10+ Books Perfect to Read in Autumn

10 Books Perfect to Read in Autumn / 10 Books Perfect to Read in the FallSummer Books seem to get all the attention, but autumn is the perfect time to dive into some wonderful reads. Whether you’re in the mood for longer, more thought-provoking books, coming-of-age stories with the growing-up nostalgia brought on by back-to-school season, novels with a strong sense of place, or works that requiring more focus than beach-reading allows.

Here are 10 books that are perfect to read in autumn, plus extra options for those who are already well-read in fall literature.

Cover of A Tree Grows in BrooklynA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Why so perfect for fall? The emphasis on education makes this feel especially appropriate to read during back-to-school season.

This turn of the century coming-of-age story is an American classic for good reason. The beautifully crafted tale pulls you into Francie’s story and has you rooting for her as she grows up in challenging circumstances. There is an undercurrent of hope that buoys everything.

Already read it? Try A Distant Prospect or Emily of New Moon for other thoughtful coming-of-age novels.


Cover of Still LifeStill Life by Louise Penny

Why so perfect for fall? Penny is amazing at developing the setting for the novels through wonderful details of location, food, and weather.

The Chief Inspector Gamache series mostly takes place in a rural village south of Montreal, and the setting is key in most of the books in the series. This is the first book in a lengthy series that continues to improve, and the backstory behind the characters is a reason to savor every book.

Already read it? Try Bruno, Chief of Police or Death of a Red Heroine for other mystery series with a strong sense of place.


Cover of Wolf HallWolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Why so perfect for fall? It’s a big reading commitment, that needs focused time to appreciate the depth offered by the novel.

This Booker Prize-winning historical fiction brings Thomas Cromwell to life. It’s an utterly fascinating account with an unusual writing style. Stay with it long enough to adjust, as your efforts will be richly rewarded.

Already read it? Try Kristin Lavransdattar or 11/22/63 for other historical sagas.


Cover of RebeccaRebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Why so perfect for fall? It’s an ideal choice when you’re looking for something to read while curled up under a blanket, sipping a hot drink.

From the famous opening line to the dramatic conclusion, Rebecca is also perfect for a discussion title, if you’re looking for one for your book club to read this fall. The atmospheric novel is a modern classic, blending Gothic romance and mystery.

Already read it?Try My Cousin Rachel or Dragonwyck for additional novels with a Gothic feel and slight romance storyline.


Cover of Harry PotterHarry Potter by J. K. Rowling

Why so perfect for fall? Because every book begins as Harry heads off to school in September, looking forward to the fresh start a new school year provides. No, back-to-school novels don’t have to take place at a boarding school, but it never hurts when they do. Add in the magical element for extra fun.

Already read it? Try The Magicians or Charmed Life for other stories about magical education.


Cover of Anne of Green GablesAnne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery

Why so perfect for fall? Because it includes the famous line “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” And because autumn at Green Gables sounds gorgeous – the birch trees have turned golden, the maple branches give Anne a thrill, and the wild cherry trees lining the road are lovely shades. Fall foliage never sounded so beautiful as Montgomery describes it.

Already read it? Try The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate or Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms for more heart-warming reads about precocious young girls.


Cover of Crossing to SafetyCrossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

Why so perfect for fall? The academic setting, the quiet feel of it all, and the stunning writing which is simply ideal for savoring. Stegner excels at weaving a gentle narrative following friends over the course of their lives, bringing the reader into their story. Any description of it fails to do it justice.

Already read it? Try Jayber Crow or Hannah Coulter for other quiet stories with a literary feel.


Cover of And Then There Were NoneAnd Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Why so perfect for fall? One of her most famous mysteries, the eerie setting, and countdown of survivors makes for a satisfying mystery with a slightly Halloween-inspired feel. Add in the narrative following the children’s verse, and the disappearing soldiers mimicking the fallen guests and there is a decided sense of menace to the text.

Already read it? Try The Turn of the Screw or We Have Always Lived in the Castle for other classic novels that tilt towards the creepy side.


