I’m So Glad I Live in a World with Autumns (And Books) : Favorite Fall Reads!

By Callan Whitley

It’s the season of warm cups of tea, rewatching Gilmore Girls (only seasons 1-3, for personal vendetta reasons), and cozying up with a nice book. Here are some recommendations for Fall!!  

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 

“There are many Beths in the world, shy and quiet, sitting in corners till needed, and living for others so cheerfully that no one sees the sacrifices till the little cricket on the hearth stops chirping, and the sweet, sunshiny presence vanishes, leaving silence and shadow behind.”

Little Women is a quintessential cozy fall read, following the lives of Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth March. I read this book for the first time this past summer, on the cusp of my twentieth birthday. The coming-of-age themes mirrored my own anxiety about entering my twenties and saying goodbye to my childhood. I think this is why I felt so close to Jo — because I got to read as she scratched her eyes out, swallowed her pride, and reluctantly grew up (which is something I hopefully, eventually, someday, might do as well). 

As an admittedly sensitive person, I am so fond of reading about the tenderness of characters. Perhaps that is another reason I adore this story so much — Louisa May Alcott has an undeniable skill for writing the beauty of the female heart. (Also, I think it’s important to mention here that I am an Amy March defender until the day I die). 

As a bonus, you can take the 45-minute commuter rail to visit Alcott’s home in Concord, Mass this October. Make sure to stop at the quaint and lovely Concord Bookshop downtown to pick up your next read! 

Crush by Richard Siken 

“And the gentleness that comes, 

not from the absence of violence, but despite

the abundance of it.”

Richard Siken’s beautiful blend of poetry and prose explores ecstasy, homicide, and the condition of loving someone you know you can never have. Siken’s words haunt me like a ghost, and I find myself continually coming back to them time and time again. Crush encapsulates autumnal gloom like nothing else — as its moody, cloudy atmosphere grieves the warmth of summer yet beckons the bitterness of the cold. If you ever want to feel like a character in a Donna Tartt novel, I’d recommend grabbing a cup of black coffee, lighting a cigarette, and throwing yourself into this harrowing poetry collection. 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 

“Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it.” 

The perfect read for a stormy October evening. Not so surprisingly, a piece of Gothic literature managed to weasel its way onto this list. Mary Shelley’s famous horror-driven novel is a classic for those of us who need to feel a little spooked this season. And, if that’s not enough, don’t miss Coolidge Corner Theatre’s showing of Young Frankenstein this Halloween!! 

In The Company of Witches by Auralee Wallace 

“This is one of my favorites. I have tasted fall, it is a warm cup of tea, too quickly it cools.” 

Okay, this is cheating a little bit because I haven’t actually read this book yet, but does it count if I desperately want to? You know those books that sit in the back of your Goodreads library, collecting dust and sad sentiments? In the Company of Witches is most regrettably one of those for me. Set in the sleepy New England town of Evenfall Thrive, Brynn Warren seeks to uncover the mysterious circumstances of a death in the Bed & Breakfast her family of witches run. Goodreads reviews promise the book is a witchy recipe with a hint of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, a dash of Gilmore Girls, and a ripe undertone of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. I’m currently #3 in line for it at the Boston Public Library, so with any luck (and perhaps a little bit of magic), I’ll be able to cross it off my list this season. 

“The Little Widow From the Capital” by Yohanca Delgado 

“In our apartments, huddled together over coffee, we discussed what we knew and filled in what we didn’t. We imagined the little widow, dead-eyed and small in her cavernous apartment, punching a threaded needle through cloth — until she folded the entire building in on itself, apartment after apartment, life after life, collapsing together — until she could tuck it all into her little silk coin purse and carry us away forever inside her handbag.” 

The inclusion of a ten-page story in this list came as a shock to me, as I have always favored full-length fiction over brief vignettes of short stories. Yet I adore “The Little Widow From the Capital” and am in awe of the world Delgado builds with such little page real estate. It was the first story that completely altered the way I understood the literary merit of the first-person plural point of view, as it is told from the perspective of a community of gossiping housewives speculating on a strange woman who moves into their apartment complex. The mysticism of the story unfolds rapidly across the pages, as the women discover peculiar faceless dolls that have an uncanny resemblance to them and witness fantastical events that threaten to change their quiet domestic space forever. Delgado’s work is a paragon of magical realism and a perfect addition to your Fall To-Be-Read list. 


I wanted to conclude this blog post (my first one ever!) with one of my favorite passages from The October Country as we close out this month. It encapsulates everything I love about this time of year — crimson leaves, lingering moonlight in the cityscape, writing in coffee shops, and hot chocolates with extra whipped cream from Cafe Nero. I am so deeply in love with this season, with books that warm the soul, and everything in between. Happy reading!!! <3 

“… that country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main cellars, sub cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts.”

-Ray Bradbury, The October Country

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