Autumn Reading Recommendations (Themed; pt. 1)
Updated: Oct 20, 2021
Although the beginning of autumn is officially defined by a calendar date, it takes a specific event for it to start “feeling like autumn”. To some it’s the first leaves falling, to others it’s switching out the summer jacket for your winter coat. To me, it’s always been the first day I have to put the heater in my house on. It’s that dry warmth, the clicking of pipes and the inevitable slight smell of burned dust that accompanies that moment that rings in autumn-time for me. This week, that moment has come. So here I am, sitting in front of my humming heater, looking at a mixture of golden and green leaves outside, ready to bring you my autumn reading recommendations. I was inspired by Kayla from BooksAndLala, specifically her Overly Specifically Book Recommendations, asl well as the prompts she used in her own Fall Recommendations video. So instead of just giving you a list of books that I think work great for the season, I’m giving you 11 themed recommendations. Some prompts you may recognise from Kayla’s video, some of them are completely new. PS: if you miss feel like this list is a little light on the spooky recommendations, don’t worry: I have a part two (Spooky edition) to this list coming up a little closer to Halloween.
Books that feel like walking on crunchy leaves... Whether it's because of the fact that they all share an autumnal forest setting with lush atmospheric descriptions, or that they're all written in a crips but warm narrative style; you can practically feel the forestfloor under your feet with these books.
It’s always foggy... From thick haunted fogs to whispy coastal mists: these stories bring strong autumnal haunting vibes to the table with some atmospheric weather.
Lush and Cosy Fantasy
Fantasy has transported us to the likes of Middle Earth, Hogwarts and Westeros, but can also be the perfect escape into a cosy autumnal world of golden forests, or enchanted circustents. These fantasy books all combine an autumnal fantasy setting, with lush lyrical writing and a feeling of being wrapped up in a cosy warm blanket.
- The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton As a bonus-entry I'd mention The Sisters Grimm by Menna Van Praag and Uprooted by Naomi Novik. I personally didn't like either of these books, but I know they booth have strong autumnal vibes and are beloved by many.
Contemporary Witchy... We've all read our fair share of Salem-witch-trial inspired fiction, but what about their modern day counterparts? Contemporary witches are real in these books, whether they practice mysterious blood rituals, or benevolent cottage/green magic:
Atmospheric Magical Realism...
Staying within the theme of magic within our real world, magical realism is always my go to genre for an atmospheric, slightly cosy, yet haunting read. These three authors are among the best within this style, and although I'm only recommending my favourite book by them, any of their other works are just as deserving of a spot on this list.
Dark Academia, but make it weird... Dark Academia has hit a new popularity surge within the past few years, so much so that genre-fatigue is just around the corner for me when it comes it. Not with these three novels: they are dark academia like you've never read before. All of them are weird, all of them are a bit philosopical and all of them will leave you slightly confused and unnerved. As with anything that has the lable weird on them, they won't be for anyone, but I personally highly recommend them if you want to experience DA like you never did before.
Riddles and Games... This prompt came straight out of Kayla's video, where someone requested thrillers books with an element of a game in them. Although I'd have never thought of this specific subgenre for this list myself, the following three books fit it, and the autumnal months perfectly. The first contains a treasure hunt written within the will of a dead millionair, the second a game of D&D come to life, and the third a high-stake escape room with deadly consequenses.
Small Town Paranormal... Another prompt from Kayla's recommendations happens to coincide with a subgenre that I'm often drawn to: supernatural/horror novels, set in small towns that will often include an element of coming of age. The three books mentioned below all share a paranormal element, but won't scare the pants of you with their horror-content. For some recommendations of books that wíll, be sure to check back next week, as this prompt will be making a return in the Halloween themed part two of this list.
Tarotdecks and Things in the Woods This one is exactly as it says on the tin: the following three books have strong autumnal vibes and all share these highly specific elements. They are YA-horror/mystery novels that have an element of lush forests, and paranormally gifted characters that work their magic through cards...
Quiet Apocalypses with a Hopeful Undertone... With another year drawing to a close and nature dying all around us, autumn can sometimes feel like a tiny apocalyps. Luckily, natures little apocalypse only prepares us for a new beginning in spring again. So do the apocalypses in these three books: from an intimate and almost understated perspective, they combine the crumble of the world as we knew it with the hopeful bloom of new beginnings.
Melancholic Ghoststories... Finally, to make a headstart on part two of this list, specifically for the Halloween season, I have to talk about some of my favourite ghoststories, because what better time for those then now. These are not just ghoststories however: they are my favourite kind of ghoststory. The kind that focusses on the melancholic aspects of ghosts, rather than the spooky side of them. Emotional ghost fiction, rather than horror if you will. If you have any recommendations for more books like this: please be sure to let me know, as I can't get enough of them. For now, these are some of my favourites I've discovered so far.
I hope to have given you some inspiration to get your autumnal reading started. Be sure to check out Kayla's video for more recommendations, as she's one of my favourite creators in the community and deserves all the love she can get. If you know of any other books that would fit this list perfectly: be sure to recommend them to me, either via a comment, or via my Goodreads. Until next week and happy reading.