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by Emposia Writing Team November 12, 2019
“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.” -J.K. Rowling
Ask 10 Bibliophiles what's their favourite season to read in, and most of them (i.e., all) will say Autumn.
For a lot of Bibliophiles, Autumn means filling your favourite mug with tea, turning your fairy lights on, wrapping yourself up in a cozy blanket, and diving into an immersive read. (Oh and pumpkin pie. Always pumpkin pie).
Whilst reading on its own can give you all the cozy vibes, certain books can take your reading experience to another level.
Hence, I bring you the ultimate Autumn reading guide! Here, you'll find a list of 26 books that'll cozy up your Autumn reading experience.
So, look no further because your TBR for Autumn is about to be complete. Whether you’re looking for some witchy fiction, classic literature, children’s books, mysteries, or even a contemporary, this book rec list will help guide you. With plenty of popular genres, 2 to 4 recommendations for each, there’s something for you, you, and every Bibliophile out there!
So, grab your cuppa tea, settle in, and get ready to add some cozy reads to your TBR.
|Ch. 01||Books Perfect For Your Inner Child|
|Ch. 02||A Classical Autumn||(4) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
(5) Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
|Ch. 03||Witchy Vibes||(6) The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox
(7) Toil and Trouble by 15 authors
(8) Circe by Madeline Miller
|Ch. 04||Fantastical Autumn||(9) Stardust by Neil Gaiman
(10) Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
|Ch. 05||Modern Fall||(11) The Secret History by Donna Tartt
(12) Autumn by Ali Smith
(13) The Dog Who Dared To Dream by Sun-mi Hwang
|Ch. 06||A Mystery Filled Season||(14) The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
(15) The Outsider by Stephen King
(16) There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
|Ch. 07||Quick Book Recs||10 Bonus Books for Autumn|
|Ch. 08||BookTube Vlog||Fall Book Recs|
I couldn't start off this guide without mentioning the holy grail of cozy fiction...Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling.
Each book in the series takes us through all the seasons, and no one quite gets the excitement of autumn down to a T other than J. K. Rowling.
With the excitement of all the students boarding the Hogwarts Express and the kickoff to autumn with wizards, magical creatures, spells and adventures, you’re guaranteed to lose yourself in the Wizarding World on a rainy Fall evening.
Quite a few of my bookstagrammer friends set the autumn/winter period aside specifically to reread this series each year, and if you’re also a lover of this series, I highly recommend you do so to!
There’s plenty of read-a-thons floating around the book community for rereading the Harry Potter series. Calling all Potterheads!
For: Anyone who has yet to visit Hogwarts, or readers who want to relive their magical wizarding school years all over again.
Oh, sweet Coraline.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman is a book to pick up if you love spooky, adventurous and dark stories.
Whilst Coraline may not be a jam-packed thriller, the childish and almost wholesome tone to this book really does give you all the cozy vibes. If you love likeable heroines, sarcastic cats and want to delve into a short book which isn’t too creepy, I really do think you’ll like this one!
And if you’re like me, who did the unspeakable thing of watching the film before reading the book, I still do recommend reading the book as you get to experience the narrative of Coraline’s adventures in a different yet exciting new way.
Whether you devour Coraline all in one sitting, or read little snippets throughout the Autumn months, you truly cannot go wrong…it is so atmospheric, so unique and filled with lots of Halloween goodness.
What says autumn more than finding yourself in another dimension where your parents have buttons for eyes? Seriously, this story is perfect for the spooky months!
For: If you want to spook-ify the autumn seasons with a not too scary story, with a little bit of adventure added in too.
On the topic of releasing your inner child, The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer is one that couldn’t be more perfect.
The first book in The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the enchanted powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a distant land full of wonder and magic, where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters that they grew up reading about.
Yet after an unbelievable series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is much harder than they thought.
The Wishing Spell most certainly is a fast-paced adventure that combines your modern-day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales, which for me I found to be extremely nostalgic.
