10 Books that Feel Like Fall
We feel like we wait all year for the leaves to change and the air to cool to a crisp. Fall dredges up the nostalgia of back to school and brings with it misty, moody weather and crunchy, colorful leaves coating the sidewalks as the trees burst into color.
This isn't the season for beach reads and lighthearted romance; this is the season for darker, richer books you read by the fire with tea, and rain pelting the windows outside. In this more melancholy season we tend to reach for dark journeys, cozy mysteries, and atmospheric books we can really sink into. This is the season we breathe a sigh of relief as we welcome a new, deeper season of books into our lives as the light hearted sunshine of summer fades to gray.
1. The Secret History | Donna Tartt- Of course we have to start here. This book is probably the most atmospheric, haunting book I've ever read. Tartt's debut novel is practically a cult classic by now, and if you haven't read it, this fall is the perfect time to join the club. Told in an incredibly elegant voice, this is a story of Dionysian rites going terribly wrong, of cruel friendships, glittering wealth, secrets, blackmail, and murder all set against the familiar backdrop of the wonders of college life and brilliant fall in New England. Can it veer toward the melodramatic? Absolutely. But that doesn't dampen how deeply enjoyable is is to read.
2. Murder on the Orient Express | Agatha Christie- When a cozy mystery is what you need to warm up, anything by Christie is just the ticket. We're partial to this one for fall because of the intimacy of the setting, the train stuck in the snow, and the creepy knowledge that the murderer is still on the train. Christie does a great job with her characters and with building tension before having Poirot brilliantly solve the mystery. It feels old timey and delightful, is a quick read, and is just the perfect book to tease your brain as you cuddle up under the blankets. Read it before the movie comes out on November 10th!
3. The Night Circus | Eric Morgenstern- A dark circus, a twisted love story, magical powers, evil wizards and breathtakingly beautiful displays of power. I enjoyed this book so much more than I thought I would, and it's always a go-to re-read in the cooler months for me. Something about the night settings, the magic, and tone are just so appealing when the weather is gray and drizzly. Expect an exceptionally lovely, slow burn of a book.
4. The Name of the Wind | Patrick Rothfuss- This book feels like misty roads and firelight glinting off stone and taverns and deep magic. It's over 600 pages long but is easily one of the most page turner-y books I've ever read. It's essentially a hero's journey, but is so clever and fresh, with perfect world building and just amazing characterization, all thrown in with some mystery. It's such an engaging, human novel for fall; the hero definitely isn't infallible and it's great watching him learn. Fans of the series are eagerly awaiting book 3, but there's a sequel and a companion novella available if you like this one!
5. The Picture of Dorian Gray | Oscar Wilde- This book is creepy and atmospheric, full of viciousness, madness, and obsession. Most of you will be familiar with the plot, but Wilde is just a brilliant writer, and the themes of the book paired with his masterful prose make this a great one to pick up this fall. Especially go for this if you want a book that will make you think while being a gorgeous read.
6. In Cold Blood | Truman Capote- Truman Capote's masterpiece is an astounding work of narrative fiction. It recreates, in detail the murders of an entire family, shot point blank, in rural Kansas on November 14, 1959 and the bitter aftermath. It took Capote 5 years to fully research and write this existential tragedy of true crime. In the capable hands of Capote, you are drawn intimately into a rich reconstruction of the background, murders, capture, trial, and eventual execution of the killers, as well as the impact the murders have on the town. The novel is so amazingly detailed and profound, and offers such poignant insight into society and violence in America. Well worth reading, especially when you crave intensity and suspense.
7. The Party | Elizabeth Day- I love a good dark, unreliable narrator in the fall and this one explores unrequited love with a narrator who's view of reality is a bit different than that of everyone around him. It's rich people problems and cover ups and school boy friendships and mystery with absolutely pitch perfect pacing. I really love what a unique take on this genre the book is, and found it just a really enjoyable read.
8. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet | Becky Chambers- I know this is science fiction, but it is the absolute best and warmest book I've read all year. Because it is so character driven, I don't think the sci-fi part would be a turn off to someone who doesn't usually read the genre. Not only is it warm, but well layered and flawlessly woven together with truly, truly amazing characters. It hits the right balance of being character driven while still maintaining a solid plot and is such a perfectly cozy pick for fall! Oh and if you're a fan of the show Firefly, you will absolutely want to pick this up.
9. Jane Eyre | Charlotte Bronte- Pretty much the perfect book to read with a big warm mug of tea by your side, it's a classic gothic novel, and therefore just an amazingly moody fall read. Horrible boarding schools, a madwoman in the attic, a complicated love story, and more haunt the pages of this book. Plus, Jane herself is quite the admirable heroine; fiery and strong under her calm, plain exterior, it's very easy to appreciate why she is so beloved and why this book has endured, and fall is the absolute perfect time to pick it up.
10. Possession | A.S. Byatt- If you need melancholy and substantial this fall, pick this one up. Lyrical prose, parallel stories, and multiple points of view combine to create essentially a love letter to reading and to scholarship. It has pretty much everything you could want in a fall read; college campuses, dusty books, love letters, art, history, secrets, dark stormy nights, and a pervading sense of longing.
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Tell us, what are your very favorite books for fall?? We'd love to add them to our own TBR piles this season!