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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The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (and a linkup)

Cuckoo's CallingThe Cuckoo’s CallingThe Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike) by Robert Galbraith a.k.a. J. K. Rowling by Robert Galbraith

While I found this mystery just a tiny bit slow to start, once I got pulled into the story, I was hooked. Galbraith (a.k.a. J. K. Rowling) is excellent at creating compelling characters, and I fell hard for Cormoran Strike and especially Robin.

The plot was fairly weak, but I didn’t mind that much as I enjoyed the characters so much. The ending was the worst part – somewhat contrived and confusing and yet I ended the book and immediately put #2 on hold from the library. I forgive a book a lot when I care about the personalities in it.

I know of at least one person who was unable to finish this book because she couldn’t get past it not being more like Harry Potter. If you think that would be an issue for you, I’d say pretend you don’t know that it’s Rowling writing under an pseudonym, and read this on its own merits only. It’s a solid start to a mystery series, and I’m eagerly anticipating reading more.

No, it’s not perfect, but it was a very satisfying read. There is a fair amount of language in it, so if that’s a concern to you consider yourself warned. Recommended for mystery fans.

Looking ahead at next month, we’ll start our discussion of Climbing the Mango Trees by Madhur Jaffrey on August 1st.

If you’ve written a post about The Cuckoo’s Calling, you’re welcome to add it to the linkup below.

Link-up Guidelines:

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2. Link back to The Deliberate Reader – you can use the button below if you’d like, or just use a text link.

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3. The linkup will be open for two weeks.

4. Please visit the person’s blog who linked up directly before you and leave them a comment.

5. By linking up, you’re granting me permission to use and/or repost photographs or comments from your linked post.

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Quick Lit: Recent Series Reads

Harry Potter 1 2 3I’m in the midst of a Harry Potter readathon (so fun!) and have completed the first three books, and am thisclose to finishing book four. I’ve been listening to them all via Audible and while it takes longer (which is why I’m only just now almost finishing book four), I’m really enjoying the slower pace and wonderful accents that Jim Dale brings to it. Years ago I listened to some of them on CD, but it’s different hearing them now, after a break, and after completing the series.

Among the MadAmong the Mad (Maisie Dobbs #6). I think I enjoy this as a series more than any one book in particular – I like Maisie as a character quite a bit, and Billy is great too. I’m anxious to continue reading the series to see what happens with them both. Does Maisie find love again? Does Billy’s wife improve? Do Billy and his family move to Canada?

Flavia de Luce 6 and 7The Dead in their Vaulted Arches and As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (Flavia de Luce books 6 and 7). I’d been trying to read this series s-l-o-w-l-y because I don’t want to reach the point of no more to read. And now all I have left is a short story, The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse. I shouldn’t have too long to wait though, as book #8, Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d is releasing September 20th. I’m planning on pre-ordering the Audible version as soon as it’s available.

The Mystery of the Blue TrainMystery of the Blue Train (Hercule Poirot #6)
Fairly convoluted plotting, but I still enjoy Christie and will keep reading her.

For more peeks at what people are reading, head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up!

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Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Quick Lit July 2015
Two years ago: Favorite Books from the first half of 2014
Three years ago: Best Books {from the first half} of 2013

Introducing July’s Book Club Selection: The Cuckoo’s Calling

Cuckoo's CallingJuly’s book for the Facebook book club is The Cuckoo’s CallingThe Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike) by Robert Galbraith a.k.a. J. K. Rowling by Robert Galbraith

What It’s About

Description from Goodreads:

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this. Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Why Was This Title Selected

I wanted a mystery for the year, and I’ve heard some really great things about this as a series. Plus I’ve been wanting to get to it since the fact that Robert Galbraith was really J. K. Rowling became news, and this was a way to prioritize it.

Anything Else to Know About It?

There are two more books in the series (so far) if you enjoy the first.

Discussion about the book is starting today, but if you’d like to join in the first few questions will be very general, and you’ll have time to catch up by the time we get into anything substantive. It’s available in print, for Kindle, or on Audible.

What’s Coming Up in August?

Climbing the Mango TreesClimbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in IndiaClimbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India by Madhur Jaffrey by Madhur Jaffrey

Why did I select it? I wanted a memoir, and one with a non-US focus. Plus I am a complete fan of food memoirs, so any excuse to read another one of those is a good thing as far as I’m concerned.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

And a heads-up: you can get the Audible version for a reduced price if you buy the Kindle version first.

See all the books we’ll be reading in 2016 here.

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A Harry Potter Readathon Summer

harrypotterthonI’d planned on rereading all of the Harry Potter series this year – my in-person book club selected the series instead of a book flight for our annual retreat, so a perfect excuse to reread it.

Then Jessica suggested having a readathon of the series this summer – so let’s speed up my reading plans just a bit and do that as well!

If you’re interested in reading along with us, join us in the YA Book Club Hangout and/or follow the hashtag ‪#‎harrypotterthon16‬ on twitter or instagram. It’s gonna be great!

I’ve already finished listening to book one, and have just started book two. They are *so* good on audio, so if you’ve got any Audible credits looking to be used I’d highly recommend them. 🙂

And a final heads-up: Jessica has a give-away going on over at her blog for people participating in the readathon. Read her post for details.

Most Memorable Books

I’m taking a mini blog break but instead of having no posts at all, I’m sharing some content that originally ran on another blog I had. I’ve updated the posts, but if you’ve been reading me for a long time, they may still be familiar.

