Top 10 Cozy Books for Fall

by myskylist
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The season of coziness is officially upon us. And you know what that means – bring on the cozy fall books.

I derive deep satisfaction from pairing books with a season or location. When my husband and I traveled to England, I read Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island on the airplane. As a goodbye to our Chicago neighborhood, I read Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett, a teacher at a local school. When I wanted to feel at home in DC, I Googled “books set in Washington DC.”

As the evenings grow darker and sweater weather (in theory)
appears, I start to crave cozy books. You know – the kind where you make a big
mug of tea, curl up under a blanket, and read while the rain streaks down the
windowpane. The charming, tender, heartwarming ones.

Need recommendations for those kinds of books? The ones to read
while you cuddle in a gigantic scarf, a pumpkin spice latte in hand?

These are my top 10 cozy fall books.

1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows

This book is the literary equivalent of Earl Grey tea with cream and sugar. For those who have only seen the Netflix trailer, the story follows a young writer in post-WWII England. She receives a letter from a man from Guernsey, an island in the English channel. He says he belonged to a group called the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society during the German occupation, and her curiosity is piqued.

This book is told in letters, has an utterly delightful cast
of characters, and will make you want to catch the ferry to Guernsey
immediately. (The movie is also pretty good. But always read the book. First,
if possible.)

2. Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery

As soon as the calendar hits October, the famous Anne quote will start hitting Instagram. You know: “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”? Even without that influence, any of the Anne books are the ideal cozy read. Anne’s exuberance, Marilla’s stoicism, and Matthew’s gentleness are a perfectly balanced cocktail. And you can’t get more idyllic than Green Gables.

Have a kid who needs convincing to give Anne a try? The graphic novel by Mariah Marsden and Brenna Thummler isn’t blasphemous toward our favorite redhead. It captures the spirit of the books quite well.

3. Hannah Coulter – Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry begs to be read while wandering among falling leaves. Or perhaps while sitting next to a fire in a log cabin. He chronicles the days of ordinary people, but his tender reflectiveness makes everyday moments meaningful. Hannah’s reflections on her marriage still stick with me.

4. Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table – Ruth Reichel

Ruth is one of my favorite memoirists. She mixes perfectly measured spoonfuls of wit, well-crafted writing, and food. The result? Essays that caramelize into something deeply layered and flavorful. Among the stories of the people – and food – that influenced Ruth, stories of her mother stand out. My next book dollars are going towards her newest release, Save Me the Plums.

5. The School of Essential Ingredients – Erica Bauermeister

If you’ve read this far, you might be wondering if fall is all about food for me. (Check out my fall bucket list and that suspicion would be confirmed.) This story fits that theme, as it follows the members of a cooking class. The details of their lives mix with their thoughts in the kitchen, and you will want to sign up for cooking school immediately. I am a sucker for books told in multiple perspectives, and this one does it well.

For those who read and loved this, I just discovered that there is a sequel!

6. Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader – Ann Fadiman

This slim little collection of essays celebrates the readerly life. I have to quibble with the subtitle, because Ann Fadiman is anything but a “common” reader. She would have aced the GRE vocabulary section, and it shows. But don’t let that scare you off. These stories are charming and clever. Her essay “Marrying Libraries” is one I thought of often as my husband and I combined our bookshelves and bickered over whose books should get prime real estate.

7. The Crosswicks Journals – Madeleine L’Engle

My sister often says that Madeleine L’Engle makes everything better. I couldn’t agree more. I have only read A Circle of Quiet, but its quiet reflections grounded my college mornings like nothing else. The books are roughly seasonal, though they could be read any time of year. The fall-ish book, Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage, is next on my list.

8. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics – Daniel James Brown

If you didn’t care about rowing, you will after reading this. The story follows the members of the University of Washington’s crew team, a humble collection of boys who set out to beat Hitler’s German team. This has all the heartwarming inspiration you’d expect from an Olympics rags-to-riches story. Plus, the audiobook is narrated by Edward Herrman, the grandpa in Gilmore Girls. His voice alone makes this an ultimate cozy pick.

Wanting more when you finish? Pass on the young readers edition to a sports-enthused kid so you can talk about those final race scenes. I also just discovered that there is a PBS documentary about this event called The Boys of ’36, which I am adding to my to-watch list immediately.

9. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien.

If you need a series to keep you company through the fall and winter, Tolkien’s stories of Middle Earth would do it. I already hear those of you who have not read it protesting that LotR is not your thing. Until recently, I was with you. I had tried to read The Fellowship of the Ring in high school, and I thought it was all walking and fighting and walking and fighting. (It kinda is.)

But then my boyfriend convinced me to read The Hobbit. To my
surprise, I actually enjoyed it. I could relate deeply with Bilbo not wanting
to leave his comfy hobbit-hole, then being glad he risked discomfort and
dragons in the end. Even if you’re not a high fantasy person, you should give this
one a chance.

P.S. Later, the boyfriend-turned-husband convinced me to try
The Fellowship again. When I had the background of The Hobbit, I didn’t hate it
at all. (I’ve since finished the series, and if freaking Sam Gamgees or that perfect
ending made you cry, please tell me.)

10. Brown Girl Dreaming – Jacqueline Woodson

While I first read Jacqueline Woodson in middle school, her books continue to meet my standards as an adult reader. Brown Girl Dreaming is Woodson’s coming of age story told in poetry. Not only is it tenderly written, it will also make you empathetic towards the challenges of growing up in the aftermath of Jim Crow.

Now pull on those cognac riding boots and head to the library!

What are your favorite fall reads? Please share in the comments!

P.S. Want more fall books? Check out spooky books for fall.

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