The transition from the bright and hot summer days to the crisp, shorter days of fall incites us to read books about just that. Whether you’re snuggling up by the fire with a spooky Halloween read or headed back to school, these book suggestions will help you ease into your best fall gear.
Farewell Summer by Ray Bradbury
The title alone will make you nostalgic for those warm and sunny days. In this semi-autobiographical trilogy, Bradbury uses the concept of time and seasonal weather to emphasize the story-line; the conflict between old and young, as well as the sexual awakening of protagonist Douglass Spaulding and his friends, are featured in this sequel to Dandelion Wine. It is a coming-of-age story reminiscent of those young summer days that no one wanted to let go of.
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
This may be an obvious choice, but the Harry Potter books are always a great fall read. The beginning of the school year starts September 1, and Rowling does an amazing job illustrating the shift in seasons. The setting descriptions could make someone in the midst of summer feel as if they are entering the orange-hued, cold days of autumn. Of course, the fantastic, magical, back-to-school elements are also excellent for envisioning the season.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
This list would not be complete without Irving’s chilling tale of the Headless-Horseman. It takes place in New York’s Hudson Valley, which, for those who do not know, has all the ingredients for a perfect fall setting. The leaves change from green to brilliant shades of orange, red, and yellow. Apples are ripe for picking, pumpkins and squash litter the ground, and the air becomes crisp. Sleepy Hollow even has a scene during a harvest party. It is a scary-fun read for fall!
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Although this tale does not solely take place in fall, the play makes the cut due to its mind-bending creepiness. Set in Salem, Massachusetts, and based on the infamous Salem Witch-Hunt, Miller’s play shows how an entire community can turn against one another solely based on the allegations of a few disturbed individuals. The highly religious Puritans of New England were convinced that the Devil’s work was at play in their small community. What is most frightening is the entire town’s steadfast belief that witchcraft was at play, and its symbolic reference to the McCarthy’s ‘Red Scare’ of the 1950’s.
The Fall by Bethany Griffin
Just look at the cover of this book! This reimagining of Edgar Allen Poe’s frightening short story, The Fall of the House of Usher, finds the heroine, Madeline Usher, in a mysterious and sinister tale of horror and tragedy. The Fall gives us a strong female lead, a haunted house, a family curse, and a gothic, Poe-inspired ambience that is perfect for Halloween.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
The dystopian, science-fiction novel, Never Let Me Go, combines elements that make for a perfect fall read. There is romance and heartbreak, and a disheartening sense of doom (kind of like the feeling we get from the foreboding cold of fall on its way to winter). Set in the late 1970’s at a boarding school in East Sussex, three tight-knit students, Ruth, Kathy and Tommy search for the meaning of their lives and the secrets behind their bizarre and isolated upbringing. Written from Kathy’s point of view as an adult reflecting on her school days, the novel beautifully illustrates the progression from youth to adult while capturing the carefree days of being a teen. The absorbing novel will leave you heartbroken.
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