It’s that wonderful time of year – the leaves are changing colours and its time for warm sweaters and boots. I just want to cozy up on a couch with a blanket and a good book, and there are definitely a few things I look for when I’m reading at this time of year.
Murder, mystery, magical forests and witches. I love creepy atmospheric reads and classic mystery stories. I love magic and witches and urban fantasy. And with that in mind, I decided I’d give a handful of recommendations that satiate that need for a mysterious, atmospheric read.
And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich
Without a doubt the creepiest book I’ve ever read. I don’t think a book has ever made me so physically uncomfortable and creeped me out the way this one has. It’s about a girl named Silla and her sister Nori who move out into the woods but the house is eerie and the trees even creepier as they seem to get closer and closer every day. I had so much fun reading this!
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
I absolutely love these short stories. They’re fast and fun and so perfect for the Fall. And to be fair, you could read any of them. Memoirs just happens to be my favourite of the short story collections. I don’t think I need to tell you what it’s about, but it always surprises me how well-known the character of Sherlock is but how few have actually read any of the stories. If you love to read mysteries in the fall, I would give some Sherlock Holmes a shot. It’s in the public domain after all, so it won’t cost you anything!
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Maybe it’s because the first time I read this was in the Fall, but this is such an atmospheric book with such an eerie setting. The story is about three princesses with special powers that are forced to kill each other to become the queen of an island that keeps them trapped there. The island almost makes me think of the one from the show Lost, and it’s so unsettling and atmospheric, and there’s plenty of murder and magic and all those things that I crave in the fall! Something about Blake’s writing style really lends itself to that creepy atmosphere as well.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
I haven’t yet read anything else by Jackson, but this one was wonderfully creepy and unsettling. A terrible tragedy has befallen the family of the main character, Mary Blackwood, and she now lives alone in her family home with her sister, who the nearby village believes was the culprit. The story moves slowly as you see the sort of life these two women lead, and the truth comes together for the reader in small, desperate pieces. I don’t want to say anything more, you’ll just have to read it yourself!
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Witches and wizards, a magic school, a forbidden forest – Harry Potter has it all. There is no better season to pick this up for a read. Or a reread. Novels with characters starting school naturally give me those fall vibes anyway, and all the magic and potions and weird creatures just give it even more of those magical autumnal vibes.
The Shadow Over Innsmouth by H. P. Lovecraft
The spooky autumn vibes are not complete without some Lovecraftian horror. I listened to the audiobook for this last year and while it was a little slow to start it was wonderfully creepy and atmospheric and I loved the ending. It’s exactly what you’d expect from Lovecraft – weird and psychologically horrifying, which is exactly the sort of creepiness I enjoy!
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
The setting of this little novella is the Moors, the epitome of creepy gothic. While it is technically the second book in the Wayward Children series, you really don’t need to read the first one to understand this one, though I will admit that it might make some of the first book a little more obvious. To be brief, it’s about two twins who find a portal to a place called the Moors and it’s full of creepy monsters, mad scientists, vampires, and everything that would make you think of October (and Halloween!). A super fast read and so much fun. I absolutely loved it!
We have reached the end! This list was surprisingly hard to put together, I have to admit. I’m definitely a mood reader, but I don’t automatically reach for the scary books this time of year, and it took some serious thinking to determine what it was exactly that I was drawn to once we get into September. And maybe some of you feel the same. I’ve put together what I hope is a nice assortment no matter what sort of reader you are!
Got Any Recommendations?
I hope something on this list sparks your interest and if you do decide to read something, let me know if you enjoyed it! And now that you’ve seen what I like, if you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them! Leave them for me in the comments below!