Fall is basically the perfect time to really dig into your reading life. The days are getting shorter, the cooler weather begs you to curl up under a cozy blanket, and that back-to-school feeling basically never leaves you even when you’re an adult. So even though it’s still currently 90* outside, I’m sharing 17 books to read for a cozy fall… with the expectation that nature will work its miracle and it’ll (eventually) actually become fall.
Despite how difficult it is, I’m going to refrain from suggesting Harry Potter even though it feels like perfect fall series, what with the books always beginning at the start of term in September and the Halloween feasts quickly following. I’ve included books based on atmosphere, setting, genre, and of course suggestions I found on the internets. The first grouping is recommendations based on books I’ve actually read and that feel like fall to me. The second group is the recommendations that I found on the interweb. Enjoy!
*All links are Amazon affiliate links, which means I may get a small percentage of the total price at no extra cost to you if you purchase your book through my link.
Books I’ve Read
My intense dislike of spoilers means that I don’t often read much about books before I actually start reading them. This book was much darker than I anticipated, but I would have expected this had I bothered to discover that it’s a gothic novel. I loved how the classics and a love of reading are interwoven throughout the novel. As for the story in general, I thought I had figured out which direction it was going at the beginning, but I was in for lots of surprises–which I really enjoyed! The setting and eerie feel of the story make this the perfect book for fall.
This first book in the Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery novels is perfect for fall reading, but really the whole series is good. Set in a small village in Montreal, the story takes place during Canadian Thanksgiving and all sorts of Autumn vibes abound. While murder mysteries are always going to be somewhat dark, overall this book feels wholesome and would be a good way to dip your toe in the water if you’re not sure the genre is for you. I started reading this series last winter and flew through them. The first few books aren’t the most interesting, but the series definitely picks up the pace around book 3-4 and is worth slogging through the first few if you don’t find them as interesting. If you’re a fan of audiobooks, the narrator is fantastic.
The world of Sherlock Holmes always feels like it’s the epitome of fall and early winter what with the cozy mysteries and the setting of rainy London. This is a classic best read on a dark evening under a blanket and with a cup of tea if you ask me.
This fantasy novel is full of cozy taverns, misty woods, firelight, and magic. At over 600 pages, it will definitely get you through quite a few long, dark nights. This book captured my imagination right away. I almost gave up on it because I was so nervous for the protagonist and didn’t think I could handle any more tension. But after a short break, I did eventually come back to it and am so glad I did. For every down, there’s an up that eventually follows. If you like fantasy novels and coming of age stories, you would definitely love reading this for fall.
Ah, the classic Jane Eyre. If you were force-fed this or somehow made it through your school years without reading this, read it now. As a classic gothic novel, it makes for perfect fall reading.
You can’t mention one Brontë sister without mentioning the other. This is another great classic gothic novel to read during the colder months.
The first in a three-part series, this book is full of fall-feeling things. It has magic, witches, vampires, time-travel, and lots and lots of pages. Harkness has a background as a researcher and historical fiction writer, so the book certainly has a lot of interesting historical details as well. As a content warning, there are some more adult scenes you should know about. I believe that Amazon just came out with a show based on the book, but I haven’t checked that out yet.
I picked out this book last summer primarily because the cover was gorgeous. To my delight, I discovered that the story was really interesting too. I read through it really quickly and am eagerly anticipating the sequel coming out January 2020. It’s a modern gothic novel with fairy tale roots and a mystery to uncover. What feels more like fall than fairy tales?
The Internet’s Suggestion of Books to Read for a Cozy Fall
These are books that I haven’t read but the internet highly recommends as the perfect fall books. Some of them look spookier than others, so if you’re a HSP, bear that in mind.
Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill.
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again.”
With these words, the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. For in every corner of every room were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten—a past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house’s current occupants. With an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, determined to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about Maxim’s first wife—the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca.
A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse where she once lived, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.
Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.
Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer.
Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again.
Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once an intellectual mystery and triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets. As they uncover their letters, journals, and poems, and track their movements from London to Yorkshire—from spiritualist séances to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany—what emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passions and ideas.
For those who still dream and remember, for those yet to experience the hypnotic power of its dark poetry, step inside. The show is about to begin. Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. Two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes…and the stuff of nightmares.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise, I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cap mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead…
What books make perfect fall reading for you?
Are there certain books that beg to be read during the autumn? Any specific genres you especially enjoy as the weather changes? I would love to hear what you’re planning on reading! Share your books to read for a cozy fall in the comments!
You can find my personal list of books I plan to read this fall here.