Cover of Team of RivalsTeam of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Why so perfect for fall? It’s a hefty reading investment, one where you need plenty of time to appreciate Goodwin’s clever structuring of her award-winning work.

Already read it? Try Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War or A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918 for additional history books, both appropriate to read this time of year.


Cover of Northanger AbbeyNorthanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Why so perfect for fall? It’s a terrific read around Halloween if you’re not quite brave enough for a true horror book.

Slightly eerie, Austen’s Gothic-inspired novel gives nods to what was then the supremely popular The Mysteries of Udolpho.

Already read it? Try Wuthering Heights or Mistress of Mellyn for additional novels with a Gothic feel.


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10 Nonfiction Books I Can’t Stop Recommending

10 Nonfiction Books I Can't Stop Recommending

  1. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

    It works for so many reading situations and interests. Enjoy reading about history? Interested in sports history? Narrative nonfiction? Nonfiction that reads like fiction? Just looking for a great book? Boys in the Boat!

  2. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

    At the slightest opportunity to promote this look at Introverts, I take it. Introverts needing to understand themselves, extroverts needing to understand the “other side” – it works for all. I’m eager to read Quiet Power, her version for children, as well.

  3. The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway

    A thought-provoking memoir, which touches on so many topics. It’s marvelous for book clubs, and it’s not nearly as well-known as it should be. Anyone looking to expand their usual reading choices should take a close look at this as a possibility.

  4. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

    Recommended when someone isn’t afraid of a book with some heft. It may be over 800 pages, but it’s a marvelous account of Lincoln’s presidency. She has a gift for bringing the past to life and making me care about things I never expected to (like Lincoln’s cabinet).

  5. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
    It’s an easy introduction to the epistolary style and is a great follow-up read to so many books (but especially The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society). It’s also short enough that it works well as a recommendation for anyone looking for a quick read.
  6. Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
    Yes, it’s the third of her memoirs, so you should probably read the other ones first, but this one was the most interesting, as it looks at her life as restaurant critic for The New York Times. I’ve never wanted to be a restaurant critic, but this book made me wish I was friends with one and could go out to eat with them occasionally.
  7. In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
    It’s actually a toss-up between this and another Bryson title, A Walk in the Woods. Both combine memoir with history and geography in a humorous travelogue that always makes me feel like I’m traveling with him. In addition, these are both excellent as audio books.
  8. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
    Speaking of audio books, at the slightest query for a great audio book I mention Elwes’ memoir. I don’t even like celebrity memoirs, but this isn’t so much an account of Elwes’ life, as it is a look back at the making of the movie The Princess Bride. And as much as I enjoyed reading it, listening to it is even better. The familiar voice of Wesley, along with brief appearances by Billy Crystal, Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Mandy Patinkin, Rob Reiner, and more. Spectacular!
  9. Give Your Child The World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time by Jamie C. Martin
    Not only for homeschoolers, although I do bring it up regularly in that context. For anyone wanting to introduce children to the world, it’s an amazing annotated listing of books by geographic region, organized by age range (4-6, 6-8, 8-10, 10-12). There’s also a helpful index by time period in the back.
  10. 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy
    I suggest this title ALL THE TIME for anyone thinking of homeschooling, wondering where to start if they want to homeschool, and of course for those looking to consider particular curriculum options. What isn’t so obvious from the title is that the book includes a fabulous introductory section, describing types of homeschoolers, and helping parents figure out their child(ren)’s learning style(s). If you are homeschooling or thinking of homeschooling, you should read this book.

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Upcoming Releases I’m Eagerly Anticipating

Despite having an already-overflowing to-be-read list, I’m always looking ahead at what new books are soon to be released. Here are the ones I’m most excited about that will be releasing in the next six months:

Glass Houses coverGlass Houses by Louise Penny

The latest in the Gamache series, and as much as I tried to slow myself down so I wouldn’t be left waiting for publication, it didn’t work. Hurry up, publication date!! (August 29th, not that I’m counting or anything).

