It’s officially fall, which means — if you’re in the northern hemisphere — it’s time to put away the beach reading supplies and start working on your reading nook. It’s never a bad time to be a reader, of course, but there’s something about the fall season that feels like the quintessential reading time of year. It’s when we can start cozying up under a blanket and sipping a mug of tea while flipping through the pages.
Of course, if you’re like many of us, fall can also be a time where the dip in natural light means you start feeling crummy. One solution to that is to try to lean into the season by creating the perfect autumnal reading space — as well as picking out the ideal TBR, of course.
The Book Riot editors — Erica Ezeifedi, Kelly Jensen, Danika Ellis, and Vanessa Diaz — are here to help by highlighting our fall reading essentials. We’re all professional book people, so we take our reading supplies very seriously. But we’re also extremely aware of inflation and everything else conspiring to take away our extra spending money, so our 25 picks are all under $25 — with a few bonus luxury items at the end, if you’re in the mood to splurge on reading this season.
The Reader Mug by McRodMarket ($25)
Fall is when you want to make sure your hot beverage materials are fully stocked. Since it’s low-key (high-key?) become synonymous with spooky season for me, this mug is just perfect. Plus, the image of The Reader still reading from their TBR well after they’ve become a skeleton rings true.
If you’re trying to splurge, a temperature controlled mug can keep your fall friendly drinks hot at just the right temp.
Twist Memory Foam Pillow by Dot&Dot Store ($25)
I, like many others, find myself reading in many different places, some of which aren’t the most comfortable — or are even a little too comfortable, as is the case with my bed. That’s where travel-ready pillows like this come in handy. I can find comfort in any place I choose to read, even when I’m sitting up in bed, so I don’t read myself to sleep accidentally.
Fall Coffee Shirt by PyeonnMMee ($23)
My quintessential cozy fall arsenal isn’t complete without a long-sleeved shirt or sweatshirt of some sort. I love shuffling through fallen leaves in one, along with some cozy, faux fur-lined shoe. This one gets bonus points for the coffee rep. Yes, I love pumpkin spice! Don’t @ me.
Autumn Leaves Book Sleeve by LullabyCraftsWorld ($21)
Book sleeves are a must for me all year ’round. And this is one of the most unique and pretty ones I’ve seen. The attention to detail and the richly colored leaves are such beautiful representations of fall. Plus, the pictures in reviews actually look even better.
Kermit Not My Business Logo Embroidered Knit Beanie by MHWSWORLD ($16)
Beanies are needed for when you sip your tea while others spill theirs. This one is definitely for the real messy frogs out there (i.e. me).
Autumn Witch Book Holder by HoldItThereBookmarks ($6)
Okay, so I didn’t even know these were that popular before Book Riot. Now that they’ve come into my awareness, I love them! For one, they’re handy (ha!), and they can be made to be so pretty, like this autumn witch-inspired one.
Book Annotation Kit by LemonHoneyCrafts ($22)
Have you ever gushed about how good a book was, only to be asked what it was about, at which point you…drew a blank? Me too, friend. Well, annotating books helps with that. Being more intentional in this way with my reading also grants me a more enriched reading experience overall. A nice thing about this kit in particular is that it’s pretty customizable: you can choose from a big range of color palettes as well as which font + color combo you want for your pouch.
Stay Up Late at the Book Club Tote Bag by RatherKeen ($22)
Totes, like bookmarks, are just things that I don’t ever feel like I can have too many of. This one’s nighttime Art Deco design makes it one of the cuter and more unique options available.
Book Marks Reading Tracker by Book Riot ($15)
Fall always brings so many awesome new releases, and keeping track of the ones I read is made easier with this tracker. It’s got elements of a bullet journal, a more traditional reading log, and other activities that help you engage with what you’ve read in different ways.
A Cozy Candle: PF Candle Company’s Sandalwood Rose ($25)
I am a reader who craves good ambiance. This is true whether I’m reading a heavy tome or something light. One of the things I’ve learned about myself this year is I am a better, more grounded person when I am able to engage all of my senses to start my day, which means I often light a candle as I get ready, too.
My favorite candles are many, but if pressed to choose just one for the fall, it would be PF Candle Co’s incredible Sandalwood Rose. It’s a deep but clean smell.
Soothing, Delicious, Caffeinated Tea: David’s S’mores Chai ($10+)
I live for David’s Tea’s fall collection. I usually purchase my tea locally, but their seasonal teas always end up in my cart and my rotation. Grab yourself this S’mores Chai and you will not be sad at all.
Looking for a splurge? Grab a sachet of every one of their fall teas in this sampler kit.
I know that knee-high socks or fuzzy socks are more worthy of the ‘gram than ankle high wool socks, but as a fat person, knee-highs aren’t made for me. And frankly, they’re too hot, too. I don’t like socks to begin with, so when I need them, I want something moderately warm but not overwhelming. These vintage, handmade wool socks are perfect — and there are several great patterns to choose from.
A Clip-On Book Light ($15)
If you don’t have a book light, fall is the perfect time to grab one. It’s darker earlier, and getting cozy might mean dimming the overhead lights.
I’ve been a long time fan of the colorful French Bulldog clip on lights — if you’ve been around long enough, you might remember there was one in a Book Riot YA Quarterly box. This orange swirl design has my heart right now.
A Bookish Puzzle: Book Haven by Galison ($17)
I tend to listen to audiobooks a lot more in the fall as I do puzzles and burn a nice candle with a cuppa tea. I like 500 piece puzzles for quick listening sessions here and there, while I prefer 1000 piece puzzles for longer listening sessions.
