Autumn MUST-READS for spooky, cozy nights in 🍁

This weekend is going to be lit-erary

By NAU Senior Sheridan Herrmann

here is no way you can catch me during autumn without at least three books in progress.

And all those books give me that cozy, warm feeling of curling up in your bed on a chilly Sunday morning, with the perfect cup of coffee.

Photo of an open book on a bed with a cup of coffee

Below is my fall reading list — full of books that give me all the cozy feelings, help me learn some things & more!

TRIGGER WARNING: Recommendation #9 contains mention of sexual assault. Please read with caution and, if you need to, feel free to skip that one! :)

1. The Picture of Dorian Gray — Oscar Wilde

This is one of the BEST spooky classics I’ve read!

Book cover for The Picture of Dorian Gray

Published in 1890, this book is about a man that never ages, except for a portrait that gets uglier and increasingly grotesque as his soul decays.

This book is dense at some points because it was written so long ago — but the premise is so spooky and perfect for Halloween vibes!

2. The Secret History — Donna Tartt

This book is the ULTIMATE dark academia read!

Book cover for The Secret History

It has mystery, murder, and morally-gray characters that keep you guessing until the end! It’s also based at a New England university during fall and winter, which gives the most amazing imagery!

3. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue — V.E. Schwab

This book is such a comfy read. It gives me the same feeling as the movie The Age of Adaline with Blake Lively, but the language is so poetic and beautiful.

Book cover for The Invisible Life of Addie Larue

Even though I read it in the middle of the summer, it made me feel like it was autumn with how lovely the dialogue, scenery, and relationships in this book were.

You really fall in love with the main character, which makes the ending so moving!

This is one of those books that I loved so much, that I hope they never write a sequel, because the ending was so perfect!

4. Not the Witch You Wed — April Asher

If you love cutesy rom-coms as much as I do (and I really love them), then you’ll love this book!

Book cover for Not the Witch You Wed

It’s a fake-dating, arranged-marriage romance with a supernatural twist — werewolves and witches of course!

There’s also some supernatural politics going on which gives the story a much needed subplot. A very cute and easy read!

5. And Then There Were None — Agatha Christie

If Agatha Christie has a million fans, I’m one of them.

If she has one fan, I’m it — because I LOVE HER WORK. I mean, she isn’t called the “Queen of Mystery” for nothing!

Book cover for And Then There Were None

This book is one of my favorites by her. It’s about people having a fancy dinner party on a secluded island, and one by one, they all start being murdered.

the old-timey language isn’t for you, an alternative is The Guest List by Lucy Foley. It has the same general plot, just a bit easier to read and more modern.

6. Verity — Colleen Hoover

I know there’s a lot of Colleen Hoover fans, especially on BookTok, but this is by far my favorite of her books!

Book cover for Verity

It’s about a woman that is hired to finish a book series for a famous author, but as she begins to dig in, she uncovers much more than author’s notes — family secrets, lies, and a mysterious death!

There is a lot of suspense that is great for people just starting out in the mystery genre.

Also … THE ENDING?! It had me freaking out for weeks (in a good way).

7. The Great Alone — Kristin Hannah

If you’re an autumn nature fan, this book is perfect! It explores the complexity of a family that has just relocated to Alaska in the 1970s.

Book cover for The Great Alone

The backdrop of the Alaskan wilderness feeds my nature-loving, granola-girl soul, and the imagery makes you feel like you’re right there.

The characters are very complex, and the book delves into the unhealthy family dynamic of a father with PTSD, a mother who enables him, and a little girl just trying to find her way in her new home.

8. Outlander — Diana Gabaldon

Calling all history nerds and sci-fi fans, this one’s for you!

Outlander is the first in a series, and it centers around a 1940s woman that is accidentally transported 200 years in the past, to the times of the Scottish Rebellions of the 1740s.

Book cover for Outlander

OBVIOUSLY the main character, Claire, finds love with a dreamy Scottish Highlander, because why wouldn’t she? Claire has a lot of character development throughout the book as well, making her a really likable protagonist.

SIDENOTE: Does the authors’ last name sound familiar? Her father was an Arizona Senator that NAU’s Gabaldon Hall was named after! The author herself is an NAU alumna and a former NAU professor!

9. Know My Name — Chanel Miller

TRIGGER WARNING: This recommendation contains mention of sexual assault. Please read with caution and, if you need to, feel free to skip this one! :)

Fall is the time of year for learning and expanding our minds, right?

Book cover for Know My Name

This is my absolute favorite nonfiction novel ever. It chronicles the sexual assault of Chanel Miller, a Palo Alto resident that was attacked by Stanford student Brock Turner in 2015, and her experience with the legal battle that ensued.

The language she uses is so eloquent and introspective, that it inspires readers to re-examine their views on the legal system, sexism, and the realities of injustice in American society.

10. Our Time is Now — Stacey Abrams

November is election time, and this book gives an in-depth look into voting practices in America. Stacey Abrams, the author, is a former candidate for Georgia governor.

Book cover for Our Time is Now

No matter what side of the political isle you fall on, this book explains how the voting system has been out of date for a while (maybe forever), and ways to fix it so the voice of the American people are heard.

There is no better time to learn more about voting than right before an election!

Honorable Mention: The Yellow Wallpaper — Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Okay, so this one TECHNICALLY isn’t a book. But it is a psychological thriller if I’ve ever read one.

Cover for The Yellow Wallpaper

It follows an unnamed woman whose husband basically locks her away in a hotel room when she begins suffering from postpartum depression.

Readers get to see the downward spiral the protagonist takes as her mental health gets worse and worse, since the story is told from her point of view as an unreliable narrator.

Nothing like ignoring mental health to give you the real creeps, right?

This short story encourages readers to take care of their mental health, and gives a worst-case scenario as to what happens if you don’t.

It has wonderful, engaging writing with a strong central message.

What’s on your reading list? Let us know at social@nau.edu 📧

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