Best Books for Autumn Reading


Regan Mies, Editor

The gradual arrival of fall—a gentle chill in the wind, leaves crunching underfoot, the long-awaited reappearance of warm mugs—invites us to get cozy and read some new books next to the fireplace or buried under blankets on the coach. But really, what season doesn’t welcome new books? Still, fall seems especially suited to curling up and opening the pages of a paperback, so I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite books to read in autumn—just as the landscape transforms and Halloween nears. I hope you enjoy!

For those who want eerie and beautiful, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is the perfect philosophical Halloween read. This is the story of a stunningly handsome young man who sells his soul for eternal youth—a very bad idea. Although Dorian remains young, a portrait of him becomes cruel, aged, and deformed with every horrifying and terrible decision he makes. It’s the sort of stuff that gives you chills.

If you like historical fiction and are ready for a cry, Ruta Sepetys’ novel Salt to the Sea tells the story of East Prussian refugees trekking toward freedom near the end of World War Two. This is a story of humanity and tragedy inspired by the real-life sinking of the “Wilhelm Gustloff”, history’s greatest maritime tragedy. Read this one with a steaming mug of tea, a pile of blankets, and a much-needed box of tissues.


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is whimsical and spine-tingling, a story about breathtaking magic, fierce competition, a forbidden love, and an enchanting mystery. It’s the perfect novel to read with the leaves changing outside your window and a fireplace behind your back. Enjoy with steaming apple cider, dark chocolate, or apples and caramel.

Vintage and horrific, At the Mountains of Madness is H.P. Lovecraft’s nightmarish novel about an Antarctic expedition thrown off course by the discovery of something unnatural and alive that lingers deep down in the darkness of the ice. Written in 1931, the story is charmingly old-fashioned, but chilling nonetheless—best experienced when the wind is howling outside your window.

Does Sherlock Holmes make anyone else think of autumn? For some reason or another, I’ve always associated the great detective with the changing seasons: English Breakfast Tea, warm overcoats and scarves, candlelight, and his iconic pipe smoke. A Study in Charlotte, by Brittany Cavallaro, gives readers a new twist on an old classic. Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson are the great-great-great-grandchildren of the legendary duo, meeting for the first time at their Connecticut prep school. Mysteries and murders ensue in this lighthearted adventure.

Whether or not any of these selections intrigue you, I hope your autumn is a literary success! May we all find enough time to read as the busy holiday season approaches (and, for seniors like me, college applications become a daunting task)!