As I rediscover my love for reading, I’m realizing the importance of reading other genres to see what I may be missing out on, and to expand my horizons. I used the unique markers of the fall season to guide my reading choices. Here’s what I thought.
Libra, Scorpio, & Sagittarius Seasons: Contemporary & Literary fiction
To let you get a feel for my personal taste, I’ll start with contemporary/literary fiction. This trifecta of astrology signs are truly the sexiest placements and therefore deserve to read my favorite genre — or at least my favorite genre so far.
It’s only right that I spotlight Happy Hour by Marlowe Granados, a fellow Pinay and Central American who embraces the currency of female charm. Her book is relatably about broke, hot, young women who are radically just trying to have a good time while living in New York City. It screams, let women have fun!
I love contemporary reads, in which not much happens plot-wise. It’s often more relatable as we might not like to think of ourselves as living through important historical events. While definitely wonderfully pretentious, literary fiction grants that space to explore the characters’ inner motivations and provide potential insight into human nature.
Cuffing Szn: Romance & Fantasy
It’s Hot Girl Fall now or also known as Sad Girl Autumn! The end of “Hot Girl Summer” comes with the transition into Cuffing Season. I hate the discourse saying hot girls can’t participate in cuffing season, like, if you’re reading Her Campus, you’re hot. Hot girls can still appreciate love in or out of a relationship.
At the intersection of #booktok and the gay side of TikTok, I heard about One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston. After getting through the first chapter, I wasn’t impressed. Ultimately, the main character, August, felt stale in her jaded attitude that I stopped caring about the story. This YA romance is on my DNF list. As a busy college student, I don’t want to have lackluster leisure time. While I can relate to August’s pattern of independence, I wanted to give love another shot!
Admittedly, I heard about this next book through a Buzzfeed quiz, and…they completely got me pegged. For Scorpio, Buzzfeed says, “you’re brooding, mysterious, and have an old soul just like ADDIE LARUE.” The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab took me by surprise — I absolutely adore this book. I actually wrote a blog post doing a food review of Addie’s French breakfast. Compared to the previous romance novel, this work was forthright in its genre-bending of historical fiction and fantasy. It reads like a mystery as the writer teases the reader by jumping between the exciting present and unraveling the haunting past. I felt engaged most of the time. I definitely need to get more into fantasy, maybe eventually high fantasy, or at least more from this author. I’m obsessed!
Halloween: Horror & Suspense
For the spooky season, I needed something scary. I turned to the king of horror, Stephen King, and his debut novel, Carrie. My friend’s dad cited this as one of his favorite books. Considering how I enjoyed each movie adaption, I felt compelled to start my horror journey here.
Carrie is incredibly visual. I’m sure we all know the iconic image of a girl drenched in pig’s blood at her high school prom. From the start of the book, King provides glimpses of the tragedy that would transpire. The build-up is horrifying and paralyzing as no one can change course. King writes in a way that makes you want to read more.
It reminds me of when I was younger as I used to speed through Lois Duncan’s books. Her genre of suspense leaves you itching to know more. Suspense is thrilling to read but is not always the most personally fulfilling. If you find yourself in need of Accelerated Reader points (like middle school me), or far from completing your Goodreads yearly reading challenge, I would recommend horror and suspense books for being easily engaging reads.
Thanksgiving: History & Textbooks
In the throes of fall, November celebrates the colonial holiday of Thanksgiving — a uniquely American tradition rooted in genocide and persistent generational trauma. In resistance, the day after is referred to as Native Heritage Day. While new Thanksgiving celebrations may be removed from its problematic history, it is important to be aware of Indigenous erasure and the imperialist incited violence.
I read Colonial Complexions: Race and Bodies in Eighteenth-Century America by UC Irvine Professor of History, Sharon Block. This work discusses the race-construction and racist ideology-building following the arrival of European settlers. Block’s evidence and analysis are easy to follow and understand. To illustrate, the use of advertisements and specific language contribute to race-formation, arguably continuing even now. While occasionally dry to read, history is more accessible than we realize; definitely try reading a textbook for fun! Simply put, there needs to be fewer gatekeepers in academia.
Back to school: Short Stories & Articles
Speaking of academia, for college students, autumn means the return to campus and structured learning. Constantly meeting a revolving door of new people, we can have a sonder — the realization that every person has a meaningful and complicated life. Everyone has stories to tell.
A famous short story writer, Raymond Carver, was remarkably mentioned in Season 1 of You in one of Beck’s classes. I stumbled upon his title, What We’re Talking About When We Talk About Love. I really wanted to like this for the pretty title and Carver’s acclaimed status, but in truth, this work went over my head. I had to read every story twice to get an inkling of what the theme or messages would be, which isn’t what I was looking for.
I sought out another collection of short stories and discovered Self-Help by Lorrie Moore. I heard about this book through an Em-Rata recommendation in a Jack Edwards’s “I joined supermodel book clubs and judged their reading recs” YouTube video. This was absolutely beautifully written; the narrative reads like nonfiction. While I found this collection to be more inviting and personable, I don’t think the format of short stories is for me. I enjoy connecting with a character throughout their journey at length while learning more details about their personality.
I do enjoy nonfiction articles, though! For other short writing pieces, check out the national Her Campus site to see what the editorial team and I are putting out. There’s loads of content; my personal favorites being a reported feature on sugar babies and cultural analyses on the female gaze and racial beauty double standards.
As I stated before, hot girls read Her Campus. Since you evidently made it to the bottom of this HC article, thanks for being hot!
Let me know your thoughts!
- Happy Hour by Marlowe Granados (2020)
- One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (2021)
- The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (2020)
- Carrie by Stephen King (1974)
- Colonial Complexions: Race and Bodies in Eighteenth-Century America by Sharon Block (2018)
- What We’re Talking About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver (1981)
- Self-Help by Lorrie Moore (1985)