Fall Book Favorites

Fall Book Favorites

From iconic spooky stories to fit-for-quarantine poetry, our team has rounded up our best fall book finds. Enjoy, bookworms!

1. Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Arguably the best haunted house novel of all time, Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House will scare you on a spooky ghost level and a psychological level. Jackson creates the perfect atmosphere for the fall season, and snuggling under a blanket or sitting beneath a tree is the perfect setting for reading this novel. Haunting of Hill House is just as much about what haunts psyche as it is about things that go bump in the night.

From the publisher:

Four seekers have arrived at the rambling old pile known as Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of psychic phenomena; Theodora, his lovely and lighthearted assistant; Luke, the adventurous future inheritor of the estate; and Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman with a dark past. As they begin to cope with chilling, even horrifying occurrences beyond their control or understanding, they cannot possibly know what lies ahead. For Hill House is gathering its powers – and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

2. Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

It’s always fun to read the book that inspired a current hit series, and Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff is no exception. Lovecraft Country takes horror fiction to a whole new level, weaving race relations in 1940s and 50s America with Lovecraftian-like monsters and horrors. It’s definitely a great spooky fall read, but it also touches on a lot of issues we’re seeing in the U.S. right now.

From the publisher:

Chicago, 1954. When his father goes missing, twenty-two-year-old army veteran Atticus Turner embarks on a road trip to New England to find him, accompanied by his uncle George—publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide—and his childhood friend Letitia. On their journey to the manor of Samuel Braithwhite—heir to the estate that owned one of Atticus’s ancestors—they encounter both mundane terrors of white America and malevolent spirits that seem straight out of the weird tales George devours.

Atticus discovers his father in chains, held prisoner by a secret cabal, the Order of the Ancient Dawn—led by Braithwhite and his son, Caleb—which has gathered to perform a ritual that shockingly centers on Atticus. And his one hope of salvation may be the seed of his—and the whole Turner clan’s destruction.

A chimerical blend of magic, power, hope, and freedom that stretches across time, touching diverse members of two black families, Lovecraft Country is a devastating kaleidoscopic portrait of racism—the terrifying specter that still haunts us today.

3. How To: Absurd Scientific Advice For Common Real-World Problems by Randall Munroe

If you want to laugh and learn, How To is for you! We love it for fall because it gives us that back-to-school knowledge blast we got when we were kids. Dubbed the world’s “least useful self-help book” How To by Randall Munroe will teach you how to cross a river by removing all the water, predict the weather by the color of the sky, and how to produce energy by riding an escalator. If you want to bring some not-so-basic chit chat to your Zoom happy hours, check out this book.

From the publisher:

For any task you might want to do, there’s a right way, a wrong way, and a way so monumentally complex, excessive, and inadvisable that no one would ever try it. How To is a guide to the third kind of approach. It’s full of highly impractical advice for everything from landing a plane to digging a hole.

Bestselling author and cartoonist Randall Munroe explains how to predict the weather by analyzing the pixels of your Facebook photos. He teaches you how to tell if you’re a baby boomer or a 90’s kid by measuring the radioactivity of your teeth. He offers tips for taking a selfie with a telescope, crossing a river by boiling it, and powering your house by destroying the fabric of space-time. And if you want to get rid of the book once you’re done with it, he walks you through your options for proper disposal, including dissolving it in the ocean, converting it to a vapor, using tectonic plates to subduct it into the Earth’s mantle, or launching it into the Sun.

By exploring the most complicated ways to do simple tasks, Munroe doesn’t just make things difficult for himself and his readers. As he did so brilliantly in What If?, Munroe invites us to explore the most absurd reaches of the possible. Full of clever infographics and fun illustrations, How To is a delightfully mind-bending way to better understand the science and technology underlying the things we do every day.

4. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

You may know Ta-Nehisi Coates from his work as a national correspondent and essayist for The Atlantic, but in Between the World and Me, Coates writes a letter to his then adolescent son; a letter focused on race relations in America, what it’s like to grow up Black, and a myriad of other brilliant personal stories and passionate visions for what society could be. It’s a quick, often gut-wrenching read, but Coates’ poetic and powerful prose will keep you turning page after page.

From the publisher:

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World an d Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.

5. Love Poems For Married People by John Kenney

John Kenney’s lovely book of humorous and tender poems might be just what you and your partner need to remember that you’re not alone in your weird, mostly one-on-one (or two or five, depending on if you have kids) reality during this time. Kenney’s very real examination of what love means in the age of technology is a much-needed antidote to the ridiculous expectations the media creates for us. It’s also really funny.

From the publisher:

Full of brilliant wit, dynamic energy, and a heavy dose of reality, Love Poems for Married People takes the poetic form, turns it upside down and leaves it in the dishwasher to dry. Inspired by one of the most shared New Yorker pieces of all time, this collection captures the reality of life once the spark of a relationship has settled–and hilariously so. With brand new pieces that cover all areas of married life, from parental gripes to dwindling sex lives, Kenney’s wry observations and sharp humor remind us exactly what it’s like to spend the rest of your life with the person you love.


6. Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola

A classic, through and through. Strega Nona (translated into Grandma Witch) is a tale about magic, keeping your word, and—most of all—PASTA! There’s something so comfortable and cozy about Tomie dePaola’s prose and illustrations, it makes you want to wrap yourself up in a warm blanket dream of beautiful Italian towns and cauldrons full of pasta. Strega Nona is a wonderful blast from the past that’ll get everyone in the spirit for Halloween and spaghetti alike.

From the publisher:

From beloved author Tomie dePaola comes the classic, Caldecott Honor–winning story Strega Nona as a resized Classic Board Book!

Strega Nona—“Grandma Witch”—is the source for potions, cures, magic, and comfort in her Calabrian town. Her magical ever-full pasta pot is especially intriguing to hungry Big Anthony. Big Anthony is supposed to look after her house and tend her garden, but one day, when she goes over the mountain to visit Strega Amelia, he recites the magic verse over the pasta pot, with disastrous results.

Feel free to share your favorite books with the Coop community below!

Featured image: @adriana.brito_