Great Books to Read in the Fall

Books to Read This Fall

Fall is my favorite season for a variety of reasons — the clothes, the food, the theoretical chill in the air — and it’s really no surprise that many of my favorite books are tied to the season. I just find that, as far as books to read in the fall, there are many great options. There’s something about the season — the shift away from the rebirth of spring and summer and towards the darker portion of the year — that really just challenges the mind. I put together a concise list of seven great reads to get you into the autumn — and Halloween — spirit. Whether you’re looking for spooky or romantic, classic or contemporary, I’m sure you’ll find an enticing title here.

P.S. Do you like the crochet coasters pictured here with my iPad? Click here all of the handmade coaster sets available in my crochet shop, Critter Crafting.

Looking for more great reading recommendations?
Check out my post on great books to read in the summer here!

Seven Great Autumn-Inspired Reads

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I will take any opportunity to suggest people read my favorite series ever, Outlander. What better time than fall to escape to the Scottish Highlands with Claire and Jamie, in the series’ inaugural book?

Plus, the novel opens with Claire visiting Inverness during Samhain, the Gaelic festival often equated with Halloween.

Diana Gabaldon’s writing is evocative and transportive. The book (and series) are lengthy, but the detail and descriptions throughout are well worth the time.

Amazon | Bookshop

P.S. Explore more Outlander posts of mine here!

Dracula by Bram Stoker

I’ve included a few quintessential Halloween reading options, and Dracula certainly ticks all those boxes. Featuring the original vampire, the novel follows a series of dichotomies: good versus evil, life versus death.

Bram Stoker’s iconic and chilling work is a fascinating read whether you’re interested in classic literature or not. Told through a series of letters, Stoker’s Dracula introduces the vampiric tropes commonly seen today, including the idea of garlic as a repellant.

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The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray

A quicker read, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is a quintessentially gothic novel. In this classic novel, the protagonist — a wealthy, attractive young man — sells his soul to prevent aging.

As time passes, Dorian Gray remains youthful and beautiful, while an oil painting of his likeness takes on all the ravages of time.

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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Another of my quintessentially Halloween-inspired selections, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a fascinating tale about humanity’s role in monster creation.

Also known as “The Modern Prometheus,” Frankenstein follows a young scientist who creates an animate creature. Interestingly, while the term “Frankenstein” has come to refer to the monster, the name actually belonged to the creature’s scientist-creator.

As a female-written literary classic, I can’t recommend this one enough. Everyone should read it at some point in their lives.

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The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

Historical fiction set in England in the late 19th century, Sarah Perry’s 2018 novel offers a strong female lead against the backdrop of superstition and folklore. The Essex Serpent, a mythical creature thought to roam the marshes of the coastal town, intrigues protagonist Cora, an agnostic amateur naturalist.

Much of the novel focuses on Cora’s interaction with a local vicar, a man of faith who challenges her own views. The Washington Post was pretty spot on when they related the heroine — and, as such, the book itself — to Elizabeth Bennet. It’s very Lizzie and Mr. Darcy.

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Grace by Paul Lynch

Described as Dickensian in design, Paul Lynch’s Grace follows a young Irish girl as she is forced from her home just before the start of the Irish Famine. The protagonist and her brother traverse the rugged and wild Irish landscapes in a lyrical prose.

This coming-of-age novel can be a bit confusing at times, because of the unique style of prose, but it is nonetheless engrossing. Whether you’re interested in Irish history or not, this story is a poignant portrayal of the human spirit.

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Not unlike Outlander, the romantic-yet-bleak landscape of Wuthering Heights is one of the perfect books to read in the fall and autumn. Mystifying and powerful, Emily Brontë’s only published novel is a quintessential example of the tragic gothic genre.

Alongside the multi-generational narrative of status-fueled relationships, the novel features a nuanced critique of Victorian ideals. With windswept moors and lost love, Wuthering Heights is a chilling and classic read.

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Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

The first complete novel from Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey is the epitome of horror parody. It features Austen’s iconic wit and social commentary, which is as timely as ever.

With a gothic literature obsessed heroine, Northanger Abbey follows a heroine who sees intrigue and mystery everywhere. The heroine, Catherine Morland, experiences the joys of fashionable society for the first time, and her imagination generally gets the better of her.

Amazon | Bookshop

What is your favorite book to read in the fall? If you’ve read any from my list here,
which did you most enjoy?

*This post was originally published on October 13, 2020. It was most recently updated on September 19, 2021.