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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Carleton chapter.

Fall: the best season EVER. And what better way to kickstart the season than with some autumnal reads? 

I have been in a reading slump for months and have been craving a dive into more books throughout this upcoming school year. So, for those who can relate, just know you’re not alone. I hope this list can offer some ideas of what to pick from at your local library or bookstore.

Below are my 10 recommendations — comprised of novels that (to me) give off the *vibes* of fall, spooky season, and the general winding down feeling that permeates going into cooler weather.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Many may know “Coraline” from the 2009 dark fantasy-horror, stop-motion film that either made you absolutely obsessed or terrified. But what some don’t know is that it was inspired by a book of the same name. Readers are introduced to spunky tween Coraline Jones, who has just moved into an old house with her workaholic parents. Upon exploring her new home, she discovers a door that unlocks a passage to another world just like her own… only it’s different. Everything seems better in this parallel world, and she meets another mother and father. They want Coraline to stay with them forever, although something sinister lies within the offer. If you’re looking for an easy read that brings back nostalgia for the film, this one’s for you!

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Although I read this novel a couple of summers ago, I believe it’s worthy of making this list for several reasons. Firstly, it was an absolute page-turner. Sharp Objects relaunched me back into reading after a year-long hiatus. Gillian Flynn’s writing (FYI, author of the infamous Gone Girl — also an amazing novel and I highly recommend) is incredibly tantalizing and engaging, crafting this narrative that constantly keeps you guessing and seeking to understand its complex characters more. Secondly, this book falls into the mystery, southern gothic, and psychological thriller genres — perfect for the Halloween season. The story follows Camille Preaker, a young journalist who returns to her hometown to report on a series of brutal murders. The 2006 novel was such a success that it was adapted into a television show starring Amy Adams.

A note of caution before reading: this novel deals with heavy subject matter.

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May

The start of September always brings a mix of feelings: excitement, nervousness, uncertainty. At a time of new beginnings and fresh starts, the early fall can have us feeling dislocated and lonely. “Wintering” is a moving, personal narrative that explores the ways we can take care of ourselves through difficult times and periods of transition. Those dealing with unforeseen circumstances may especially relate with this book. In telling her life story, May shares how she found transformation through rest and retreat. Written with lessons from literature, mythology, and the natural world, May’s story offers encouragement in understanding life as cyclical, not linear, and to embrace the opportunities that arise in hardships. 

101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think by Brianna Wiest

Through a collection of essays, Brianna Wiest explores a plethora of topics, including embracing negative thinking, finding wisdom in a daily routine, and becoming aware of our biases that shape the way we see the world and our lives. This book is a great resource for thinking retrospectively and outside of our own perceptions. This book helped me form healthier thought patterns and apply some of the lessons into my own life. Refreshing and full of thoughtful reflections, this book may just have you changing the way you think.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Before the Coffee Gets Cold tells the story of a café in Tokyo that allows its customers to travel back in time. Within the novel’s 224 pages, readers meet four visitors, each of which hopes to make use of the unique experience. But the journey into the past does not come without risks, and the café’s time travellers must return to the present before their coffee gets cold. Kawaguchi explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? And more importantly, who would you want to meet, even if it meant one last time? Whimsical, heart-tugging, and contemplative, this book is equally fulfilling as a nice, hot cup of coffee.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

In tribute to the queen of horror, the mother of science fiction, and one of the most recognized gothic novelists in literature, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein takes the cake for a must-read this fall. Masterfully written, readers meet Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a semi-human creature during an unorthodox science experiment. The story is told through both Victor and the creature’s perspectives, and explores the themes of prejudice, ambition, revenge, and what — if anything —differentiates monster from man. 

If you would be interested in a more modern-take, Canadian author Kenneth Opel’s novel This Dark Endeavor and its sequel Such Wicked Intent portrays Victor Frankenstein as a 16-year-old aspiring scientist who creates his own creature from the body of his deceased twin brother, Konrad.

Dracula By bram Stoker

What better time to read a gothic novel than in the fall, especially when it’s the novel about the most famous vampire? Bram Stoker’s Dracula will not only transport you to Transylvania, but will weave an impressive narrative through letters, diary entries, and newspaper articles. 

Rooms by Lauren Oliver

The death of wealthy Richard Walker has left behind a country house full of rooms to his estranged family. When the Walkers arrive for their inheritance, they soon learn that they are not alone. Long dead, former residents, bound to the house, linger in the walls. Fighting for space and memory, they observe the family and reminisce about their past lives. When troubled teenager Trenton begins to communicate with the other side, the two worlds collide with cataclysmic results. A wonderfully paced book, Rooms is a beautifully constructed ghost story about how both the living and dead are haunted by painful truths.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo follows disgraced Swedish journalist Mikael Blomkvist, who is offered an unlikely freelance assignment: to solve the cold case of a murder from 40 years ago. Blomkvist accepts the assignment, immersing himself in the case. Crossing paths with the gifted private investigator Lisbeth Salander, the two begin to uncover decades of dark secrets, deception, and corruption. Compellingly written, this thriller transports readers to rural Sweden to retrace the steps of a missing young girl.

If you’re a fan of thrillers, the 2011 film adaption starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara does not disappoint. Note that both the novel and movie deal with heavy subject matter. 

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Thirty years later, the 1992 novel has found popularity. The Secret History explores all the characteristics that make up the dark academia genre: murder, mystery, ancient history, poetry, and ill-fated romance. Narrated through the voice of student Richard Papen, the story reflects on the series of events that led to the murder of Edmund “Bunny” Corcoran and the lasting effects his death had on an isolated group of classics students.

It was tough narrowing down my fall reads, but I hope this list sparks inspiration for your next book pick!

Carolina Di Giulio is a fourth-year journalism and political science major at Carleton University. When she's not busy chasing a lead for a story, you can find her curled up with a good book or testing out new recipes. Follow her on Instagram at @carolinadigiulio!