As I write this, it’s supposed to be 90 degrees (F) here today. But this morning I got up to dark, cloudy skies and right now a thunderstorm is rolling through. I am LOVING it, because we need the rain, and we need some relief from the heat… and at the moment, there’s just a hint of fall in the air.
So it got me thinking… what books evoke a fall feeling? What can you add to your reading list for that cozy autumn vibe? Here’s a quick list of some of my favorite fall classics to get you started!
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
While anything by Alice Hoffman is a good choice, Practical Magic is one of her best known works.
For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape. One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back—almost as if by magic…
Almost, indeed. This is the most modern book of my picks but it spans a vast history. It also has two related prequels, as well as a concluding book coming this fall called The Book of Magic. Sounds like a perfect companion to a cup of hot cider on a brisk fall day, no??
Buy: Amazon Bookshop.ORG
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
If you didn’t already know of Shirley Jackson’s work, perhaps you’ve recently been introduced to it on Netflix… this book was turned into a series and has gotten rave reviews! But this book is a classic with incredible staying power.
First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.
Full disclosure, I haven’t read this one yet… but it’s going to the top of my list this spooky season! Check out her other work too, including We Have Always Lived in the Castle.
Buy: Amazon Bookshop.org
Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
Talk about a classic! This book, written in the 1930’s, still makes the book club rounds regularly and is another recent addition to Netflix. A few years back, it was even named by PBS to the Great American Read listing. I finally read this title a couple years ago and I have a feeling it’s one I will want to revisit multiple times!
“Last Night I Dreamt I went to Manderley 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.
Buy: Amazon Bookshop.org
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
I couldn’t possibly end this list without including a title from the grande dame of mystery herself. I waited far too long to read a novel by Agatha Christie, and I have more on my list this fall for sure! I started with this one as it’s an early standalone (she also writes series featuring sleuths like Poirot and Miss Marple).
Ten people, each with something to hide and something to fear, are invited to an isolated mansion on Indian Island by a host who, surprisingly, fails to appear. On the island they are cut off from everything but each other and the inescapable shadows of their own past lives. One by one, the guests share the darkest secrets of their wicked pasts. And one by one, they die…
Which among them is the killer and will any of them survive?
If you’re looking for a classic mystery to read while you watch the leaves fall, you cannot beat this pick.
Buy: Amazon Bookshop.org
Now… this is a VERY short list. There are a lot of other wonderful books out there to fit this category, and I’m going to link to a couple of posts that share some other fabulous titles for fall.
Modern Mrs. Darcy (always a good choice!) lists 22 gothic novels
The Uncorked Librarian shares a long list of spooky reads
New releases more your thing? Here’s a list for this fall from She Reads
What’s on your list for fall books, friends? Share in the comments below if you have some titles you’re looking forward to checking out. Happy reading!
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