Everyone knows that half the appeal of fall is its aesthetic. Sunset-colored leaves, sweaters galore, reading with a cup of hot cocoa in hand…that’s the shit I like. Though you might already have a towering to-read pile, we both know you’re going to buy a dozen more books before you’ve made a dent in it. So here’s a list of even more books, from graphic novels to fantasy to literary fiction to YA, that’ll get you in the fall spirit.
Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki
This YA graphic novel, written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by her cousin, Jillian Tamaki, is a quiet but powerful read with gorgeous, Japanese-inspired artwork. Taking place in the beginning of fall, Skim follows Kimberly, a queer, Wiccan, mixed-race Asian-Canadian teen girl sinking further and further into depression while her classmates, conversely, become filled with an artificial zeal for life. Nothing says fall more than melancholy, and nothing says melancholy more than this novel.
Pages for You by Sylvia Brownrigg
I’ll admit, I’m kind of reluctant to share this title with you — sometimes, you read a book that resonates with you so deeply that you feel as if it belongs to you. Pages for You follows Flannery Jansen, a newly-minted, starry-eyed college student, and her complicated relationship with an older woman named Anne…who happens to be her TA. The two navigate a precarious but passionate relationship, and in the end, Flannery finds herself back where she started: contemplating the autumn leaves. You’ll think of endings, and first loves, and the ways in which seasons bring back memories.
Winter Rose by Patricia A. McKillip
Patricia A. McKillip’s fantasy novel Winter Rose is the ultimate fall read. This evocative tale of curses, faeries, and mounting obsession — a retelling of Tam Lin — is one of the most beautiful and lyrical novels I have ever read. Even if you’re “not a fan of genre” (read: you’re a boring lit snob), you’ll find something to love about this book, which follows Rois Melior, a girl as wild and free as the forest beyond her window, as she and her sister fall in love with Corbet Lynn, a stranger with dark secrets.
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
This graphic novel, y’all. THIS GRAPHIC NOVEL. I’ve been reading Emily Carroll’s webcomics online for years, and I still think about them all the time (and wish, frequently and passionately, that I could be anywhere near as talented as she is, at literally anything). This collection of comics will terrify and haunt you in the best way possible. Read it by candlelight for maximum autumnal vibes.
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
If you haven’t heard of Her Body and Other Parties yet, it’s only a matter of time before it’s all over your Twitter feed. This collection of short stories by Carmen Maria Machado was recently nominated for the 2017 National Book Award, and explores women’s agency, queer identities, sexual violence, and so much more. Listen to me: Machado is such a talented writer I could die. Do yourself a favor and read this collection of powerful, sensual, and disturbing stories.