Categories: Halloween

Books To Read This Fall To Get You In The Seasonal Mood

The fall is a time for change, but it’s also thought to be a time for wonder, magic, and adventures. With this spooky, festive season upon us, it’s the perfect time of year to curl up with a good book, and behold all that awaits you. Here are some books to read this fall that will get you in the spirit.

1. Dracula – Bram Stoker

The one. The classic. The book that comes to all horror fanatics minds is Dracula. This 100+-year-old novel has stood the test of time, but if you haven’t read it, and you’ve only watched movie adaptations of Dracula, maybe it’s time to read the book that started it all. 

Keep in mind this book came out in the Victorian era, so it’s not in a modern English dialogue. But if you can get your hands on an annotated copy (I have the one annotated by Leslie S. Klinger), then much of the old English vernacular and customs, outdated technology and medical practices, are explained throughout the book-as are the author’s mistakes, which is extra enjoyable when reading this classic novel.

Dracula is the most ideal book to get you the in the spooky spirit! While the vampire folklore has been around for centuries prior to this publication, it was the first attempt at putting a literary stance on the mythical figure and into mainstream hands. You’ll feel a sense of dread and wonder as you read through the pages wondering how Jonathan, Mina and co. will survive the peril of Count Dracula! 

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2. The Child Thief – Gerald Brom

A dark, adult retelling of Peter Pan, this novel puts a spin on fairytales, not for the faint at heart. While it’s a gruesome, sad look at many humans’ lives, it’s full of magical characters, battles, love, betrayal, death and revenge as we find Nick, Peter and several others in the magical parallel realm. 

Much like in the Disney version of Peter Pan, or other versions we’ve come to know, the children who have been whisked away with the promises of eternal childhood in Neverland come to learn that what’s at risk once they get there, might not be worth leaving their world behind. 

For an added bonus, the author Gerald Brom also illustrates all his own novels, with beautiful colors that bring life to the characters within the pages. 

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3. Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

A century before Dracula was written, the world was blessed by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Considered to be the first sci-fi novel this horror classic is most ideal read in the fall. 

Once again, told in an old English, but not as convoluted as the vernacular in Dracula, we find Henry Frankenstein (yes, as we’ve been told the creator of the monster is Frankenstein, not the monster himself, and no he isn’t a doctor because he dropped out of med school), embarking on a quest only fit for a madman, when he creates his very own human from the remains of corpses.

However, his morbid secret slowly eats away at him, once he’s realized what terrible atrocity he has made, as he tries to be rid of this monster. Meanwhile his monster, who is developing more and more of an understanding of life and the world around him, struggles with his own internal demons. Frankenstein is a truly profound novel that will have you questioning many moral dilemmas, and leaving you disturbed with each answer. 

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4. Pet Semetary – Stephen King

We can’t talk about horror novels, or such a spooky time of year without mentioning at least one Stephen King story. Pet Semetary made its way to this list because it feels the most fitting for fall as it deals with cemeteries and death, and much like Frankenstein, it talks of reanimating corpses-again, serious moral dilemmas that will haunt you. 

If you saw the movie adaptations then you know how it goes, but like every Stephen King story-the book is better! You will feel legitimate despair, empathy, heartache, terror and dread with this page-turner of a novel, because you’ll want to know exactly how something like this could happen, and then you’ll ask yourself…would I do the same? 

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5. The Old Magic of Christmas – Linda Raedisch

Yes, this is a “Christmas” book, but as the fall nears an end and, and if you’re someplace where it likes to snow in late November, this after-Thanksgiving book is the perfect way to usher in the colder time of year. This book is plenty spooky as it talks of old yuletide traditions and customs from ancient European folklore. Long ago German stories of various different Krampus and St. Nick figures, and even longer ago Scandinavian Pagan stories of witches, fairies, elves and ghosts!

All the things that go bump in the night-do so at Christmas, as it is, after all, the darkest time of the year. But not only will you find a history lesson in this book, but you’ll also receive recipes for holiday treats and craft project ideas to decorate your home. Curl up next to the fire with your apple cider and read this cozy book after you’ve been stuffed with turkey and sweet potatoes. 

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6. The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman

This cute, fun read is a great way for people, of various ages, to bring in the autumnal time of year. It’s also a fun book to read out loud to kids, who are old enough to appreciate the story of course, as it is a little darker-dealing with subjects like murder, ghosts, and graveyards. 

The Graveyard Book tells the story of a human child, raised by ghosts in the cemetery, after his family has been mysteriously murdered. We see him grow up as he lives in a place surrounded by death, however his ghost friends and ghost parents are surprisingly pretty lively! 

