One of the best things about autumn is nestling up by the window in a cosy jumper, with a hot drink in one hand and a great book in the other, reveling in the outdoor beauty that is autumn. But it’s essential to pick up a book that matches such a setting – whether it’s one that includes atmospheric fall details or gets you in the mood for spooky season.
As the nights grow darker and the trees change colour, swap out your summer reading list for a collection of books that give off those crisp autumnal vibes. We’ve put together the ultimate list of books to read this season, both old and new.
It was certainly tricky to choose just 10 recommendations (because really there are thousands of autumnal books to love), but we’ve tried to include a variety of genres to suit every type of reader. In no particular order…
Erin Morgenstern’s 2001 debut novel, The Night Circus, is a number one bestseller that’s been sold and loved all round the world – and it’s not hard to see why!
It’s a magical, enchanting story of dueling love-stuck magicians, featuring charming elements of the Victorian age with a familiar, modern twist. Morgenstern cleverly creates a more enchanting version of an imagined past, that oozes with a magical autumnal atmosphere. It completely encompasses this story, really making you feel as if you’re wandering the cobbled streets described on a cold night in October.
Ultimately, The Night Circus is a comforting read that includes themes of magic, the power of love, and rivalry. It’s been compared to the likes of Harry Potter and Twilight, so if you love those, definitely give this book a try.
This children’s classic has to be on the list for 2 reasons. 1. Anne loves Autumn and 2. We’d make any excuse to recommend it (yes it’s that good).
The 11-year-old, freckle-faced orphan, Anne, finds herself with an adoptive family on the remote Green Gables farm. When she realises that the Cuthberts wanted to adopt a boy and that she was sent there by mistake, she begins to try to win them over.
We recommend this book to people of all ages this autumn! Anne’s description of the scenery at Green Gables captures the charm and warmth of fall perfectly.
The Thirteenth Tale is a gothic suspense novel that’s been published in 38 countries worldwide, has sold more than three million copies and even been made into a major BBC film (the book is better… not that we’re biased or anything)! It’s a multi-layered mystery that tells a tale of madness, murder and dark secrets – making it perfect for the run up to Halloween.
The Thirteenth Tale tells two parallel stories, one of the abandoned Angelfield House that once housed the March family. It hides a chilling secret which strikes at the heart of each of them, tearing their lives apart. The other story is of Margaret Lea who is investigating Angelfield’s past, the truth she uncovers sheds a disturbing light on her own life. It’s a great read for anyone that loves a good mystery.
In the Middle of Fall is the perfect book for kids to explore the sounds, sights, smells, and textures of a new season.
From the husband and wife team comes this lovely picture book about the changing seasons. Critics say it’s “Masterfully conceived and executed.”, and we have to agree. It perfectly captures the sights many children experience during the transition to autumn.
If you’re looking for a book to get you into the Halloween spirit, look no further than The Year of the Witching. Alexis Henderson tells a story of a young woman living in a rigid, religious society who discovers dark powers within herself and the truth of how she came to be – featuring witches, runes and a craving for liberation.
It’s spooky, smart, and encompases feminist fantasy in the best way. An excellent read for the spooky season.
John Irving wrote The Cider House Rules right at the beginning of his prolific and critically acclaimed career, and like many of his others, it’s a great novel to get lost in. Issues of abortion, homosexuality, free will and racial differences are covered making it an thought provoking read.
Set during the early 19th century, Home Wells is an orphan in St. Cloud. Having never been adopted, he becomes the protege of orphanage director and obstetrician physician, Dr. Wilbur Larch. Homer assists Dr. Larch with troubled mothers and their unwanted babies and even illegal abortions, but he yearns for a life away from the orphanage.
With references to fall throughout, we think this is another good addition for your autumn reading list.
We had to throw a proper classic onto the list, and none fits the bill better than Jane Eyre! Besides having major autumn vibes throughout, it’s a fantastic love story that will have even the coldest of hearts swooning.
If you’re not familiar with the story, Jane arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. She falls in love with his troubled yet kind spirit. But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbidding Thornfield Hall.
As a standard in English literature, Jane Eyre is one of those absolute must reads!
Ali Smith’s Autumn is the first in her seasonal quartet, a series of four novels set in a different time of year. There’s no better way to celebrate autumn than to read a book utterly immersed in it!
It’s a post-Brexit novel of love, truth, and time in which 32-year-old Elisabeth Demand reflects on her almost lifelong romantic-spiritual love affair with 101-year-old Daniel Gluck.They look to both the future and the past as the UK stands divided by such a historic event. A fantastic love story to get you in the spirit of fall!
Plus, by reading this & its sequels you’ll have something to read in winter, spring and summer too.
Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf is an informative children’s book that will provide young readers with a better understanding of the nature around them in a rich introduction to the life of a tree.
The story is of a child that observes the life cycle of a maple tree. Begging as a fallen seed that sprouts in the woods, to being sold at a nursery, replanted and cherished in a new home. It’s a great autumn book for children aged 4-8.
Another good book to kick off the change of seasons is The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. It tells a story of a family seeking a new beginning in the wilderness of Alaska, only to find that their unpredictable new home is less threatening than the erratic, violent behaviour found in human nature. It’s packed with detailed descriptions of Alaskan scenery which definitely set the scene for the season.