The Land of Stories series is perfect if you’ve got a Harry Potter hangover. It’s incredibly fun, mysterious and magical. It may possibly be the perfect book to curl up with, and to let your imagination run wild.
For: If you’re a big fan of Harry Potter, and want something a little bit different to pick up.
As classics go, I couldn’t think of any other novel that is more suited for your autumn reading season than Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.
Northanger Abbey tells the story of Catherine Morland, a young and naïve woman who slowly manages to understand the workings of the local society. She becomes friends with the Tilney's, who invite her to their property known as Northanger Abbey. Catherine eventually blossoms into a discerning woman who learns truths about love, life, and the heady power of literature.
Whilst some regard this novel as gothic-fiction, it’s evident that Austen uses this genre satirically, with the majority of the gothic elements feeling quite exaggerated and honestly quite humorous!
I highly recommend starting with this one, as it’s much less intimidating than some other dense classics, and the whole vibe of the novel is very autumnal.
For: Those who enjoy atmospheric classics, with a new approach to gothic fiction.
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”…
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier is a tale of romantic suspense in which the newlywed Mrs de Winter realises that she has become the shadow of her husband’s late wife – the beautiful Rebecca – in their eerie home, Manderley.
Whilst I wish I could tell you everything autumnal about this book…there isn’t anything specific I can quite pinpoint.
I feel like the mysterious writing style is truly what makes this book what it is. From an exquisite narrative, to a beautiful setting, Rebecca really is an iconic cosy classic.
Rebecca is also much easier to read than your average Austen or Dickens novel.
For: If you’re new to classic literature and want a little suspense, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier is the book for you to curl up with.
Two centuries after the Salem Witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. The hook? She doesn’t even know it…
In The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox, we’re placed in the wake of a scandal. The Montrose family and their three daughters (Catherine, Lydia, and Emeline) flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall. The estate seems sleepy and idyllic, but a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere and the remnants of a dark history call to the daughters, who are irrevocably changed by what follows. The protagonist Lydia must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect the ones she loves.
This novel is filled with all the witchy vibes possible, but is also quite an emotional, riveting and at times heavy book.
For: If you’re a lover of historical fiction and paranormal narratives, then make sure that you add The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox to your autumn TBR.
Okay, so I’m cheating a little bit on this one. Am I allowed to recommend a book I haven’t read yet? Because I must!
Toil and Trouble edited by Jessica Spotswood and Tess Sharpe has been popping up on so many bookish sites lately.
If I wasn’t trying to save my money (something we bookworms tell ourselves before we go book shopping), I would be picking this one up like yesterday!
Toil and Trouble is a young adult fiction anthology, including 15 contemporary, historical, and futuristic stories that feature witchy heroines who are diverse in race, class, sexuality, religion, geography, and era. I’ve heard that this collection genuinely does delve deep into the truly diverse mythology of witchcraft from many cultures and feminist points of view.
With authors such as Emery Lord, Anna-Marie McLemore and many more, you should definitely look out for it during the autumn season, especially if this sounds like your cup of tea.
Toil and Trouble was written to be devoured during the spooky season.
For: If you love to read short story collections, with diverse focal points from a variety of authors. Toil and Trouble combines so many elements, so many viewpoints, and so many witchcraft involved heroines.
Oh, how I love the bewitching Circe.
In Circe by Madeline Miller, we’re plummeted into the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, where a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child - not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother.
Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does in fact possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.
This book has so many elements that make it the perfect atmospheric read for the upcoming months. With mythology, magic, nature, family dynamics and much, much more, you should definitely think about wrapping your hands around this.
You can tell just how much research went into creating the narrative of Circe. Every edition is beautifully crafted.
For: Anyone who is a mythology lover, and who are interested in getting the legends told from an unexpected goddess.
In Stardust by Neil Gaiman, we visit the tiny town of Wall - a young man called Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the beautiful Victoria Forester.
For the coveted prize of her hand, Tristran vows to retrieve a fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends him over the ancient wall and into a world that is dangerous and strange beyond imagination.