The Four Tendancies coverThe Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin

Rubin’s last book, Better Than Before, introduced the four tendencies, and I found that section was my favorite part in the entire book. I’m eager to read a book focused entirely on that topic.

The Grave's a Fine and Private Place coverThe Grave’s a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley

The latest in the Flavia de Luce series, which Goodreads says is expected to publish in September, but now Amazon says January. So apparently they aren’t making their original date and have pushed it back, which is a major disappointment as I am ready to read it immediately.

Reading People coverReading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel

Reading + personality = this should be awesome. I thought about applying to be on the launch team for this book since that would have gotten me an early copy. I really should have done that and then crossed my fingers to be chosen.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban coverHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: The Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay

I’ve had this one pre-ordered since April, despite already owning the book in at least two other formats. No matter, I want to own all of the books in this new illustrated edition, because it is so beautiful. It’s going to release in October and will be set aside as a Christmas present to me. Thanks husband dear, you gave me exactly what I wanted. 😉

The Yes Effect coverThe Yes Effect: Accepting God’s Invitation to Transform the World Around You by Luis Bush with Darcy Wiley

Co-authored by my friend Darcy (who wrote a wonderful guest post for me ages ago), I’ve been following along with her writing process since she first began the project. So excited for her that the publication date is almost here!

Ride On Will Cody coverRide On, Will Cody! by Caroline Starr Rose

I’ve mentioned my love for her books many times, and I’m excited for another one, especially one that I’m confident my son will love.

The Self-Discipline Handbook coverThe Self-Discipline Handbook: Simple Ways to Cultivate Self-Discipline, Build Confidence, and Obtain Your Goals by Natalie Wise

I “met” Natalie through an online group thanks to my friend Darcy mentioned above. She’s amazingly accomplished and regularly has SO MANY projects going on at a time, so I’m eager to read this.

Sleeping in the Ground coverSleeping in the Ground: An Inspector Banks Novel by Peter Robinson

An upcoming release that I’m actually not quite ready to read, as I catch back up on earlier titles in the series. This series got paused when I had kids, but I’m enjoying getting reacquainted with Inspector Banks and am looking forward to continuing on with him, especially since I haven’t even reached the books where Robinson really starts to shine as an author.

OPne Beautiful DreamOne Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them Both by Jennifer Fulwiler

I enjoyed Fulwiler’s first memoir, Something Other Than God and imagine that the sequel should be just as enlightening.

The War I Finally Won coverThe War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I thought so much of The War That Saved My Life, and was super excited to hear there’s a sequel to it.

Of Mess and Moxie coverOf Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life by Jen Hatmaker

Hatmaker makes me laugh, and think, and laugh some more, so while this isn’t a book that I’m planning on buying for myself, it’s one I’ll be jumping onto the library holds list as soon as it’s available in the catalog.

Renegades coverRenegades by Marissa Meyer

The description for it sounds like it has so much potential, and with how much love I have for Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series I’m trusting the book will live up to its potential. (pleasepleaseplease)

Into the Bright Unknown coverInto the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson

I began reading Walk on Earth a Stranger, but quickly paused it when I realized that it was the first in a then-unfinished trilogy. Into the Bright Unknown is the final book in the trilogy, so it’s time for me to go back to the beginning and read the books!

And, a few others that are on my radar as strong possibilities for future reads, including Hello Mornings by Kat Lee, Finish by Jon Acuff, Come and Eat by Bri McKoy, Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore, and Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton.

When You Can’t Get Enough of SHARK WEEK

Sharks fascinate me (and terrify me too; there’s a reason I have no interest in scuba diving), and as much as I rarely watch TV I have been known to dip into the Discovery programming offered during Shark Week.

But what do I like even more than the shows? Reading about sharks from the comfort of my couch. No risk of shark attack there!

Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916 by Michael Capuzzo

What makes this one especially terrifying is the fact that one of the attacks took place eleven miles inland. That’s right, swimming in a river that far from the ocean itself, thinking you’re safe… (shudder)

In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors by Doug Stanton

Close to 900 sailors survived the torpedo attack that sunk their ship in the South Pacific. By the time they were rescued four days later, only 317 remained.

The Devil’s Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America’s Great White Sharks by Susan Casey

So. Many. Great. White. Sharks.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

When your life story is so amazing that the time you had to choose between staying in a life raft being strafed with bullets or diving into shark-infested waters turns out to be only a minor anecdote.

Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks by Juliet Eilperin

Disclaimer: I haven’t read this one. I just can’t look away from the cover image.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Next Up: Staying in the US in Family Book Club

Apparently we all took the summer off, but you’ve got time to join in for the final months of our family book club as we look at books set in the United States! We’ve also got a new co-host, Kate of Moms’s Radius.

What books are we reading in September and October?

RTFEBC Sept Oct

For the youngest readers, the picture book selected is Grace For President by Kelly S. DiPucchio, and illustrated by LeUyen Pham (can’t find it at your library? I’ll be back soon with a post on some other options, but do look for this one, as it is wonderful).

For September’s early elementary / middle grade title, we’re reading Dancing Home by Alma Flor Ada and Gabriel M. Zubizarreta.

October’s selection for teens / adults is Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman.

Chat about the books

We’d love to chat about the books with you in the Facebook group – tell us what you & your family think about the titles, or share additional ideas for books (or crafts, or food) that connect to the theme!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Book Review: The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner

Reading Around the World: Week 2 – Africa

Give Your Child the World Week 2 AfricaContinuing on with Jamie Martin and Sarah Mackenzie’s children’s book club, although I’m quite behind their official schedule.

Week two is coordinated with the chapter on Africa from Martin’s fantastic book Give Your Child The World.

This week I read the following titles with my kids:

Lala SalamaLala Salama: A Tanzanian Lullaby by Patricia Maclachlan, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
Beautiful illustrations, and a soft and gentle story that’s perfect for bedtime.

Elephants of AfricaElephants of Africa by Gail Gibbons
Informative nonfiction title – my older two weren’t that interested in it but the youngest liked making elephant noises for every page.

Anansi and the Moss-Covered RockAnansi and the Moss-Covered Rock retold by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Janet Stevens
Generally I don’t like folktales (from any culture) so I wasn’t feeling enthusiastic about starting this title, but it was a lot of fun.

Rain SchoolRain School by James Mumford
Great story, and I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book set in Chad before, so that was nice.

Jambo Means HelloJambo Means Hello: Swahili Alphabet Book by Muriel Feelings, illustrated by Tom Feelings
We skimmed this one mostly, but the illustrations are wonderful.

Bringing the Rain to Kapiti PlainBringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain: A Nandi Tale by Verna Aardema, illustrated by Beatriz Vidal
My oldest had wandered off when we read this one, but I hope to get him to listen to it later – I’m curious to see if he recognizes the structure of it being like “This is the House That Jack Built”

Throw Your Tooth on the RoofWe also read Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World by Selby Beeler, illustrated by G. Brian Karas, although that really would have been a better fit with week 1, as a multicultural book. My kids got a little bit bored with it, and we just kind of dipped into it here and there, mostly seeing how many cultures were mentioned having tooth traditions involving 1) mice 2)throwing the tooth on the roof or 3) burying the tooth.

Anna HibiscusAnd I was somewhat hoping to get to it this week but it didn’t happen. Later this year though we will be reading Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke, as it is *such* a great book. It’s not a picture book though, which is all we managed this week. 🙂

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

Two years ago: Read This, Not That: Fair Play Mystery

50 Picture Books about Australia

On Monday I shared the books we’ll “officially” be reading as part of our Family Book Club. But perhaps your library doesn’t have Mem Fox’s Possum Magic, or perhaps you just want one or two dozen others to read because your kids are like mine and can’t get enough picture books. In that case, I’ve compiled a list of 50 possibilities for you.

50 Australia picture books

Headed to the library? I’ve got a printable for that.

