Now that October is upon us, you may be feeling your preference in literature shifting as well. Many people enjoy reading spooky books during the Halloween and fall season, but sometimes it can be difficult to know which books will fulfill your personal requirements.
In the interest of helping my fellow readers curate their own autumn reading line-up, I’d like to share some of the books in my “Autumn Reading” pile and a few additional recommendations!
Do I expect to read all of these books in October? Heck no! The following books are merely on my radar for the next two months, but depending on my mood, I may or may not get to reading any of these. However, this blog is sponsored fully by my anticipation for the fall season’s full effects, so please enjoy my excitement and hopefully you’ll find something new that could work for you as well!
Dracula by Bram Stoker
What more could you ask for in the fall? This Victorian classic, written in 1897, conjures romantic imagery of vampires, and is a staple for this time of year and children’s Halloween costumes all over the United States. It’s written in epistolary format, which means it is comprised of letters, diary entries, ship logs, and newspaper articles, and–fun fact! Bram Stoker was Irish.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Another classic! This romantic, gothic novel was written when Shelley was only eighteen years old and published two years later in 1818. It depicts a scientist as he creates a science experiment, a “living dead” man, from which the concept of “Frankenstein” was born. Many consider this novel to be the first piece that represents the science fiction genre. This is a must-read on my fall TBR.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
This newly-released teen/young adult novel features a trans Latinx character who accidentally summons a friendly ghost and forms somewhat of a friendship with said ghost. It sounds absolutely charming!
Zone One by Colson Whitehead
Published in 2011, Zone One is a literary fiction novel of post-apocalyptic United States in which zombies, who were initially infected by a virus, have taken over. Colson Whitehead says he was inspired by Stephen King and Isaac Asimov, so it has both horror and science fiction influences. If you’re looking to read a book by a Black author, consider this one.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie is the queen of mystery and I haven’t read a single book by her. And Then There Were None is one of her most classic books, and it follows a group of people invited to a private cabin who have no idea why they were all brought there. As people begin to get picked off, the mystery unfolds! It was first published in the U.S. in 1940, although it was originally published with a different, more racist name, which is often amended to “Ten Little Indians.”
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
I read this book back in June, so you can read the review I wrote about it here. If you are looking for a book that is NOT very scary, read this! If you don’t read a lot of mystery, I think this a good book to start with, if you want a gentle transition. But if you’re looking for a real rollercoaster, you’ll be underwhelmed like I was. This novel follows a bachelorette weekend in a cabin as the event goes astray.
One by One by Ruth Ware
That being said, I want to give Ruth Ware another shot. Many reviewers liken her to Agatha Christie, and I’ve heard great reviews for The Death of Mrs. Westaway, so I would like to try out her newest book, One by One, which is about another group of people in a snowed-in cabin who meet some unfortunate circumstances.
The Shining by Stephen King
I’ve been meaning to read The Shining for a while now, so this is another fall TBR “must.” Even though I’ve seen most of the movie, I think the book will be a great way to freshen up my memory. The main plot is that a man, his wife, and child live in an empty hotel as groundskeepers on the off-season and some strange things occur. If you’ve never read Stephen King before, this is a good one to start with.
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
I have seen so many amazing reviews about this horror book, which was just published earlier this year. A group of Native American men are haunted by some vengeful entity, so it sounds quite a promising thriller! Jones is himself a Blackfeet Native American.
The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
The book club I’m co-hosting, The Moody Book Club (who you can follow on Instagram!) voted to read The Good Daughter in October, so although I am terrified to read this book, I will be attempting! It seems to be a psychological thriller, and the list of trigger warnings is quite extensive, including rape and pedophilia, so I think this book better suits those unphased by graphic content. As for me, I’ll be reading this during the day.
Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky
Last October, I read Imaginary Friend, which is written by the same author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, although this book is much different from that book! You can read my full review of it here, but the short of it is that I recommend this book for a spooky read! It’s a very large book of about 800 pages and the story has some religious themes throughout it, but it’s an enjoyable and haunting story about a voice that tells a little boy to build a treehouse. It’s creepy and perfect for reading in the fall!
