Well, it’s officially Fall, even though it doesn’t really feel like it in Texas. Even though we’re still having 90-degree days, I’m still in the mood to do some seasonal reading, and I feel like there are more to choose from this year than ever! I’ve been very drawn to re-reads and classic mysteries lately, and you’ll see those reflected in my lists below. I’m including cozy mysteries, spooky stories, and comforting, curl up with a blanket Fall reads! Hopefully you can find a few to add to your own seasonal reading list. Let me know if there are some I need to add to mine!
*Books marked with an asterisk were sent to me by the publisher! All opinions are my own!
I have been in such a mood to re-read lately, something I don’t do nearly as often as I would like. New books and a staggering nightstand stack (not to mention several shelves of unread books and an overflowing book cart) are what generally keep me from picking up a book I’ve read before, but I’m determined to read these 3 by the end of November. They are 3 of my very favorite classic books, and they each have a dark, foreboding tone that is perfect for Fall!
Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
Rebecca is one of my favorite books, but I haven’t read it in years! Rebecca is swept off her feet by a handsome widow and taken away to Manderley, his mansion. When she gets there, she has to fight the presence of his dead wife, as well as the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers. This could also fit into the Spooky category, as it’s a classic gothic novel. If you haven’t read it, this is the year to do it! For a really spooky night, watch the Alfred Hitchcock movie version, followed by the classic film Gaslight. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
This is my favorite Agatha Christie mystery! I first read it in 8th grade, and was absolutely hooked. 10 strangers are invited to spend a night on a private by a mystery host. When the host is nowhere to be found, and the guests start turning up dead one by one, they have to figure out who among them is the murderer. It’s a great Christie book to start with if you haven’t read any, and not too long-perfect for a Fall evening! (If you’re like me and you can’t help but research background information of books, Google the history and controversy behind the title. This definitely isn’t the original title!)
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
I’m going to say something controversial and dividing. I haven’t watched The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu yet. I KNOW. But I want to. I don’t love everything Margaret Atwood has written, but I do love this book. It’s dystopian literature about what would happen if men were in charge and women were used as wives and procreators only, and it is so, so good. If you haven’t read Atwood before, or didn’t love some of her newer novels, try this one. I think anyone can enjoy it, and it will give you a lot to think about, especially in regard to who should have control over an individual’s body.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Can we agree that Lois Lowry is one of the original queens of YA? I grew up reading her books, and The Giver has long been a favorite. Yes, this is a middle grade/YA novel, but I think it can be enjoyed by any age. If you have older kids, this would also be a great fall buddy read with them. This is another dystopian novel about a boy who lives in a seemingly perfect world. When he is given a job as the Receiver (of memories), he learns that the world he lives in might not be so perfect after all. This is still one of the best dystopian novels I’ve ever read, and is still highly relevant today.
A trend I’ve noticed quite a bit lately are bookish re-makes of classic stories. When done well, I love classic stories that are re-written in either a modern way or twisted around to make a completely new story. These are a few that are on my TBR list, and one (Wicked) that I want to re-read before I see the musical for the umpteenth time!
A Study In Scarlet Women (The Lady Sherlock Series) by Sherry Thomas
A Study in Scarlet is considered the first Sherlock and Holmes novel, and Sherry Thomas has taken that series and twisted it around with a woman (Charlotte Holmes) as the main character. I AM HERE FOR THIS. Charlotte has never agreed with the London society norms of women remaining quiet and unobtrusive. When a string of unsolved murders hits the city, she sets out to find the killer, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, and prove that she doesn’t have to sit back and watch life pass her by. There are three books in this series so far, so if you’re looking for a good re-visited classic, this is the one to start with!
The Phantom’s Apprentice by Heather Webb
The Phantom of the Opera is one of my favorite novels, and if you’re looking for a real creepy book, read that one. The Phantom’s Apprentice takes that story, of Christine the opera star, her lover Raoul, and the Phantom/Angel of Music and gives it even more depth, delving further in the minds and psyches of the main characters. I am SO excited to read this because while I love the original book (and musical, of course), it would be nice to get to know the characters better and understand why they make the choices they do. Plus, Katie at basicbsguide recommended it to me (and sent me my copy), so I know it’ll be fantastic!
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
You’ve probably all at least heard of Wicked the musical, but I’m not sure how many people have actually read the book it’s based on. In case you’re not familiar, it’s the story of the Wicked Witch of the West/The Wizard of Oz as imagined by Gregory Maguire. And she’s not exactly the villain everyone knows her as! If you’ve never read any of Maguire’s books (they’re all twisted fairy tales) this is a good one to start with. Some of them can be a little strange, but Wicked is great. I love when villains get their own story! This is also my in real life book club’s pick this month, and I can’t wait to discuss it with them.
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
This is a new YA novel, but it seems perfect for adults who like twisted classics. This is a re-telling of Frankenstein from the perspective of Elizabeth Lavenza, a ward of the Frankensteins. She is tasked with taking care of Victor Frankenstein. When he leaves for his studies, Elizabeth worries that she no longer has a future without him to take care. She goes on a search for him, and what she discovers is thrilling and horrifying. Reader confession: I have never read Frankenstein, but now I want to just so that I can read this and fully enjoy it! (Although I have seen Young Frankenstein. Does that count?) This book sounds amazing, and a wonderful twist on the traditional story.
