Every year, I wait excitedly for my favorite season. I watch for the early signs at my local box store: new school supplies, apple cider displays, and pumpkin flavored everything. This might be because I’m a resident of the deep South, but fall comes in like a breath of fresh air for me. I love sitting outside with a hot glass of cider just enjoying the beautiful evening.
Of course, this extends to what I read too. I asked several of my bookish friends what “fall vibes” means to them, and I received an array of different answers. Some people think of cozy mysteries while others love everything witchy. For me, I love a little bit of everything — witches, pumpkins, spiced everything, falling leaves, scarecrows, hay rides, misty English moor, dark woods — I will take them all, please and thank you.
So whatever your preference this season, if you’re looking for some reads that evoke the perfect fall vibes, look no further! Here are 10 books that capture a range of autumn moods. With so many books to choose from, there is sure to be a book for every fall lover out there!
Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega
For me, witchy stories overflow with autumn vibes. In this middle grade novel, three young witchlings want nothing more than to be chosen by a coven and trained as proper witches. But then they are determined to be “spares.” Now they must complete the “impossible task” to cement themselves as sisters, a coven in their own right, to come into their full witch powers.
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Few things scream fall like a good mystery. Stevie Bell is accepted into a prestigious private school that will cost her and her family nothing. The catch? She must complete the task of solving the school’s most famous mystery: the founder of the school’s wife and daughter went missing almost a hundred years ago. But as Stevie investigates the history of the school, the events of the past seem to repeat themselves when someone else goes missing.
Autumn by Ali Smith
Is this recommendation a bit on the nose? Yes. Is it still an incredible book? Also yes. In Autumn, the first in Ali Smith’s seasonal quartet, we meet Daniel, a man who is almost a century old. He’s befriended by a young girl, and we listen in on their conversations as they bridge the gaps between their generations. Smith wrote her seasonal quartet in response to current events, and combined with her stream-of-consciousness style, created something truly unique and of the moment.
White Magic by Elissa Washuta
Brilliant Cowlitz essayist Elissa Washuta writes about the intersections of Indigenous cultural practices and the occult. In one essay, she describes how white wiccans and new age occult practitioners culturally appropriate traditional Indigenous practices, like burning white sage. She also writes about her experience with PTSD, depression, and chronic illness in such a unique way, combining different elements together to create an incredible reading experience.
The Way Through the Woods: Of Mushrooms and Mourning by Long Litt Woon, Translated by Barbara J. Haveland
When I think of fall, I think of mushrooms. So of course, I love Long Litt Woon’s memoir about how her passion for Norwegian mushrooms helped her deal with the grief of losing her husband. She takes us along on her foraging expeditions, perfectly describing the forests that became her safe haven as she learns more about the mushrooms and the woods they call home.
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, Translated by Anthea Bell
As a kid, Inkheart was one of my favorite books. It opens on a stormy night in Germany when a mysterious man shows up on Meggie’s doorstep, changing her life forever. From there we’re thrown into a world where characters can come out of books, and — what’s scarier — people can also be read into books, trapped in a story until someone comes to set them free.
Himself by Jess Kidd
Mahony returns to a small town in Western Ireland. There he searches for the origins of his birth and the woman who gave him up for adoption all of those years ago. Jess Kidd specializes in blending mystery and horror genres, creating possibly the most perfect fall vibe I’ve ever read. Plus, there’s a supernatural twist that will have you guessing at every turn.
Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss
This might be the Emily Brontë lover in me, but I ADORE a British novel set around a misty moor. Ghost Wall features a working class family who has been hired to act as a tour guide for a professor and his students who are reenacting what life would have been like for their ancestors hundreds of years ago. But what starts as just an intellectual exercise turns into something far more sinister.
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
If you’re looking for a novel with perfect gothic vibes with a modern twist, look no further! I will admit, this novel’s incredible cover — in all of its intense fall vibes — drew me to pick up The Essex Serpent. Cora moves to Essex in hopes of finding the mysterious Essex Serpent, a living fossil of sorts. But there she meets a minister and his wife who open up their home to her. She and the minister have an instant connection, discussing everything from theology to science to the meaning of life.
Horsepower by Joy Priest
There’s something about Joy Priest’s poetry that takes me back home to the fall foliage of the borderlands of Kentucky and Ohio. She describes looking out and seeing the Ohio River and the hills beyond in a way that perfectly captures the foliage in the area. Plus, the cover is stunning.
Whatever book you choose to read is sure to give you the perfect spirit of autumn. For even more great recommendations, check out “8 Hispanic and Latine YA Authors You Should Definitely Read” and “12 Exciting Books About Women Over 50.”