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Five Books That Capture that Somber, Fall Feeling 

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. John's chapter.

Along with the fall breeze flowing in the air comes the season of curling up on the couch, sipping on a warm cup of tea or coffee, and most importantly, reading a great book. If you’re anything like me, you foster your seasonal depression with an even more depressing book. So, here are my five-star reads that capture that somber fall feeling.    

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling   

Coming from the series we all know and love, J.K. Rowling’s “pilot” novel is a great read for ringing in the fall season. This story brings back strong feelings of nostalgia and magic, right in time for the Halloween season! Read this book, snuggle up on the couch and then have a movie marathon with your friends for more fall fun. If you are not familiar with the “Harry Potter” series or you haven’t read the books, here’s a little background: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” follows the story of a young boy who discovers that he is a wizard. During his adventures, he encounters mythical creatures, witches and secret worlds. This whimsical tale will bring out the beloved aesthetic that comes with the season.   

“If We Were Villains” by M. L. Rio   

To all my Shakespeare lovers, this book is for you! “If We Were Villains” encapsulates the essence of dark academia. This book time jumps between the past and present and the story is centered on one of four friends in college. This friend ends up being released from jail after an incident that occurred while participating in a college Shakespeare theater troupe. The story follows the four friends before and during the incident in college while slowly unraveling the truth, as well. This book became one of my all-time favorites. The romance, drama and characters not only make this book one of my all-time favorites, but it could serve as a fall favorite, too.   

A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara   

DISCLAIMER: It is important to read the trigger warnings before reading.

Hanya Yanagihara’s novel has been trending on TikTok and caught my attention as it gained notoriety for being one of the most depressing books ever. I can confirm that this book will absolutely tear you to pieces but in the best way possible. The book follows the lives of four adults who became friends in college and highlights their own paths while showing how life shapes our relationships and ourselves. I loved this book, it’s a raw story and you feel as if the characters mirror people you know in your daily life. Readers can easily become attached to this story because Hanya Yanagihara has such an immense understanding of the human condition. Again, read at your own risk but I certainly recommend it.   

“Tender is the Flesh” by Agustina Bazterrica   

This book is not for the faint of heart, but if you’re a fan of horror this next read will be perfect for you. This dystopian novel is set in a futuristic location where eating animals has become toxic. Society has created a solution by genetically modifying humans so they can be harvested as meat. But, what will this mean for their moral consciousness and will humans become a product within the capitalist meat industry? Even though this book took me for a whirlwind it was worth every moment. It’s gory, graphic and violent, so this is another book to read at your own discretion.   

“Babel” by R. F. Kuang   

Let me start off by saying that this book deserves all the hype! “Babel” is another “dark academia” novel that focuses on a young child who questions everything he knows about his life and now must make difficult decisions because of these realizations. The novel is about a young boy who is from Canton, Wales and is taken from his home to live a new life at Oxford University, where he translates on behalf of the university by incorporating some of his magical flair. However, he is forced to forget his old life so he can immerse himself in the high society he’s now a part of. Would you give up all you’ve ever known to fit in with society or for financial gain? “Babel” is a great narrative that is highly relatable and magical and it will be a great addition to your fall “To Be Read (TBR) list”.   

These books range from a wide variety of writing styles, genres and topics, but they all still share that dark, somber fall feeling. Hope you enjoy these books as they are some of my favorites! 

Kaila Lightburn

St. John's '24

Hello my name is Kaila, I’m a Junior at St. John’s University. I am a Public Relations major with a minor in fashion studies. I am also an ambassador, a mentor and apart of the campus magazine and some of my hobbies include watching movies, hanging with friends and reading!