If you want to look for any of these titles at your library, here’s a PDF printable of all 50 books.

And some others, which I didn’t have the chance to preview:

Still Want More?

Despite including several titles by Mem Fox already in this list, she’s got plenty more – not all of them very Australia-heavy on their content, but every one of hers I’ve read has been worthwhile. My kids are particularly partial to Where Is the Green Sheep?

In addition, Bronwyn Bancroft has many additional picture book titles besides the three listed in this post, and all are very Australia-focused.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans

Family Book Club Destination Australia!

We’re into July but it’s not too late to join in our family book club as we head to Australia! We’ve got a new co-host, Breanne of This Vintage Moment.

What books are we reading in July and August?

RTFEBC Australia

For the youngest readers, the picture book selected is Possum Magic by Mem Fox, illustrated by Julie Vivas. (Can’t find it? I’ll list some other suggestions on Thursday).

For July’s early elementary / middle grade title, we’re reading The Slightly True Story of Cedar B. Hartley by Martine Murray. August’s selection for teens / adults is [Follow the] Rabbit Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington (a.k.a. Nugi Garimara), our one and only nonfiction pick for the year. (You may find the book under either title, depending on the edition your library carries)

Chat about the books

We’d love to chat about the books with you in the Facebook group – tell us what you & your family think about the titles, or share additional ideas for books (or crafts, or food) that connect to the theme!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

Three years ago: Book Review: A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri.

Reading Around the World: Week 1 – Multiculturalism

Give Your Child the World Week 1 MulticulturalismYou know I’m a sucker for book clubs (all book clubs) so when I saw that Jamie Martin and Sarah Mackenzie were teaming up for a children’s book club this summer I couldn’t resist.

Themed around Martin’s new book, Give Your Child The World, each week of the book club is matched with a chapter of her book.

Week one was multicultural books, and I read the following titles with my kids:

Little Humans by Brandon Stanton. The two year old LOVED this one.

All the Colors of the Earth by Sheila Hamanaka

On The Same Day in March by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Frane Lessac – this is on H’s school list for later this year, so I debated reading it now. I’m glad I did, as they enjoyed it, and it’ll still be a good one to reread later when it comes up in her schedule.

Bread Bread Bread by Ann Morris, illustrated by Ken Heyman

Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney, illustrated by Annette Cable – also on H’s school list.

And, we didn’t read it this time, but earlier this year we read How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman and it was a lot of fun.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Come Along with Us To Korea! (our next theme for RTFEBC)

RTFEBC KoreaLooking ahead (so you’ve got time to reserve or buy the books), in March and April we’ll be reading about Korea for our family book club.

The picture book will be The Firekeeper’s SonThe Firekeeper's Son by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Julie Downing. I’ll be back soon with a list of alternative picture book titles you can try, if you can’t easily locate this one.

The early elementary book (to be discussed in March) will be The Kite FightersThe Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park. This was a new-to-me book I was excited to read!

The middle grade/teen book (to be discussed in April) will be When My Name Was KeokoWhen My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park. And while April’s books are aimed at somewhat older kids, this is a fantastic title that’s well worth reading even if you are an adult with no kids, or kids too young to appreciate it. It discusses Korea right before and during World War II, when Korea was occupied by Japan. Despite the topic, it’s handled gently, and may still be something you feel comfortable reading to upper elementary age children. If you want some specifics as you wonder about it’s appropriateness for your children, let me know – I reread it last month in preparation for this.

All of these picks for the Korea theme are by the same author – Linda Sue Park. She is an amazing author, to be sure, but that really wasn’t intentional. 😉

I hope you’ll join us over in the Facebook group, where this month we’ll be discussing Julie of the Wolves with Carrie of The Lion is a Bookworm as we finish our Arctic theme, and then get ready to move on to Korea along with that theme’s co-host, Moira of Hearth and Homefront.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Book Review: Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
Two years ago: Book Review: Fit to Burst by Rachel Jankovic
Three years ago: Literary Confessions