Autumn is my favorite time of year. Cool, crisp air, leaves changing to vibrant reds and oranges. Oversized sweaters, pumpkin pie, warm apple cider.
Too bad we don’t really have Fall in Texas.
But whether you do or don’t get to enjoy this fabulous season in your hometown, you can create any season with a bit of help from some fabulous authors. Here are my picks for the best books to read this Autumn!
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
While I love Jane Austen’s stories, I struggle with her writing style. So Fowler’s novel about five women and one man who join together to read all of Austen’s novels in six months is the perfect solution.
“Marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable, and love happens.”
And nothing says Jane Austen better than a nice hot cup of tea on a Fall day!
It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas
“Four young ladies enter London society with one necessary goal: they must use their feminine wit and wiles to find a husband. So they band together, and a daring husband-hunting scheme is born.”
As one of the reigning queens of historical romance, I will read anything Kleypas writes.
Combine my favorite time of year, an independent American woman and London’s snottiest and most eligible bachelor? I’m so there.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
“The circus arrives without warning. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.”
I just finished this one, and while it’s not the most fast-paced plot, the prose is so seductive that it draws you in.
The story follows two rival magicians who fall in a love just as magical as the circus around them.
It has cozy sweaters, the first November snow and mulled or sparkling wine written all over it.
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
“It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.”
I probably could’ve added any novel by Stiefvater to this list as she so wonderfully captures the creep toward winter in her prose.
And there are few others out there evoke the feeling of fall more in such a unique way considering it is set on an island by the sea. Be sure to bake the novel’s iconic November Cakes before you settle in because you won’t be getting back up until you are finished.
If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
I mean just look at the cover. It practically screams October.
“In this secluded world of firelight and leather-bound books, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingénue, extra. But in their fourth and final year, the balance of power begins to shift, good-natured rivalries turn ugly, and on opening night real violence invades the students’ world of make believe.”
A mystery that will have you reaching for the pumpkin candles and a warm blanket to calm your goosebumps.
The Simplicity of Cider by Amy Reichert
“Fall in love with this charming new novel about a prickly but gifted cider-maker whose quiet life is interrupted by the arrival of a handsome man and his young son at her family’s careworn orchard.”
Something about apple orchards just scream Fall to me. And since cider the best beverage of the season (come at me, PSL freaks), it’s perfect.
Not only will you learn the fascinating details of cider-making and apple harvesting, the characters shine and make great companions for a sun-filled Autumn day.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.”
Something about the dark and stormy night upon which this adventure begins always reminds me of blustery Fall nights.
Add the strange characters and new dimensions, and you’ve got a almost otherworldly story perfect for this season.
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
Elderly aunts, old family curses, whispers of witchcraft. You can’t get much more Halloween themed than this. The story of sisters Gillian and Sally has been a long-time favorite of mine, and there’s no better time of year to read than now.
“[A] delicious fantasy of witchcraft and love in a world where gardens smell of lemon verbena and happy endings are possible.”
And if you’ve already seen the movie, you’re in for a few surprises while you read!
This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The less popular and first novel from literary icon Fitzgerald follows Amory Blaine through his first year at Princeton.
Not only does the semester start in Fall, but the season evokes a matching emotional theme of growing up and getting older.
“This Side of Paradise captures the rhythms and romance of Fitzgerald’s youth and offers a poignant portrait of the ‘Lost Generation.'”
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
While Fitzgerald does his best, nothing quite says ‘back to school’ season quite like heading back to Hogwarts, and no reading list is complete without a little Harry Potter.
“The first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.”
Rowling also does a beautiful job of evoking each season. And perk: you can cuddle up and watch the movie afterward!
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.
Thirteen-year-old Leni’s family decides to impulsively uproot and move to the wilderness of Alaska. Not the smartest decision but it made for a fantastic novel.
Winter in Alaska is beautiful but deadly, and the bulk of this story involves an unprepared family doing their best to get ready. You’ll be glad you’re reading from the safety of your couch.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
To me, Scotland screams Fall – from the misty mornings and rolling hills to the fire-warmed halls and plaid kilts. And this epic historical/adventure/romance is as good as it gets.
“Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart.”
We also have one of my favorite love interests of all time: the rugged but tender young Scot warrior, James Fraser.
The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd
We’re back to creepy with this one, and holy moly, is it creepy indeed.Victorian London, a mad scientist, a remote tropical island turned prison and a gruesome experiment gone wrong.
“Inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman’s Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.”
Don’t go to bed without expecting some very vivid and spooky dreams.
The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes
“Old Witch, Little Witch Girl, Weeny Witch, and two real girls in a fantasy that blends the worlds of reality and imagination. A Halloween classic about the power of make-believe.”
Two young girls create a world with their drawings that comes to life in a wonderful way.
Imaginative, delightful, sheer perfection and my favorite of all books a child. I still try to reread every October. Join me!
Add it to your list before Halloween!
Did I miss any? Be sure to share your autumn reading list with me as well!