Yes, this is a short read. But what it lacks in length is made up by the ridiculously fantastical elements. If you’ve read any of Neil Gaiman’s books before, then you know how vividly he depicts magical realms.
I read this one as an audiobook, and the production that’s on most audiobook platforms is wonderful.
For: High fantasy lovers that want a quick fantastical fix from the god that is Neil Gaiman. And if you’re a new Neil Gaiman reader, Stardust is perfect to start with!
If you’re looking to start a new fantasy series, Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake is the way to go this season.
For every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born - three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic.
Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as an upset stomach. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.
But for one of them to become the Queen isn’t a matter of royal birth… each sister must fight for it. Life or death…the night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.
Considering the last book has just recently been released, you can get your hands on all of them and binge read them and not have to impatiently wait for the next book.
This series is one of my favourite young adult series. I really do recommend this series for autumn as its such an underrated yet excitingly written set of books.
For: Those who want to start a new series filled with magic, poison, nature, fire, royalty and sisterhood.
As contemporary books go, The Secret History by Donna Tartt is one that is a must read for everyone. Go grab your copy and I’ll wait.
What are you still doing here?
Seriously, you need this on your bookshelf!
In this novel, we follow the story of six eccentric students as they make their way through university. Our protagonist is a young man, and new student, named Richard who soon finds himself obsessing over the illusive Greek professor and his specially selected group of students. Richard manages to convince the professor to take him on and he soon finds himself amongst five extremely clever peers.
But all is not what it seems, as when Richard spends more time with the group, he soon starts to question what they get up to in their free time and why they separate themselves so much from the rest of the school.
This book is beautifully written. Although it may be a slow burner for some, it is worth it. The dynamics of the narrative, the brilliant characters and the complex relationships make this novel what it is. It’s filled with mystery, confusion, shock, heartbreak and everything else you could want.
The Secret History is seriously the best contemporary book to cosy up with.
For: Those who love complex stories filled with fascinating and illusive characters.
Another contemporary I recommend is Autumn by Ali Smith.
The concept is unique. The writing style is incredibly easy to read. Almost poetic. Some of the chapters are extremely short, which makes this book feel a bit like it’s written in verse, yet it isn’t.
Ali Smith tells the story of Daniel, a century old man and a woman named Elisabeth, born in 1984, who has her eye on the future. The United Kingdom is in pieces, divided by a historic once-in-a-generation summer.
Love is won, love is lost, hope is hand in hand with hopelessness, and the seasons roll round, as ever… It is beautiful.
Again, Autumn is so unique, and has a feel to it that I’ve never experienced before.
For: Fans of poetic writing style and very modern topics. You get a sense of autumn like never before, and it is so inimitably gorgeous.
*Caution: get ready to shed some waterfalls*
The Dog Who Dared to Dream is the story of a dog named Scraggly.
Born an outsider because of her distinctive appearance, she spends most of her days in the sun-filled yard of her owner's house. Scraggly has dreams and aspirations just like the rest of us.
But with each winter, dark clouds descend and Scraggly is faced with challenges that she must overcome.
Through the clouds and even beyond the gates of her owner's yard lies the possibility of friendship, motherhood and happiness - they are for the taking if Scraggly can just hold on to them, bring them home and build the life she so desperately desires.
The Dog Who Dared to Dream by Sun-mi Hwang is a breath-taking tale of the relationship between dog and man, as well as a celebration of a life lived with courage.
It’s such an exceptionally scenic book to read during the colder months, and with this book being on the short side, it makes it even more of a little gem.
For: Animal lovers who are prepared to break their own hearts during a cold winter period.
Oh how I love The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón.
As a reader, you’re placed in Barcelona just after the Spanish Civil War. Here, you’ll find a young boy named Daniel living alone with his father, whilst helping to run the family bookshop.
One day, Daniel's Father takes him to a place known as 'The Cemetery of Forgotten Books' - a labyrinth-like place completely packed with beautiful and rare books. Daniel can spend some time there and pick out one book that he can keep. This is how he comes across 'The Shadow of the Wind' - a gripping novel written by one Julian Carax.
