Autumn is my favourite season. It’s the season of fallen leaves and rainy days. We start to look forward to Christmas without worrying too much about being behind on our shopping. But most of all, autumn always makes me want to read a very specific type of book. I’m no longer in summer mode, craving sugary sweet romances, I’m after something darker. Below are some of my recommendations of books I’ve either read or am hoping to read very soon that I reckon will be the perfect stories to curl up with this autumn.
Afraid of commitment? Or just fancy some quick, atmospheric reads? These have you covered…
Haunted – Chuck Palahniuk
I’ve had this book for several years now. I remember asking for it as a gift for Christmas one year after reading Fight Club and loving Palahniuk’s style. I didn’t get far with it at all, not because it’s bad, but because I was ABSOLUTELY HORRIFIED by one of the stories at the very beginning (‘Guts’).
The novel consists of 23 short stories – some funny, some horrifying – that are broken up by a larger narrative. The stories are told by a group of writers that have answered an advert in the newspaper to attend an Artists’ Retreat for three months, allowing them to abandon all the distractions in their lives that stop them from being able to work on their creative projects. Sounds like a good idea right? But things aren’t all as they seem, and, as the novel goes on, heat, power and food is in increasingly short supply…
The Bazaar of Bad Dreams – Stephen King
I’ve not started this one, but, after reading Carrie in September, I’m very excited to get going with it. I love Stephen King’s style of writing, his stories are so original and unsettling. Plus, this book features introductions to each story about how King wrote it, which is always interesting. I read On Writing by Stephen King a few years ago and it is by far one of the best books about writing and the creative process I’ve ever read. I think this book will be good for dropping in and out of, I probably won’t read it all in one sitting but in little chunks.
Bonus recommendations: The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe, The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
Fancy a modern day thriller? Or perhaps something thought provoking because oh my God, that could happen to me! Check these out…
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
I’ve not read the book yet but I saw the film a few years ago and found myself on the edge of my seat throughout. The film is beautifully shot and was one of my favourite films of 2014 aesthetically but I’ve heard the book is even better. I’m looking forward to starting it even though I know the ending! The story is about Nick and Amy, a married couple who, on the outside, are perfect. But when Amy goes missing, Nick becomes the prime suspect. Autumn is the perfect time to sit down with a thriller or a whodunit, and Gone Girl seems like a great choice for this.
Room – Emma Donughue
Another book that was recently adapted into a film, this book killed me. Room is a story told from the perspective of five year old Jack, who was born in Room and has lived there, and only there, ever since. He doesn’t really understand that he and his mother are being held captive and that there is a whole world beyond Room. The novel is about him discovering more about the world and his mother’s fight to keep them both alive, and possibly provide them with a future. The book is so thought provoking and harrowing and somehow paints a very convincing portrait of an experience that so many of us could never even begin to understand. It’s creepy and sad, but life affirming, especially seeing the world through Jack’s eyes.
Bonus: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin.
Stories are just creepier when they’re set in the past, aren’t they? There were less distractions, no TV, no phones, so those things that went bump in the night were much harder to ignore… But seriously, the below books are both creepy and beautifully written: the perfect autumnal read.
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
Some people say that Mary Shelley invented science fiction and I like to think this is true. Even though people were writing about weird shit for years before Frankenstein arrived, this novel was the first one that was really labeled as science fiction. I won’t say much about the plot of this one as it’s such a ridiculously famous story, but Frankenstein is about Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist, gives life to a monster. From then on, everything gets a bit nightmarish for the guy.
I must admit I found this book very difficult to get into when I read it a couple of years ago. But I stuck with it and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s told through a series of letters which can get a bit confusing at times, but that’s part of the fun!
Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
This is one of my all time favourite books and, in my opinion, is perfect for Novembers and Decembers. Wuthering Heights is pretty complicated to explain in a paragraph, but overall it’s about love, class, great houses and complex relationships. Plus, it’s got Heathcliffe, the original hero, and beautiful writing like this:
“He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”
Bonus recommendation: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.
I hope this inspires you to pick up a great read this season, let me know below what you’re reading and what books make you think of autumn!