Our Autumn Reading List

In the words of our Southern friends: happy fall, y’all! We hope you’re enjoying cooler weather, crunchy leaves, and a hot cup of tea/coffee/cocoa on these cooler fall days.

As the days get shorter, autumn’s darker afternoons offer a perfect time to curl up in a comfy sweater with a book (or three!). Here are a few of Cornelia’s favorite fall reads, plus some from our TBR pile for the next couple cozy months:

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle — What better read for a rainy fall day than the great detective? There’s no shortage of Holmesian stories, from the better-known The Sign of Four, The Speckled Band, and The Red-Headed League, to some lesser-known Holmes adventures like The Dancing Men, The Empty House, and The Regiate Squires…you could probably make it all the way into winter just reading Doyle’s many mysteries!

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman — While this entire series is in Cornelia’s list on Goodreads, there’s just something about the first book in Pullman’s His Dark Materials series that begs to be read in the fall! From starting in a cozy fantasy-equivalent of Oxford to Lyra’s journey to the frozen north, it’s a story that’s just perfect for the weather getting colder!

Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire is a great nonfiction read for the cooler weather. Pollan links four fundamental human desires—for sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and food—with four plants that satisfy them. As autumn turns towards the holiday season (and all those special holiday-season meals!), this is a read that will get you thinking more about the plants we consume and our relationships with them.

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende — Allende’s next in our TBR pile, and this story is right in keeping with fall’s most haunting aspects. It’s a dark, generational family saga that may even help put the most outrageous Thanksgiving family gatherings in perspective.

War of the Foxes by Richard Siken — We fell in love with Siken’s debut poetry collection, Crush, and this followup collection contains language every bit as beautiful as the first. The cover art (a landscape with a yellow field and a person, head enflamed, in the foreground) and the lonely yearning of so many of its poems seem like the perfect companion for a solitary fall day.

Witches, Midwives, & Nurses by Barbara Ehrenreich & Deirdre English — Now in an updated edition, this short read takes a stance that was shocking when it was first printed: women, Ehrenreich says, have always been healers in their communities and across cultures. However, these roles have been rooted out and supplanted by the modern (predominantly male) medical profession. Ehrenreich and English take a look at the roles female healers have shouldered over the centuries and take a longer-range look at correcting these imbalances. Plus, who doesn’t love an excuse to read about ‘real’ witches in the month of Halloween?