She Reads: fall reading recommendations

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After quite an eventful summer season, we transition into fall with a cloudy sky freckled by falling leaves, or rainy weekends that blur into weeks. As most of you probably do, I too have my traditions as the days grow shorter and the evenings slowly stretch on. The kettle no longer moves far from the stovetop as its necessity rises, while the temperatures slowly fall. Hot tea and coffee are kept in supply for visitors, with honey and hot chocolate for sweeter tastes.

My favorite fall tradition though, has always been tucking myself away with a blanket and a book. With so many things ending, the autumn has a way of feeling like a beginning of its own. A brand-new story, so to speak, with chapters we have not yet even imagined.

When I read during these months, as we approach the holiday season, I often desire for the story to help me maintain the atmosphere. For instance, during October, I am drawn to the scariest stories I can find, whereas in November, I like to read books about enjoying family and bettering oneself. I find joy in reading stories that reflect important lessons.

Whatever genre you find yourself reaching for this season, I hope this list can introduce you to books you can find yourself indulging in time and time again. They set just the right fall vibes for me, meaning they can be a little dark, heavy on the atmosphere and tension, introspective, cozy, contemplative and occasionally, melancholy.

  • “The Book of Accidents” by Chuck Wendig – This book gave me chills. I mean, this writing was excellent and there was plenty. The story follows a family that is relocating to their hometown after their son, who has a secret ability that no one knows about, has a complete breakdown. After the move, all three family members begin experiencing very strange things related to the town’s dark and complex past. This book almost slipped my eye, but I am so glad it did not. If you like Stephen King, I would say to give this book a real shot.
  • “If I Never Met You: A Novel by Mhairi McFarlane” – This was one of the more upbeat and fun reads on my list. It tells of Laurie, whose relationship has just ended but still works with her ex-boyfriend every single day. As his life reveals that his new girlfriend is pregnant, Laurie hatches a plan with a coworker to host a modern-day social media relationship scam to save her the embarrassment. As it turns out, it might just do a lot more. McFarlane’s ability to perfectly capture a slightly sassy and sarcastic tone with a touch of romantic comedy definitely makes this entry one I will visit again.
  • “A Lesson in Vengeance” by Victoria Lee – Y’all, this book is so good. Run, do not walk. It is that good. This novel takes a sharp turn into dark and twisted secrets hidden within the walls of a boarding school that has been haunted by history of witches, their craft and the darkness that surrounds them. Two girls are breaths away from uncovering the details of past but once they find it, there is no going back.
  • “Cackle” by Rachel Harrison – If you are in the mood for a fun fall read that won’t frighten you, this book is the way to go. It tells of a young woman who moves to a small town following a hard breakup. Once she arrives, unbeknownst to her, she meets and befriends the town witch. There are many smiles to be had while reading this feel-good, fall story.
  • “Last Girl I Ghosted” by Lisa Unger – This was just released on October 5, but the reviews so far have been excellent, and I personally cannot wait to have a read! The story tells of a young woman who meets a man on a dating app. What she was expecting to be a single evening, quickly turns into falling absolutely head over heels for each other. That is, until one day ,she wakes up and he has completely vanished. After some digging, she finds that there were others who fell in love, as well, and turned up murdered not long after. Now she has a choice to make. Will she be prey, or become the predator?
  • “The Year of The Witching” by Alexis Henderson – Okay, so imagine The Handmaid’s Tale met The Village, with the atmosphere of the Salem Witch Trials. That is the entire aesthetic of this book. It is quite dark and seemingly gets heavier as it goes, but if you enjoy twisted horror fantasies, this is the book for you.
  • “The Death of Mrs. Westaway” by Ruth Ware – Ruth Ware is just absolutely one of my favorite authors. She Reads has included two of her books so far, and I am confident in saying we have found a third. Gothic atmospheres and a twisted sort of tension always set the most perfect scene for fall reading, and Ware once again proves she knows exactly what she is doing.
  • “The Outsider” by Stephen King – Since he is previously mentioned in this article, I felt it was only right to include what I feel is King’s best. While plentifully dark and suspenseful to make it into the list of books I recommend this season, there is something to be said about the artistry with which King writes. This novel keeps you on your toes every second of the way, and when you think you have it figured out, King is there to flip the entire perspective in the way only he can.
  • “Still Life” by Louise Penny – This charming mystery series is actually spread across 16 novels. However, each novel can easily be enjoyed on its own as Penny walks you through a small cozy town, with countless individuals to meet and fall in love with. This is a feel-good mystery for those who would like to wrap up with a blanket and a cup of tea for the evening.
  • “Rebecca” by Daphne DuMurier – As the final book on the list, it felt right to end with a classic like “Rebecca.” A young woman is swept into a dream of a romance by a rich widower who whisks her away to a life she has always hoped for in his sprawling mansion. Unfortunately, his late wife’s presence still strongly resides within the walls of the mansion and begins to wreak havoc and threaten their marriage. DuMurier graces recommended reading lists with “Rebecca” each year, to no surprise of anyone who has had the pleasure of reading it. This book does not disappoint.

I sincerely hope you enjoy this fall reading list, and I look forward to finding many more books to share with you this coming holiday season. As always, please enjoy.

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