Column: 10 books to finish up the fall 


Dietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons / “Aufgeschlagenes Buch — 2020 — 4204” / CC BY-SA 4.0

Yeva Khranovska, news correspondent

With fall well underway, nothing beats curling up with a good book on a chilly evening. Thriller, mystery and horror genres mark the shift from warm and sunny days to cold and windy ones.

Here’s a list of some great spooky page turners that will not only keep readers engrossed from start to finish, but also get them into a seasonal mood.

1. “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt

Starting off with a ‘90s classic featuring betrayal, suspense and murder, “The Secret History” follows Richard, a student who finds his way into a group of misfits at his college, all handpicked for an exclusive classics course. As tensions rise and lies are uncovered, the story takes twisted turns, and the group is forced to do things that drive them further into hardship.

2. “Her Body and Other Parties” by Carmen Maria Machado

This collection of short stories will be a hit for anyone who enjoys beautiful lyrical writing and a fabulous mix between science fiction, horror and psychological mind-benders. Machado crafts a series of intriguing, and at times disturbing, narratives exploring women’s experiences and violence, delivering nuanced, hard-hitting takes on relationships and nature of self.

3. “Ninth House” by Leigh Bardugo

Alex Stern is admitted into Yale University solely because of her ability to see beyond the “veil.” Thrown into the world of Yale’s secret societies, magic and murder, Alex is forced to reexamine her past and who she is today. This book echoes themes from Tartt’s “The Secret History,” with notes of elitism, betrayal and murder. This is a must read for anyone looking for intricate world building and mystery.

4. “My Dark Vanessa” by Kate Elizabeth Russell

A somber and difficult read, “My Dark Vanessa” encapsulates the horror of traumatic events, tackling issues like victimhood. This novel, inspired by the author’s own experiences, is about student Vanessa Wye, her experiences at her new boarding school and her affair with her charismatic, older English teacher Jacob Strane. The story flits back and forth between two timelines: when Vanessa first meets Jacob and when she finally, as an adult, comes to the realisation that the relationship was not healthy.

5. “The Artificial Silk Girl” by Irmgard Keun

An unknown classic, “The Artificial Silk Girl” is definitely one of the lighter reads on this list. Keun crafts a captivating yet familiar narrative of self-exploration, change and personal journey set in 1930s Germany. Representative of the transformational nature of autumn, the book sheds light on the ever-shifting nature of self, and women’s experiences at the tail end of Germany’s golden age.

6. “Verity” by Colleen Hoover 

With over 4 million copies sold, Colleen Hoover’s books have had a surge in popularity, and “Verity” is no different. From the perspective of a failing writer Lowen Ashleigh, the book navigates a chilling mystery of a dead child, a harrowing autobiography of a mother and love with the most unlikely person. This is a great story for those who love suspense and mystery.

7. “Vicious” by V. E. Schwab

For lovers of sci-fi and the paranormal, “Vicious” offers a new interpretation of heroism, morality and mortality. It centers on two college students who, for a senior class, experiment with near death experiences and as a result gain supernatural powers. What follows is a story of rivalry, ambition and intrigue as the two grapple with their newfound identities.

8. “Carmilla” by Sheridan Le Fanu

This novella is revered by some as the epitome of gothicism, with roots in romanticism. Written before Stoker’s “Dracula,” the story features vampires, paranormal activity and a fresh take on female monstrous beings. With beautiful, delicious writing, “Carmilla” encapsulates a different sort of horror, one of destroying the ones you love. Pro tip: You can get a free e-book copy from The Project Gutenberg, since copyright for this novella ran out a long time ago.

9. “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde

Another classic, this book is about Dorian Gray, his obsession with his looks and the means he is willing to use to maintain eternal youth. A dazzling account of crumbling morals with a dash of magical realism is a sure way to get into the autumn spirit.

10. “One Last Stop” by Casey McQuiston

Finally, for those with no stomach for horror or mystery but with an appreciation for fantasy and magic, “One Last Stop” is the way to go. A fateful coming together of two people separated by decades, and a story steeped in comedy and romance, this book will warm your heart on a chilly day. 

These books, crammed full of autumn vibes, will get any reader ready for the season! So, it’s time to stock the bookshelves, gear up for lots of reading and enjoy the weeks to come.