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
The Late Night Book Club, hosted by booktubers Noelle Gallagher, Elias, and Joel from Fictional Fates, is reading this book in October, so I also ordered this! Also the author of The Goldfinch, Tartt published this one in 1992. It is a mysterious, dark academia novel which shares the story of six students of a liberal arts college in New England as the narrator recounts the events leading up to one of their deaths.
Morning Glories by Nick Spencer
If you’re interested in reading a horror genre graphic novel, Morning Glories is a comic series with only ten volumes. This comes via my partner Bryant’s suggestion, and he says it falls into the dark academia category; apparently, it’s quite a page-turner, but the ending will leave you yearning for more.
Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Fever Dream is a translated work originally written in Spanish. It follows a young child who awakens in a hospital bed accompanied by a person that they do not know; it seems to be quite a “fever dream” psychological thriller experience.
The Vegetarian by Han Kang
Winner of the Booker Prize and also a work translated from Korean, The Vegetarian takes place in Seoul and follows a young woman who decides to become a vegetarian after a rather horrifying dream–and the aftermath of this decision. It seems to contain themes of eroticism and the female body, and has been received as a bizarre, literary work. Apparently people are reading it though, because it’s been translated into thirteen languages.
The Last Man by Mary Shelley
Although lesser known than Frankenstein, this novel claims to be her best work. Written in 1826 but suppressed so that it did not resurface until 1960, this science fiction novel takes place in 2073 and features characters modeled after her husband Percy Shelley and their friend Lord Byron. The protagonists’ lives are drastically altered by war and plague and a totalitarian government reigns. Fascinatingly, my edition contains an introduction by author of Woman on the Edge of Time Marge Piercy, who I mentioned passingly in last week’s essay about Herland.
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Autumn feels like a very appropriate season for reading Ray Bradbury, for whatever reason. Perhaps it’s because his stories always contain some dark and haunting element, his imagination always fantastical. This novel takes place in Illinois and follows two young boys as they encounter a dark carnival that comes to town.
The October Country by Ray Bradbury
This is a series of short stories by Ray Bradbury. What better month to read this collection than October?
Ten Great Mysteries by Edgar Allan Poe
There are so many countless editions of Edgar Allan Poe stories, so although I own a few copies shelf, I chose this specific edition because it’s the most handy to read. Poe’s stories contain the romantic, gothic elements that so well suit this time of year. Poe was one of the American writers who popularized the short story form and many consider him the inventor of detective fiction. His personal life was quite rocky, riddled with addiction and financial stress, and in 1849 he died at age 40.
Classic Fairy Tales
During my English undergrad, I took an amazing Fairy Tales course. It was absolutely fascinating, and as I attended it during the fall semester, I often associate fairy tales with the autumn season. I have a few different classic fairy tale anthologies from this class, included a Norton edition edited by Maria Tatar and a collection of Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales. I love reading the different version of fairy tales which changed depending on who was writing it, as well as the fantastical elements.
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
This collection of poetry doesn’t explicitly relate to autumn, but t’is a poetic season, and reading classics that focus on nature will be a nice respite from the horror or anxiety of the other fall reads. Because Whitman revised Leaves of Grass so many times, over forty different editions have existed. His poetry demonstrates the transcendentalist period in American literature in which there was more emphasis placed on the body and physicality and lifting the human existence.
Small Great Things by Jodi Piccoult
Also not directly related to autumn, this book is my Slanted Spines October book, which I had previously determined on my Slanted Spines 2020 Book List. This is about a Black hospital worker who is sued for touching a racist couple’s baby in order to save its life, and the court case that follows. Piccoult herself is a white woman, but after browsing the reviews, it seems like she conducted a mass amount of research in writing this book, and has written about this subject matter in a considerate way.
Leave a comment and let me know which books sound the most interesting to you! To read more of my book reviews, check out this page on my blog!