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7. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

A quaint, timeless story of four sisters who transition from childhood to womanhood, will have you feeling kindred this fall. Whether you read it as a romance novel, a coming of a age story, or a quest story, within the novel you’ll find love; such as the love the sisters have for each other and the love they find later in life, and togetherness;  because despite the sisters embarking on their own individual quests, they always come back together no matter what.

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8. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

Considered to be a classic Gothic novel, this book by Emily Bronte tells a story of love, loss, disappointment and despair. Panned by many as being pretentious and full of unlikeable characters, Wuthering Heights is best for those hopeless romantics who want to feel like their life isn’t so bad once they’ve read this harrowing story of Cathy and Heathcliff. And who says characters always have to be likeable for their story to be told? 

Wuthering Heights is one of the ultimate romance novels that is an accurate reflection of many real-life relationships, where despite the true love-it just wasn’t meant to be, which is a heartbreaking story many can relate to. It’s also set against a gray, demure backdrop, where everything just seems tired and endless-very dreary indeed. If you’re into the tragic elements of Romeo & Juliet, Wuthering Heights is the perfect Gothic book to read this fall.

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9. Snow White, Blood Red – Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

If you like fairy tales, this collection of short stories by various authors may be right up your alley. As the title suggests, Snow White, Blood Red, these are dark retellings of classic stories like Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Hansel and Gretel, so they are not suitable for children. This isn’t to suggest the original works by Grimm’s Fairy Tales weren’t dark, but the ones in these pages are a couple notches above that. 

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 The short stories reimagined by these authors all paint vivid images told with sensual prose, that often details lust, greed, and murder. While these stories may not scare you in the way vampires and animated corpses do, they will frighten you in another sense because many of the villains in these stories are just regular people, and where the big bad wolf is actually a man. 

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10. The Crimes Of Jack The Ripper – Paul Roland

Maybe you’re a true crime junkie like me, or maybe you’re a history buff, also like me. If that’s the case consider reading about the Fall of Terror that plagued London’s East End in 1888. The setting of this true-crime case is perfect because it just so happen to occur in the fall, so of course I felt it fitting to include on this list. While there are probably dozens if not hundreds of books about Jack The Ripper out there, I choose this one specifically. It’s not a terribly long read, but it’s a thoroughly interesting one that includes images of the real-life evidence, and a brand new theory about the mysterious figure Jack the Ripper. 

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11. Helter Skelter – Vincent Bugliosi & Curt Gentry

While on the topic of true crime novels, Helter Skelter tops them all. Being the #1 true crime bestseller in history, this is worth the read. If you are familiar with or interested in the famous Manson murders, this book will give you far more information on the subject than any movie or documentary ever could, and with depth, accuracy and clarity. The true, bizarre story of Charles Manson and the murders that he initiated will have you turning the pages, because you just can’t put it down.

Consider Helter Skelter as your first read for the fall, starting in August as we come upon the 50th anniversary of this gruesome, historical occurrence. While it should not be taken lightly, as innocent people were brutally killed, this is a story worth knowing about, and how and why it happened.

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12. Interview With The Vampire – Anne Rice

If you haven’t gotten enough vampires for your fill this fall, this classic by Anne Rice puts a different twist on the infamous monster. Rice being one of the first authors to consider giving vampires human emotions and romanticizing them (this being a far superior love story than Twilight, I promise), this novel will have you reeling with emotion for the undead. This is one of those books where I’m really glad I read it, before watching the movie, because the story within the book is heartbreaking, but delicious, and while the movie surprisingly impressed me, you could feel the sorrow, pain, longing and hopelessness coming off the pages in this novel. 

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13. A Discovery of Witches –  Deborah Harkness

Let’s cap off the list with a novel about witches, because we need at least one on this list.

So I guess this series has been made into a TV show, but before that, A Discovery of Witches is a novel within a series called All Souls. I haven’t watched the show, so we’re going to talk about the book. Read it. If you like a show or movie based a book, read it. Even if you didn’t like the show or the movie, the book is always better.

This is partly a forbidden romance story between a witch and a vampire, sexy right, but it’s also about a badass, capable, intelligent, educated woman who has denied her witchery but now must use magic to protect a cursed manuscript and all other magical creatures who are being threatened. With the help of a charming, sophisticated vampire, they embark on this journey together.  And yes, still a better love story than Twilight. 

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What did you think of these books to read this fall? Did that get you in the spooky spirit? What are some other fall books you’d recommend? Let us know in the comments below!

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Reagan Hailey

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