Now that summer's practically in the rear view, there are a few quintessential things you can do to make it feel even more autumnal (regardless of what the weather is dictating). And even though many people have been nesting since March, this time of year is especially conducive to creating a warm, inviting atmosphere at home where you'll want to do things like curl up with a good book. If that describes your ideal seasonal situation, The Zoe Report staff has a few suggestions for the best books for fall that will educate, inspire, and entertain you for the next few months — if you don't breeze through them faster, that is.
So what exactly makes something a great fall read? Well according to the suggestions of TZR's editors and writers, there could be a few factors. For one thing, whereas light and breezy books can seem more conducive to some for summer reading material, fall might induce a craving for something a little deeper — something to sink your teeth into and relish, which is perfect for those who have carved out their own cozy nooks.
Some staff members are learning heavily into books boasting Black or LGBTQ authors/topics as a way to be informed on issues of race and inequality. Others set a mood for fall by opting for mystery and noir stories (hello, Halloween). Other great seasonal picks are simply books that have just recently been released, so there's some extra excitement surrounding them. But whatever it is you're looking for in terms of what to read next, you're likely to find it in the diverse selections from TZR staffers. Ahead, find out what they're reading — and why — plus see the indie and Black-owned bookstores where you can shop them.
We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Best Books For Fall: In the Woods by Tana French
"I recently started reading Tana French's mystery novels and each one is better than the next," shares Anna Buckman, TZR's Shopping News Editor. "They're the perfect amount of eerie and suspenseful, so they feel right on theme for some pre-Halloween reading, and they're all set in dreary Ireland so they make for great cozy reading by the fire. Just be warned — once you start one, you won't be able to stop until you've read them all."
Best Books For Fall: The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
"After leaving it to sit on my bookshelf for the last few years (I know, it's a horrible habit), I'm finally picking up and reading The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen," says Aemilia Madden, Senior Fashion Editor. "I haven't gotten all too far yet, but with every sentence I'm amazed by the imagery and the way the narrator's view is able to make me laugh out loud and want to explain every little detail to whoever is so unlucky as to be seated next to me at the time."
Best Books For Fall: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
"If you love books where it feels like you're wrapped up in the character's universe and life, this is a read for you," Staff Writer Madge Maril says. "Moving, funny, challenging, and relatable."
Best Books For Fall: On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
"This is a relatively recent release I discovered while researching books for our Pride Month book roundup, and quickly learned several of my most trusted literary friends had already read — and loved — it," says Staff Writer Ashley Tibbits. "It's a painful but breathtakingly poetic memoir-like novel that's a must-read for anyone who comes from an immigrant family, who has a complicated relationship with their parent/s, or just anyone who gravitates toward intimate and beautifully told stories. Vuong's unique writing style and bravery was so inspiring to me as a writer."
Best Books For Fall: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
"I've heard so many rave reviews about this book and, now that I'm about nearly halfway in, I already can see why," Deputy Editor Angela Melero shares of her pick. "This book is poignant, thoughtful, and honest in its grappling of issues like race, gender, colorism, and identity. I'm hooked!"
Best Books For Fall: Lone Rider by Elspeth Beard
"I'm looking forward to opening up Elspeth Beard's memoir, Lone Rider, in which she chronicles her solo motorcycle adventure around the world," explains TZR's Editorial Director, Kathy Lee. "I’ve always dreamed of having the guts and will to explore the world solo, and through Beard’s journey, I can at least live vicariously through her experiences with each and every word."
Best Books For Fall: A Promised Land by Barack Obama
Another of Lee's picks isn't out just yet, but is bound to be a must-read for many. "I think the US presidential election is on almost everyone’s mind as we approach November," she explains. "I am very much looking forward to getting my hands on former President Barack Obama’s memoir come mid-November to delve into his journey and his North Star while leading as president of this nation."