It’s that time of year again with crisp air, changing leaves that crunch beneath your feet, hot cider, pumpkin patches, and lazy Sundays spent reading. This is my favorite time of year, not only because it’s Halloween season—are you the type of person that believes Halloween starts September first? I am, I admit—but because it’s the perfect time of year to cozy up underneath a blanket with the window open for that crisp fall breeze, a favorite hot beverage and a book in hand. Whether you are looking for a spooky story to get you in the mood for Halloween, a lighthearted romance, a heartwrenching coming-of-age set in 1970’s Alaska wilderness, an atmospheric mystery, or want to reread a childhood classic, here are my fall reading recommendations!
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
The book that you will clear your weekend plans for, The Great Alone is a coming-of-age set in 1974 Alaska with a family that is in crisis and the ultimate test of survival. A family moves to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in what seems like an answer to their prayers. Until winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, when the family begins to fracture and Leni and her mother learn they are on their own, there is no one to save them in the wild but themselves.
The Girl From Blind River by Gale Massey
Blind River is a town you would not want to be caught in but makes for the ideal atmospheric thriller that everyone should be reading this fall. Gale Massey takes you to a small town in America where we focus on the Elders family—Jamie Elders is nineteen-years-old, trying to escape from the small town of Parsons, New York and away from her family’s reputation after her mother’s conviction. One choice leads to her landing in a large debt to her uncle, Loyal, which continues to unravel and put her in even more danger after he demands she clean up a mess one night—disposing of a dead man and covering up his connection to the town’s powerful judge. Read my full review here.
A domestic drama set in the English countryside that gives a fresh perspective on art, belonging, temptation and sex, physical and emotional violence, and cultural differences. Mirka is a Slovakian woman who believes she has accepted a job as an au pair for Sophie and Richard, but upon arriving learns that she will be Richard’s taxidermy assistant while also helping Sophie run their many business ventures as their estate is used as a B&B, wedding venue, and gathering spot for shooting parties. Read my full review here.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter was a series that I’ve wanted to read since I was a child and finally started last year. It’s that childhood classic that’s a great choice to read to welcome this chilly weather. Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake – and her own.
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
Her Body and Other Parties is a riveting 8-story collection that is a gritty, provocative debut. It’s a fusion of magical realism, horror, supernatural and fantasy that focuses on women’s lives and their bodies. A wife refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store’s prom dresses. Read my full review here.
Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski
A relatively short novel — only 225 pages — Six Stories is packed with a mighty punch; an original atmospheric story told in a series of six interviews by investigative journalist Scott King, as he attempts to discover the truth behind Tom Jeffries mysterious death at Scarclaw Fell twenty-years ago. Read my full review here.
Grace Grows by Shelle Sumners
That swoony, lighthearted read you’ll want to read this fall. I read this years ago, but it’s one I always want to read again during the cooler months because it’s that well-crafted romance that leaves you lovestruck. A realistic fiction filled with life challenges and fond characters—Always a planner, Grace feels prepared for most eventualities. Until the responsibility-challenged Tyler Wilkie shows up. Fresh in town from the Poconos, Tyler has warm eyes, a country drawl, and a smile that makes Grace drop things. Worst of all, he writes devastating songs. About her.
There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya
An unsettling short story collection with a creepy atmosphere and morbid themes throughout the nineteen stories that were both dark and otherworldly. It’s a quick read to get into the Halloween mood and a great pick for all the readathons happening this coming October! Vanishings and apparitions, nightmares and twists of fate, mysterious ailments and supernatural interventions haunt these stories.
Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan
A touching, atmospheric read that you will become invested in, and rooting for Ren to find out what happened to his sister and her secrets. There is an eerie otherworldly feeling that surrounds the town of Akakawa with its peculiar characters that makes it a great choice for an unsettling read this time of year—it’s far more than an eerie mystery, with complex characters and plot. Clarissa Goenawan writes brilliantly, and Rainbirds is one book that I will never forget. Read my full review here.