This post is all about books to read in the fall that aren’t necessarily scary but still have that *autumn vibe* we’re always looking for.
October is the one month I actually feel pressure to read certain kinds of books, and most of the time, that pressure is welcome. I love the idea of reading spooky or creepy books in the fall, but sometimes I just can’t decide which thriller to pick up, and I end up not reading any spooky books. It’s like a weird kind of reading paralysis, and it’s just plain silly.
I am reading a few “chilling” or creepy books this month—nothing too scary (Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray; The Shadow of the Wind reread by Carlos Ruiz Zafón), but I’m also reading fantasy and literary fiction. Sometimes you just don’t want a full-on thriller or horror book, and that’s okay, too.
If you just can’t deal with thriller/horror reads in the fall—for any reason—here are a few other books I think are perfect for the season.
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
I just don’t know what it is about this book, but I think Sweetbitter is perfect for autumn. The story actually follows all four seasons, but there’s something about it that just works for fall. It’s a coming-of-age, NYC story full of possibility and loneliness and trying to leave your mark—I don’t know. It just screams fall to me.
Here’s a quote from the book if you don’t believe me:
Yes, those were luminous September days. The afternoon light pearling, the mood alert, turned-on, compassionate. Out in the Greenmarket people circled patiently, holding cartons of prune plums, ears of the last silken corn, thin-skinned lavender eggplants. The air vibrated like the plucked string of a violin.
Shades of Magic series by V. E. Schwab
I admit I’m still working on this series, but A Darker Shade of Magic, the first book in the series, is ideal for fall vibes. Magic, intricate world building about travelers and magicians, friendships, romance, adventure—it’s so immersive you’ll want to curl up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate on a Saturday night and do nothing else.
Plus, V. E. Scwab is kind of a master of the page-turning fantasy novel, and it’s YA, so it’s a bit more accessible if you’re like me and tend to get intimidated by adult epic fantasy books.
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
Y’all. THIS. BOOK. Nevermoor is a middle grade fantasy novel, and I promise you, it actually does have the Harry Potter vibes.
What could be more on point for fall than any book with Harry Potter vibes?
You will fly through this book. If your schedule is full in fall months, you can at least devour this book in your limited free time. Also, book #2, Wundersmith, comes out next month (eek!).
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
If you’re a listener of my podcast, you’ve probably heard Katie and I ramble on and on about Peace Like a River. While I think it’s perfect for any time of the year, I do think there’s something special about reading it in the cozy fall months.
It just gives you the warm fuzzies, and it will definitely give you a good cry—if you’re the crying type. But it’s a feel-good cry, I swear. Just give it a try if you like family-coming-together stories, coming-of-age stories, and inspiring road trip stories set in the midwest. I mean, what’s not to love?!
Read reviews of Peace Like a River on Goodreads.com.
The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater
I just started the fourth and final book in the Raven Cycle series, and I can’t believe I waited so long. I was instantly transported back into Blue’s world, and y’all, it’s made for autumn.
Starting with the first book, The Raven King, this series is a spellbinding and irresistible tale that’s atmospheric and magical, and—ugh. It’s just so good and so beautifully written.
Definitely a book you’d want to read on a cool Saturday afternoon outside of a coffee shop.
Read reviews of The Raven King on Goodreads.com.
What are your favorite non-scary books to read in autumn?