It's the Time of the Season (For Some...) | Autumnal Recommendations
A lot of booktubers are uploading a fall recommendation list and I thought to myself, why not do one as well? In the fall, there are several different genres that I am in the mood for, and I am sure that many different people gravitate towards different books as well.
As such, this list of recommendations is going to be broken down into different categories. Those categories being: mystery, dark academia/gothic, fantasy, fiction, nonfiction, cozy, and romance. I know that some of these genres look like they don't belong on this list, but it is all about the vibes. Fall can mean many things to many people, and it can be a time to read something spooky, or something cozy and comforting.
Now, I already did a list covering horror/thriller for the month of October so, as such, I will not include those genres on this particular list. If you want to check out that list though, you can find it here.
Onto the recommendations!
Girl, 11 by Amy Suiter Clarke
This didn't end up blowing my mind, but this did present an intriguing and immersive story about the hunt for a serial killer who kills girls a year younger than the last. It had a really solid mystery and a good resolution as well to round out the satisfying reading experience.
The Lost Village by Camilla Sten
This didn't pull many punches in terms of twists, so this isn't the most mysterious book of the bunch, but I did enjoy this and its conversations about mental health. There were some elements I didn't like, but that is on me and may not affect you. Overall though, this was a solid mystery thriller book about the mystery surrounding an old mining town whose residents suddenly disappeared.
The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse
The rating for this book isn't the highest but, aside from the epilogue, I thought this was similar to One By One but better executed. Then again though, at the time this was a standalone so the ending was infuriating, but now it is a series which makes more sense. That aside, and I don't think I am selling this very well, it was a bit of a predictable story. That though, is why this might be perfect for people who want a mystery that is easier to follow along with.
Vita Nostra by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
I read this book last month, and my review was pretty much 'I am confused...but I liked it.' This is a weird book, and you probably not going to understand what is going on most of the time, but this did dark academia well, like really well. We follow Sasha who is forcibly coerced into attending a secretive school that changes her physically and emotionally. The one issue here though is that this is the first novel of a series that is not translated...so if you want answers you might not get them for a while.
Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Scwartz
This is a bit of an odd recommendation for me, because for the most part I really enjoyed the book...up until the end which dropped my rating a lot. I was enjoying the story which followed Hazel as she practices on stolen cadavers in order to become a surgeon. The last 50 pages though weren't for me, but if you have better luck with gothics than it might be for you.
The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. by David Levithan
In all honesty, this book could have fit into several categories, but this is magical realism so I put it here. This follows Lucas, whose brother Aidan went missing for six days. After he returns, he has to come to grips with Aidan's story that might not be as unbelievable as everyone assumes it to be. For a middle-grade, I found this book to be a bit beyond its target audience which worked for me as an adult. This is a book for fans of Every Heart a Doorway but with less fantasy.
The Devouring Gray Duology by Christine Lynn Herman
I devoured this duology back-to-back in two days. I don't know why, but this really worked for me. We have a group of magical teens, mysterious bodies, and a beast that haunts the surrounding woods. A creepy forest is pretty much all you need to know about this really as it is the perfect concept for fall.
The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Death, gravediggers, and waking corpses. If that doesn't sound perfect for fall then I don't know what will. This was a great read as it had an interesting premise and characters you can connect with. I considered this to be a hidden gem at the time I read this, but it now has over 15,000 ratings with an average of 4.01 so...I'd say other people enjoyed this as well.
An Enchantment of Raven by Margaret Rogerson
To me, this book has peak fall vibes. The concept, the setting and the atmosphere just scream run through a magical forest full of beautiful trees with orange leaves. Rook, the love interest, is the autumn prince after all. We follow Isobel who is a painter that accidentally finds herself being whisked away after she makes the mistake of painting Rook with human emotions in his eyes. The story is a bit fast-paced, but it is well-executed for a standalone.
Oyasumi Punpun by Inio Asano
There are a couple of reasons why I added this manga to this list of fall recommendations. For one, it follows the titular character Punpun throughout his life as he grows, and school has started so it is perfect timing to read this. For two, is a very dismal story that has thriller elements as you go on. Fall for some can feel a bit melancholic, so if you are in the mood for some existential dread, this has no shortage of it.
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
Aside from its cover, I don't really know how to explain how this book fits into fall. Maybe it is because this book deals with death, and trying to live out your life knowing exactly when you are going to die. This isn't the happiest read ever, but the concept really makes you think about life and death (and may give you another existential crisis in the process).
Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
The first book on this list revolving around coffee, a warm drink equals fall to me. This is technically a fantasy book as it involves magical realism, but it is mainly fictional as it explores what one would do if they could turn back time. It is an interesting concept and it took a unique take on the trope of time travel. Maybe you can cozy up with a nice hot cup of coffee while you read this as well.
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
True crime seems to be the perfect nonfiction genre to pick up during the fall. This book has a sort of dual plot, as it follows both the construction of the Chicago World Fair and the crimes of H.H. Holmes. Reading about a world fair might not seem like the most interesting, or fall, thing to read. However, it is a surprisingly engaging and interesting read. I would recommend that you listen to the audiobook though, as it made it easier to consume and the narration was fantastic.
I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
Another true crime novel, this is a brilliant book about the author's search to unravel the crimes of the Golden State Killer. I usually like to enjoy my true crime in small bites and in podcast form, but this book was executed extremely well. I think this book works better for people who are really into true crime as this does delve deep into her research.
Stiff by Mary Roach
The synopsis is right when it says that even though this is a humorous book about cadavers, it works. And what better time to read about the human body post-mortem than the fall? If you can't handle learning about the more nasty facts about the body or are a bit squeamish then this might not be for you. But if you are a fan of shows like Bones or even CSI or are intrigued by the concept, then this is a pretty good entry point considering it takes a more lighthearted approach.
Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree
A recent release that is quite popular at the moment, this book has a very simple concept. It follows Viv, an ex-adventurer whose new life takes her on the path of opening up a coffee shop. There are some stakes in this, but it is mostly about found family and has plenty of cozy moments.
Small Blessings by
This, to me, is the epitome of a cozy read. This is a (free to read) webtoon that follows the nightly adventures of a tiny house-spirit. This is such a heartwarming and comfy read, and it is the perfect thing to read if you need something light to read and want to snuggle under a blanket.
The Tea Dragon Society by Kay O'Neill
A graphic novel, this, quite literally, has dragons with leaves you can brew into tea. It is a series of three books just full of adorable creatures and a soft storyline that will warm your heart.
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
In all honesty, this is a great read all year round, but if you consider fall a cozy season or are in the mood for a heartwarming read, then this is it. There is so much about this that works from the LGBTQ representation to the romance. One thing I love about this is the sheer amount of communication in this. There is still some drama, but otherwise, Nick and Charlie have a healthy and unproblematic relationship that makes for the perfect cozy fall read.
Fangs by Sarah Anderson
A graphic novel, this has snippets following the daily lives of a vampire and a werewolf who are in a relationship. The romance was adorable and the humour really added to the story. It is a simple, easy read, but also one that is worth it despite how short it is.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
I don't really know why this book makes me think of fall. Maybe because it is about books and pies? Admittedly, this did take me two tries to get through it, but it was worth it especially if you follow it up by watching the movie. The story is told through a series of letters and mainly follows Juliet as she communicates with the titular society about their shared love of books.