every page of her books and her calendars are just gorgeous, and heart-stirring. I have the 2004 edition of Autumn, but there is an updated 2014 edition that appears to be much the same.

Do you have any books that you love to pull out and reread for the fall or winter seasons? Share some titles with us below in the comments! Happy Homey November!

P.S. Here are some of the items I mentioned in my post. I receive a tiny commission if you purchase these resources, but as always I recommend you purchase your books from your local bookstore!


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