As I keep mentioning, certain books feel like certain seasons to me. It could be for any number of reasons—that the book is set in that season, or it has descriptions evoking a specific time of year, or it is thematically linked to what I’ve come to think of as seasonal elements and energies. Whatever the reason, here are some of my top autumn reads, because ’tis the season to be cozy.
1. Autumn by Ali Smith. Is this one a little too obvious? I’m putting it here anyway. If the cover by itself doesn’t give you all of the autumn vibes then I just don’t know. There are some lovely seasonal moments in here, but the beauty of this book is truly in the transcendent relationship between the elderly Daniel and the young Elisabeth.
2. Pretty much anything by Rainbow Rowell, but perhaps especially the graphic novel Pumpkinheads, and the two novels Fangirl and Attachments. The latter contains the following: “October, baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup. October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins. O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!”
3. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Forget the Netflix series. Dig into this chilling book that will remind you what haunting REALLY it. A perfect Halloween read.
4. A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott. Lest we get too comfy and cozy, this book is a beautifully-written and heartbreaking reflection on the legacy of colonization, told through the lens of Elliott’s life experiences.
5. Lady Into Fox by David Garnett. An odd little tale, a bit haunting and more than a bit surreal. Published in 1922, it’s the story of a man whose wife turns into a fox. Yep, that’s what I said.
6. Moshi Moshi by Banana Yoshimoto. This one isn’t so much about the season per se, as much as it evokes a feeling similar to that of your first day back at school—a kind of new beginning, but with that blend of melancholy and comfort that Yoshimoto does so well.
7. Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner. I wrote at length about this one in another post, but in a nutshell: it’s witchy, it’s earthy, it’s uncanny. That checks all my autumn boxes.
8. Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente. A book vivid in imagery, folklore, magic, and history, Deathless will make you want to curl up by the fire with a hundred blankets, some piping hot black tea, and some sour cherry preserves. It also features everyone’s favourite witch, Baba Yaga. You can’t go wrong with that!
If you have any favourite seasonal reads, I’d love to hear them.
Happy fall, and happy reading!