Five book recommendations for every fall day
From poetry collections to memoirs, there is a book to match every autumn day
Fall has long since settled upon us. It’s officially the season of cozy sweaters, spicy teas and good books. So, here is a list of book recommendations for five different fall days in honor of the season. Whether you’re looking for a quick morning read, a captivating novel for those long rainy days or something to get in the Halloween spirit, this list has it all. Granted, reading books in your free time can feel exhausting (especially after a long day of online classes), so most of these books are relatively short, with all but one tapping out at 280 pages.
For those crisp, sunny fall mornings: “Thirst” by Mary Oliver
Many students don’t necessarily have time to dedicate hours to reading, especially in the morning, so Oliver’s short, poignant poems are perfect for those moments before a long day begins. This collection by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author was written after the passing of Oliver’s partner of over 40 years. It grapples with grief and finding the beauty in life through nature, even after a great loss. Superficially pastoral, these poems also showcase Oliver’s struggle with spirituality as she tries to reconcile her love of God’s creations with the treatment of LGBTQ+ people like herself. Despite the heavy themes, Oliver’s obvious love of nature and vibrant appreciation for the world is perfect for starting the day with a dose of gratitude.
For those rainy fall days: “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein
Yes, the title has ‘rain,’in it, but that isn’t the only reason it is the perfect book for overcast skies. This New York Times bestseller is an insightful look at the human condition from a refreshingly rye and amusing observer, Enzo, a golden retriever. On the eve of his death, Enzo reflects on all that he and his owner, Denny, went through together. The book is a heart-wrenchingly beautiful tale of the loyalty and love of family, as well as all the complications of that love. It’s a perfect book that wraps you up in a story without completely removing you from the lovely tapping of raindrops on your window.
For those eerie fall evenings: “The Bloody Chamber” by Angela Carter
This collection of 10 stories from Angela Carter, the godmother of modern supernatural fiction, is perfect for giving yourself the creeps on those eerie nights when werewolves and ghouls are surely lurking. Carter weaves submissive, dark tales using our favorite legends like “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Bluebeard” and “Beauty and the Beast” to create deeply sensual and often distinctly creepy stories. She gives each fairytale an exhilarating new life that is still steeped in classic literature’s gothic and romantic trappings. The best twist is Carter’s ability to invert a reader's expectations for fairytale retellings by giving her ‘damsels in distress’ a new strength and power all their own.
For those fall evenings with a warm cup of tea: “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls
This probably isn’t the most original recommendation, as “The Glass Castle” was perhaps on every “must read” book list a couple of years ago. There was a good reason for that, however. This book is a tender, moving tale of the unconditional love of family, even those that are profoundly flawed. It's a tale of the disillusionment of growing up and realizing that our parents weren’t the superheroes we built them up to be. The extraordinary nature of Walls’ life serves as an intriguing and dramatic backdrop for this heartbreaking and ultimately redemptive story. The emotional and breathtaking nature of the story makes it a perfect book for those long fall evenings when a cup of tea, a warm fire and a good story are all you need.
For those fall days when you wish you were on campus: “A Separate Peace” by John Knowles
This book could probably also be featured on a list called “books you were forced to read in middle school.” Despite its possibly infamous place in your memory, this book is perfect for days when you wish you were on campus rather than sitting in front of your computer screen. Taking place on a boarding school campus, the book captures the camaraderie of academic life that we’re missing right now. It’s also a captivating portrait of the darker, more impulsive corners of human nature through the lens of adolescent boys going to school among the chaos of World War II.
The world can feel a bit overwhelming these days, which is why taking the time to allow yourself to forget it all for a short while with a good book is important. So, grab any one of these titles and pop outside to sit under a tree or curl up with a cozy blanket and allow yourself to escape.