Last year Anne from a Modern Mrs. Darcy had a “The Book That Changed My Life” Carnival. I didn’t participate because I couldn’t really think of a book that struck me as “This Book Changed Me.” But it did get me thinking of what books have been the most memorable.

Most Memorable BooksMost Memorable Books

  1. All those kid’s books that my mom read overandoverandover. Nope, no specific names here, because there were so many. I’ve got pictures of me as a toddler hefting a pile of books almost as big as me. I’ve got a picture of me passed out in the chair surrounded by books. I’ve even got a picture of me on the little kid potty, reading books.

    I wanted my mom to read those books so many times that she finally made her own books on tape, complete with a little chime to tell me when to turn the page. I would listen to them endlessly, so much so that I learned to read when I was barely 3 just from sheer repetition. A relative thought I’d simply memorized those books, and brought out new ones to test me. To her shock, it confirmed that I was really reading!

    Pure determination and desire (and a lot of repetition by my mom) opened up the world of books to me long before I’d have learned in school. It may be cheating because I don’t remember all the specific titles, but as a group the story of how I learned to read has entered family lore, as has the early start to my reading addiction.
  2. Little House on the Prairie

  3. The Little House on the Prairie seriesLaura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie series - one of my most memorable books. The books, not the TV series, which I always hated because of how it departed from the books.

    I read these countless times as a child, and certain scenes have stuck with me. Laura and her family using their coffee grinder to prepare the wheat for their small daily ration of bread in The Long WinterThe Long Winter - one of my most memorable books. All the glorious food described in Farmer BoyFarmer Boy - one of my most memorable books. Jack the brindle bulldog trotting along beneath their wagon as they traveled west.

    I’m anxious to share these stories with my children, and I hope they love them as much as I did.
  4. Anne of Green Gables

  5. Anne of Green GablesLucy Maud Montgomery's The Complete Anne of Green Gables Boxed Set (Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne's House of Dreams, ... Rainbow Valley, Rilla of Ingleside). I’m still determined to travel to Prince Edward Island someday so I can see the setting for this book and the others by L. M. Montgomery. Anne was so real to me, and her books made me long to have a close friend like her. I’m glad I have a daughter to share this book with her someday. And while I liked all of the seriesLucy Maud Montgomery's The Complete Anne of Green Gables Boxed Set (Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne's House of Dreams, ... Rainbow Valley, Rilla of Ingleside) well enough, the first bookAnne of Green Gables - one of my most memorable books was definitely my favorite.
  6. Jane Eyre

  7. Jane EyreCharlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre - one of my most memorable books. I read this as a fairly young child (around 3rd grade), and to this day I remember the shock some people expressed when they found out I was reading it. I didn’t get the surprise – there was nothing that complicated to understand in the book, and it had such an exciting ending. I did reread it a few years ago, to see how I liked it as an adult, and yes I missed some of the subtleties, but it’s still not anything I would say I shouldn’t have been reading, which is the impression I remember getting.
  8. All Creatures Great and Small

  9. The James Herriot books (All Creatures Great and SmallJames Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small - one of my most memorable books, All Things Bright and BeautifulJames Herriot's All Things Bright and Beautiful (All Creatures Great and Small series) - one of my most memorable books, All Things Wise and WonderfulJames Herriot's All Things Wise and Wonderful (All Creatures Great and Small series) - one of my most memorable books, The Lord God Made Them AllJames Herriot's The Lord God Made Them All (All Creatures Great and Small series) - one of my most memorable books, and Every Living ThingJames Herriot's Every Living Thing (All Creatures Great and Small series) - one of my most memorable books). My mom got me started on these books, and she used to read one chapter a night. I’ve never had any interest in being a vet, certainly not a large animal vet in the Yorkshire Dales, but these books transported me. I still own them, and hope that my children like hearing them all, one chapter at a time.
  10. The Distant Summer

  11. The Distant SummerSarah Patterson's The Distant Summer - one of my most memorable books by Sarah Patterson. I first read this as a teen or maybe even a pre-teen as a Reader’s Digest Condensed Book. I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit how much I adored this story. It’s a sappy love story! Sappy love story or not, I read it multiple times, and have never forgotten the story or characters – it’s definitely one of my guilty reading pleasures! I’ve always wondered if I would still love it as an adult, so writing this post made me curious enough to order the book (long out of print, there are used copies available). I’m somewhat scared to see if reading it now will taint my fond memories, but I’m going to try it anyway. Someday.
  12. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

  13. The Harry Potter seriesJ K Rowling's Harry Potter series - one of my most memorable books. I was an adult when I read this series, but it’s so special to me because of my grandmother. She loved to read and in the last years of her life, when she was unable to get out much, I would do my best to keep her well stocked with reading material. As her eyesight continued to diminish, she got pickier and pickier about what she would read; it had to be worth the effort, and she knew she only had so many more books left that she’d get to.

    Harry Potter made the cut, and we would both anxiously await the newest volume. I bought very few new books, especially fiction, but made an exception for Harry. There was no way we’d be able to wait to get a copy from the library!

    I think I was more upset than my grandmother when book 6Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6), was too heavy for her to hold, and so remained unread. She died before the final bookHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7) - one of my most memorable books was ever published.

    I still love Harry Potter not just for the great story, but because it reminds me of my adored grandmother and how much she enjoyed it. And what a kick she got out of reading those “kids books.”

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