Top 5 Fall Books That Will Put You in the Seasonal Spirit


Cate Latimer (she/her), Editor

During the fall, there is nothing better than curling up with a good book. Whether it be suspenseful, scary, or a novel that simply feels like autumn, there are no wrong answers. This season, dive into one of the books on our top five list of the best fall reads. 


The Secret History

The Secret History is surely a book you have seen around. Originally published in 2004, it has recently risen to prominence again as a quintessential representation of modern “dark academica” literature. Set at an elite college in New England, reading The Secret History feels inherently autumnal as we follow a group of classics students and a mysterious murder. While the book is long, each moment important in discovering the twisted lives of students bound to ideas found in their classics classes, and I found that the slower portions only added to the overall atmosphere of the novel. If you want to read a book with beautiful quotes and musings on the intersections of past and present, look no further than The Secret History—its popularity is well-earned. 


The Ocean at the End of the Lane

If you are a reader who finds yourself drawn to fantasy or science fiction, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a fascinating combination of fantastical elements and eerie storytelling. Following a man who returns to his childhood home and is thrust into the memories of nearly 40 years earlier, we watch as the death of a visitor unleashes a darkness that only Lettie, the girl who lives at the end of the lane, can protect him from. I found this book’s use of fantastical elements incredibly interesting as we watch the story unfold, becoming more otherworldly as it progresses. As someone who does not often read science fiction or fantasy, I found this book to be a great introduction, especially for someone who doesn’t want to be bogged down by the extensive world-building fantasy often brings. In parts, I found The Ocean at the End of the Lane to be genuinely unsettling, and I believe this book is a great option for anyone who wants to embrace spookiness this fall. 


The Woman in Cabin 10

The Woman in Cabin 10 is an entertaining thriller for anyone who loves horror movies or feels that suspense is key during these fall months. While less thought-provoking than other books on the list, this novel is a fun and easy read. The Woman in Cabin 10 follows journalist Lo Blacklock on her newest assignment—writing about her week on a luxury cruise ship. However, the trip quickly turns sinister after she witnesses the murder of a woman thrown overboard. Confined to a small ship, the others brush off her concern and she begins to receive mysterious threats to stop uncovering the murderer. This novel left me wanting to read more, with countless twists and turns in every chapter. If you are looking for a fun, suspenseful read, The Woman in Cabin 10 is the book for you. 


Sirens & Muses

Sirens & Muses is a masterclass in tastefully writing about art, class, love, and talent. Beginning during their time in art school, we follow three students and a professor through their journey as artists before they are thrown into the 2011 New York City art world. Sirens & Muses challenged my perspectives on what I liked in a book. While I expected the four-person point of view to feel frustrating or disconnected, I found myself enjoying each of the characters’ stories and their interactions with each other. I also feel that art can be a difficult subject to explore well, but I found the descriptions in Angress’s novel vivid and accessible while providing insightful commentary on the consumerism and class disparity when it comes to art production and collection. The novel is not explicitly autumnal, although a large portion of the book takes place in the fall at an elite art school, providing me with all the fall feelings I was craving and making it a fantastic book to read during this time of year.


The Silent Patient

The Silent Patient is a haunting psychological thriller with a twist that will make you reevaluate your entire reading experience. For anyone in need of a book that makes them question everything, this is for you. The Silent Patient follows Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist, as he attempts to uncover the motive of a famous painter who killed her husband and then refused to speak another word. The Silent Patient spent more than a year on the New York Times Bestseller List, and it is clear why. Michaelides provides the reader with a timeless and exciting thriller, perfect for any reader who wants to curl up with a spooky story this season.