Macbeth by Jo Nesbo
I probably don’t need to offer a lot of explanation for this one, except that I REALLY want to read it. It’s a re-telling of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, in modern times (the 1970s), set against a police crime backdrop. Macbeth is an Inspector, Hecate is a drug lord, and Lady is, yes, Macbeth’s one true love. Jo Nesbo is a genius when it comes to writing thrillers, and this seems like a perfect fit. Truly, Shakespeare’s plays are set up so wonderfully for re-tellings, and the dark background of this novel is especially fitting for Fall.
It’s finally October, my favorite time of year, and while I don’t generally read horror books (with the exception of Final Girls by Riley Sager), I do enjoy a good, spooky book when the weather starts cooling down and it gets darker earlier. These are a few that fit that category, and are more spooky than creepy.
*Force of Nature by Jane Harper
Force of Nature is a gently spooky novel by the author of The Dry, and I loved this one even more! A group of women head into a forest for a company retreat, and one of them doesn’t come back. You can check out my review of Force of Nature HERE! I absolutely love the idea of reading this book in the Fall. Any story involving a forest is usually spooky, there’s a mystery to solve, but it’s not going to scare you so much that you need to leave ALL the lights on.
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
A gothic tale about a reclusive author, her stories, and secrets for all the characters involved? Yes, please! I am here for a slightly spooky book that makes me want to keep reading one more chapter to see if I can find out something else about the characters. Madeleine at Top Shelf Text recommended this book, and I blindly trust her opinion on books like this! I plan to read this before the end of October for sure! Setterfield has a new book coming out in December called Once Upon a River, and I wish it was being released sooner. It also sounds SO perfect for a cold, Fall night.
Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft edited by Tess Sharpe & Jessica Spotswood
This is another YA book that I think will be perfect for adults looking for a spooky story they can read quickly. This is a book of 15 short stories about witchy women in the past, present, and future, so you can pick it up and get your spooky Fall reading in in short doses along with whatever other book (Books?) you’re reading. I picked this up at Barnes & Noble and almost sat down to read the entire thing right there.
Abigale Hall by Lauren A. Forry
If you want a truly creepy book that’s reminiscent of Rebecca (this would make a great companion read), Abigale Hall is a great choice. I read this last year and couldn’t put it down once I started. (You can read my review of it HERE!) It’s about two sisters, Eliza and Rebecca, who have lost their parents in WWII and are sent to live in a crumbling old mansion in Wales. The owner is never seen and Mrs. Pollard, the housekeeper, is more than a little odd. When Eliza discovers a book covered in blood, she decides to find out what’s going on in the house, and why none of the other girls who have worked there have survived. Y’all, if you only pick one spooky book to read this Fall, please make it this one! It is so good, and fantastic gothic fiction for people who don’t want the complete gore of a horror book.
Let’s be honest. It’s still 90 degrees in Texas some days. I don’t care. It’s officially Fall, I have my glittery pumpkins out, and all I want to do is curl up with a soft blanket and pretend it’s 60 degrees outside. These are a few books I’m planning to do that with in the next couple of months!
If you haven’t heard of Anne Bogel yet (her blog is Modern Mrs. Darcy and her amazing podcast is I’d Rather Be Reading), then please let this book introduce you to her. She is a wonderful writer and book-recommender, and this book is full of short essays about the reading life. They’re quick to read and perfect for curling up under a comfy blanket and reading about the life of a fellow reader.
The Brutal Telling: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny
Guys. Have you been to Three Pines? If you haven’t, please, please, please make this the year you start the Inspector Gamache series. Louise Penny has created a mysterious, well-developed world in Three Pines, Canada, and each book gets better and better. You do need to read them in order, starting with Still Life (my review of that is HERE), but this is the book that I’m on. I am so happy to be back in Penny’s world of mystery, murder, and Gamache’s cleverness.
If you’re wishing you could be traveling this Fall instead of . . . not, this is a wonderful book to get away in. Anthony Doerr wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See, and this short book is the story of how he wrote it. When Doerr won the Rome Prize (basically a paid-for year in Rome to live and write), he moved his wife and newborn twins to Rome to write All the Light We Cannot See. This book tells the story of that year and what life was like in Rome. With twins. Doerr is a talented writer, but I really love behind the scenes stories, and this is a great one!
The Witch Elm by Tana French (out October 9, 2018)
I haven’t read Tana French before, but I’m going to start with this book. She does have a series, but The Witch Elm is a standalone, and it sounds PERFECT for Fall. Toby, recovering at his family home after a run-in with burglars, finds a skull in an elm tree trunk in the backyard. To find out who the skull belongs to may require Toby to acknowledge that his family’s past may not be what he thought it was. It sounds so, so good, and I know French is a skilled writer. (She is an Anne Bogel recommendation, and I trust her!) I’ll definitely be fitting this in soon.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
And finally, I can’t have a Fall book list without Anne of Green Gables on it. I love this series so much, and it’s perfectly cozy for Fall. Yes, they are considered children’s books, but every time I read them I get even more out of them. If you haven’t read Anne, or haven’t read her in a long time, I highly recommend doing so this year! I’m going to be re-reading Anne of Avonlea soon if anyone would like to read along with me!