Reading is just so much better in an environment you love. A cozy bookstore, a nook in your home, or on a warm beach. I firmly believe books are made that much more powerful when reading somewhere you love to be. For me, it’s at my favorite local bookstore in the city, Commonplace Books, or in my reading chair in my house. My reading chair is next to this little display of succulents (the selection of plants we grow rotates out pretty frequently because I cannot seem to keep any alive!) which sit on a wooden end table that my husband made when we first moved into our house. The chair itself is a comfy love-seat that’s probably 15 years old. In my big comfy chair, with a cup Yorkshire tea with cream, and a blanket, I’m the most content.
I think the same principle, reading in environments we love, is true for seasons and the books you read in them. In the summer, I tend toward fiction; mostly beach reads and some YA books. In the fall, I head for true crime, mysteries, and memoirs. In the winter, I long for thick historical fiction novels. These categories aren’t exclusive to these seasons, but just like one craves thick soups, pumpkin spice, and warm sweaters in the fall, my book cravings are apparent every season.
Since autumn has officially begun (with the weather to match!), I thought I would share my favorite books that are perfect for an autumn reading session.
- In the Woods by Tana French (Mystery): This is the first of the Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French, and while it isn’t my favorite of the series (The Likeness, second in the series, is my favorite), it’s definitely a fantastic read. Set in a Dublin neighborhood, this story introduces Detective Rob Ryan, who is set on a case of a murder of a twelve year old. Ryan, while investigating the case, is reminded of his own childhood, when he and his friends were found in the woods, unable to recall what happened to them, only a blood filled shoe and a missing child as a clue. Tana French is one of the only mystery writers that actually keeps me guessing while I read and I love her for it.
- 11-22-63 by Stephen King (Fiction): Let me start by saying this book is HUGE (842 pages). I read 11-22-63 about two years ago, and plan to pick it up again this fall (it’s so so good.) in about 10 days, so don’t let the number of pages daunt you. It’s doable. This novel follows Jake Epping, a high school English teacher, who is enlisted to prevent Kennedy’s assassination. But, he doesn’t live in 1963. He is introduced to a portal that transports him back in time, and finds himself in 1958 in Texas, with one mission: blend in and stop Lee Harvey Oswald. When I first read the premise of this book, I was very skeptical, but after finishing I can say two things: 1. Stephen King is a literary genius. 2. This book is one of the best stories I’ve ever read.
- Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce Novels (Mystery): Start with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Flavia de Luce is a 11 year old sleuth, obsessed with chemistry and obsessed with solving crimes. Hailing from Bishop’s Lacey, England, and set in the 1950’s, these make for a perfect autumn afternoon read.
- The Dry by Jane Harper (Mystery): Jane Harper has been labeled as the Australian Tana French, which I agree with 100%. Her writing is very similar, but a bit simpler, if that’s the right word. I read The Dry in one day, while on vacation in Mexico last year. It covers a brutal family murder in a small Australian town. For a debut novel, this one reads like Harper has been writing books for years.
- Columbine by Dave Cullen and Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi (True Crime): Both true crime and both fantastic reads. I plan to do a true crime post soon, so I won’t go into a whole lot of details, but these are both great reads. Columbine covers the events at Columbine High School and Helter Skelter covers the Marilyn Manson murders.
- Little Fires Everywhere by Celest Ng (Young Adult): This book is FANTASTIC. Well-written, the pace is perfect, characters flushed out well. I really enjoyed this one. I chose this as a Book of the Month Club pick, and I am so glad I did. It makes me want to read Everything I Never Told You. Also, this book is soon to be a Hulu series starring Reese Witherspoon (she’s turning ALL the books into TV shows, isn’t she?!
- Harry Potter: Because obvs. Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban is my favorite.
- Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris (Memoir): David Sedaris is just fantastic. His writing is brutally honest, hilarious, and nostalgic. I love that he talks about his family often. This book tells of ‘his childhood with all his siblings and the characters that are his parents. This book is PERFECT for a fall afternoon.
- Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (YA): I can’t not include a YA novel. With school back in session, it feels appropriate. TATWD is a true depiction of what it’s like to live with anxiety, specifically OCD. John Green is the authority on YA novels, and this novel, while not my favorite of his, stuck with me long after I read it. I won’t give too much away, but the part of this book that compares worries of the mind to a “brain spiral”, made so much sense.
So there you have it. My recommendations for the perfect autumn reading session. Grab a cardigan, a cup of coffee, and one of these reads listed above, and you’re set for the afternoon. Also, if you don’t have one, get yourself a reading chair. And maybe also a succulent.
Happy reading! xx