I’ve got my favorite puzzle brands, and Galison is, hands down, top tier. This Book Haven puzzle has been on my to-do stack since it came out last summer, so you better believe I’ll be doing it this fall.
Wireless Earbud Headphones: TOZO T6 Bluetooth with Touch Control ($23)
I resisted wireless headphones. I hate buds, as they do not fit my little ears, and I cannot stomach spending three digits on something I am bound to lose either myself or with little hands or paws around my house.
Can wireless bluetooth headphones be good under $25? You bet. And let me start by saying if you see these showing up for more than $25, look at the different color options or wait. They always go on sale, and as of writing, the blue ones are $23. They have almost 220,000 reviews with a 4.4 star average for a reason.
These come with a couple of bud size options, so you can adjust to fit your ear. I’ve got the green ones and love how easy they are to fit and use. They hold a nice long charge, too.
A Cozy Reading Blanket: Sherpa Throw Blanket ($22)
If I have one fall reading essential, it’s a cozy blanket. There’s nothing that helps me combat The Sad brought on by shorter days than curling up under a soft blanket with a good book. I have two dogs, so generally I have to get a new one every year because the constant washing has made it considerably less cozy, but it’s worth it.
The Perfect Book Recommendation: A TBR Subscription ($16)
TBR is Book Riot’s Tailored Book Recommendation service, where a team of Bibliologists comes up with the perfect book recommendations based on what you love (and hate) in books. I’m constantly blown away by how spot-on these recs are, and even if you already have a TBR to last a lifetime, I recommend giving it a shot. The digital only is option is $16 a quarter (you get three recommendations), or you can splurge on the hardcover option for $87.50 including shipping.
Floating Bookshelves ($20)
The end of summer means I’m going to be spending even more time indoors than I usually do, so I’m using this opportunity to redecorate. I love the clean and slightly magical look of floating bookshelves, plus they add book storage to any space with a little bit of empty wall. Not that I’m running out of bookshelf space, of course…
A Book Scarf: Dictionary Pages Infinity Scarf ($22)
There are some absolutely stunning bookish scarves available, which is a great way to stay warm while advertising your reader identity status to everyone around you. I picked this dictionary infinity scarf because it’s a good choice for anyone who loves words, but you can also pick scarves up for your favorite fandom!
A Reading Lamp: White Crown LED Desk Lamp ($21)
A reading lamp can really change your reading life. Ever since I got this one, I do much more reading before bed. (I used to rely on overhead lighting for bedtime reading, like a chump.) What I like about this one — and most other LED lamps — is that you can adjust the brightness and warmth of the light, which makes it easier to transition into sleep.
If you’ve got a spare $50 to spend on the luxury version of this, I cannot recommend a sunrise alarm clock higher for people who struggle to wake up in the morning in the dark. It imitates a sunrise to slowly and gently wake you up — and you can still turn on the light anytime to use as a bedtime (or morning) reading lamp.
A Bathtub Caddy: Royal Craft Bamboo Bathtub Caddy ($22)
If you escape cooler weather with a hot bath and a book, you need to invest in a bathtub caddy/tray. Not only does it hold your book or ereader/tablet, but it also makes the whole experience much more luxurious. I picked out the economical option for this list, but there are many different designs to choose from if you’re willing to spend a little more.
Bamboo Book Stand ($26)
Okay, I cheated slightly because this item is technically a hair over $25 (although it’s currently on sale for $14 as I write this). Either way, I treasure the one that was gifted to me. I use this for cookbooks, because tapping my phone or tablet screen every few minutes with hands covered in oil, flour, or cookie dough just makes me so ragey. But I love it especially for regular ol’ hands-free reading — it makes it so much easier to sip and snack while I’m curled up on my couch with a book as fireplace and bookstore ASMR videos stream on my TV.
Glass Teapot ($21)
If 60% of the body is water, I would posit that mine is mostly tea. And because a big part of coziness for me is in the aesthetic, I love a beautiful glass teapot on hand when I’m setting in for a reading marathon. Use the infuser insert for loose leaf tea, or remove it for a beautiful blooming tea if you prefer. Then sit back, steep ’em, and read.
So you’ve got your big pile o’ books, your tea is steeping, the snacks have been assembled. Now all you need is a tray to put it all on. If you, like me, don’t have a bathtub (someday!) and do most of your reading on dry land, this tray table comes in clutch. Use with the foldable legs as a lap table or fold them in to lay it flat.
Knit Fingerless Gloves ($12)
If your hands tend to run a little cold like mine do as the temperatures get cooler, pick up a pair of these cozy fingerless gloves. They’ll keep your hands toasty while leaving your fingers free to turn those pages and tap those screens.
Bonus Splurge Items
Whether you actually have an outdoor space to relax in or have a tiny patio-less apartment like I do, hammock reading is within reach. If you find yourself in a “treat yourself” kind of mood, this would make a lovely addition to your reading oasis, indoors or out.
Weighted Blanket ($70)
Yes, a soft blanket is essential for fall reading. But this year, I also plan on treating myself to a weighted blanket, which sounds like the most calming and relaxing prospect. I just want to be crushed under coziness.
Noise Cancelling Headphones ($348)
If there’s one thing that ruins a good reading session, it’s someone else’s noise. So even though these noise cancelling headphones are way over $25, they may change your reading life. Now, no one can interrupt your reading unless they actually pull the book out of your hands! These are the best noise cancelling headphones according to Tech Radar, but there are other options starting at $35.
Now that you’ve got your reading nook assembled, don’t forget to check out 30 of the Best and Buzziest Fall Books 2022 Has To Offer. You can keep your place with these fall bookmarks!