After falling in love with the book, Daniel sets out on a mission to find out more about its illusive author, whilst also discovering that a mysterious cloaked figure is hell bent on destroying any remaining books by Julian Carax, including the one that Daniel owns.
We are then thrown into an epic adventure with twists and turns at every corner, in addition to the novel being written in such a beautifully cosy style.
This book is the epitome of atmospheric literature, with the characters being gorgeously created, and the city of Barcelona being depicted in such a mysterious yet distinctive way.
For: If you want to pick up a mystery universally perfect for all Bibliophiles.
It wouldn’t be an autumnal reading guide without mentioning the king himself - Stephen King. Whether you’re a novice to the world of Stephen King, or an avid reader of all his books, The Outsider is one that’s perfect for Autumn.
In The Outsider, we’re given a vivid narrative of an eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse being found in a local town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens - Terry Maitland, a Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls.
Thus, Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Terry once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Despite the suspect having an alibi, the detective and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. The case seems definite, but as the investigation expands, horrifying answers begin to emerge.
With some supernatural elements, this book is one that is perfect for anyone wanting a solid mystery to cosy up with.
This was my first ever Stephen King book I picked up, and I really do think it was a good place to start if you’re also a beginner to King!
For: Those who love a dark narratives, and who are looking for a complex mystery with added supernatural elements. For King novices and professionals alike.
The last book in this guide is There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins.
Stephanie Perkins is most known for her adorable Anna and the French Kiss trilogy. When I found this book, I was so intrigued. It’s much different to her other series, but still just as valuable.
In this book, we meet Makani Young, who thinks she's left her dark past behind her in Hawaii and starts to settle in with her grandmother in Nebraska. She's found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson.
But her past isn't far behind… one by one, the students of Osborne High begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets, and face the reality of the terror going on.
Although this book is a young adult novel, giving it that easy YA contemporary pace, it really does pack a punch.
You begin in your average young adult contemporary romance, then are flipped into these eerie scenarios that you just cannot wait to figure out.
It was so hard to put this book down while reading it!
For: If you feel a bit intimidated by any sort of thriller genre, I believe this could be perfect for you. It isn’t too thrilling or terrifying, yet it’s such a good place to begin to transition into scary fiction.
*This quick bonus chapter is written by Megan*
The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Weiking
For: Those who want to learn more about the Danish concept of hygge - the idea of being cosy, and feeling good.
The Constant Princess by Philippa Greggory
For: History lovers who want to explore Tudor England from a woman’s point of view.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein
For: People looking for an adventure this autumn.
Outlaw by Angus Donald
For: A new take on a historical favourite - this is a more adult version of the tale of Robin Hood.
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
For: People who want to get lost in a world of imagination...and maybe learn why growing up isn’t so bad.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
For: Lovers of classics, looking for something just a little bit chilling and a touch unsettling.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
For: A different take on the ever-present nature of death, and the opportunity to have your heart-warmed by a story of war.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
For: Those who want something a little darker this autumn.
The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch
For: People looking for a mystery that doesn’t take itself too seriously...and chocolate. All the chocolate.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
For: An escape from the cold weather into a land of quirky characters and unexpected adventure.
Here's Sabine, from Sabine's Book Nook, with a Fall Book Recommendations vlog:
That's all folks! Whilst there are many books that you can pick up during Autumn, I believe these books to be the ultimate autumnal reading guide. As a matter of fact, you don't have to wait around until it's Autumn to read those books. You can re-create your favourite Autumn vibes by flipping through one of them (while eating pumpkin pie, of course).
With plenty of genres to choose from, I hope you find a book that will complete your autumn reading experience.
With lots of rainy days and dark nights ahead, I would love to know what you’re looking forward to reading this season, or even if you have any autumnal book recommendations of your own.
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Let’s Meet in the Comments
Do you have any must read books that create the perfect cozy space for you to curl up and read during Autumn?
Stay Cozy & Happy Reading,
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