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Perfect Reads for Autumn ‘23

By Julia Kawka | September 18, 2023

Photo Credit: Pixabay

From a turbulent romance between a brooding vampire and a timid high school girl, to the apprehension of a thrilling whodunit amongst a friend group, there are some stories that are unparalleled as ideal fall reads. There are a variety of genres that differ in every way from one another, yet all possess one key factor: reading them makes you want to throw on your favorite sweater and cozy up in under a blanket with a cup of tea by the candlelight (faux candlelight will have to suffice for us dorm kids).

Below is a list of some personal favorites that really bring out the intangible aspects of autumn charm.

Perfect Reads for Autumn ’23 (UAlbany edition):

"Anna Karenina" by Leo Tolstoy

Photo Credit: Glose

Anna Karenina is a story of the blossoming and withering of love. It explores deep changes within the complex characters Leo Tolstoy so brilliantly incorporated into this novel. The changes are similar to that of the red and orange leaves falling to the ground to make room for the encroaching winter. Karenin, a married man of high social standing, an expected fixation on decorum and on the other end a woman deprived of love.

Leo Tolstoy conjured a masterpiece based upon a tumultuous affair, successfully conveying the depth of human needs and the chilling consequences of them not being met. This novel tells a story that is so beautifully realistic and tragic leaving you in anticipation at the turn of every page. It is a personal favorite of mine and a rather lengthy telling of raw passion, a scandalous affair, ideal for a cool autumn evening wrapped up in a blanket and your imagination.

"This is Our Story" by Ashley Elston

Photo Credit: Amazon

There’s nothing like picking up a well-written murder mystery with a flawlessly tied in romance on a tranquil, cozy fall evening. A hunting accident in the woods leaves four of the five River Point Boys alive and one in the grave. The case falls into the hands and mind of Kate, a young girl working in the DA’s office, sending her mind spiraling with attempts to figure out which of the four boys was the culprit, whether it was an accident or in cold blood. An unexpected love story also ties in flawlessly with the whodunit mystery. A test of trust, passion and piecing together a conclusion when evidence points at all the suspects. A cup of hot tea and some candlelight (battery powered) is necessary as you attempt to figure out the puzzle alongside the characters.

"Pet Semetary" by Stephen King

Photo Credit: Amazon

This read requires a blanket to hide under and a well-lit room as it left me completely and utterly horrified to be alone. Stephen King is a horror genius, known for conjuring up the most chilling and sinister of stories. Doctor Louis Creed moves to the small town of Ludlow with his family where he meets an elderly man by the name of Jud and things only spiral from there. The family is led to the place that leads to the destruction of Louis Creed’s life, the Pet Semetary. Louis’s life collapses, filled with dread and grief amplified by the discovery of, decisions, and consequences regarding the forsaken burial grounds. This novel is one I highly recommend with the encroaching Halloween season if you’re looking for a good scare.

"Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte

Photo Credit: Amazon

Something about reading this iconic classic with its tale of a crazed love combined with the presence of relentless spirits gives me a fall nostalgia that I cannot wait to rediscover this year. Many have claimed to see Heathcliff’s ghost haunting the moors, his afflicted soul devoted to remain by Catherine even beyond the grave. This novel and the next seem to fit under a category I named, “High School Tried to Ruin It.” Literature classes and tedious assignments left a rift between the relationship of modern-day readers and classics, but I urge readers to believe in second chances.

Wuthering Heights holds the thrilling story that encapsulates a dark and twisted love between an orphan by the name of Heathcliff and Katherine. The story is a convoluted one, exploring the topics of social hierarchy and internal conflict of desiring both love and money when the two are distributed amongst two different men. This novel is Brontë’s masterpiece and if there is any story appropriate to read beside the candlelight, this would be my top choice.

"Sing Me to Sleep" by Angela Morrison

Photo Credit: Amazon

This beautiful story holds a special place in my heart. A girl who believes she is unworthy of love meets a boy who proves her wrong. Beth’s angelic voice leaves all mesmerized, including Derek, the handsome boy she meets at a choir competition. Sing Me to Sleep is a story of irrevocable and unconditional love between two young souls not ready for what is to come.

Within the world of young adult fiction, there is demand for novels which successfully encapsulate not just romance but a meaningful story with characters who possess realistic depth. The tragedy and beauty of this telling of Derek and Beth’s passion brought something that is strongly desired yet seldom seen in the literary world. This story brought tears to my eyes and a box of tissues is highly recommended for the experience.

"Twilight" by Stephanie Meyer

Photo Credit: Amazon

To all the past and present Twilight fans looking for some comforting fall nostalgia, you no longer have to search for an excuse to reread the series. A whirlwind of a romance between a vampire and a human girl whose passionate love overpowers the fear of Edward Cullen’s predatory nature is a masterpiece to fans and with reason. The book is one that keeps you seated until you finish it with well written characters whose interactions leave you dying to get to the next page. If there is any time to step foot into the rainy, small town of Forks, Washington with Blue Foundation’s “Eyes on Fire” playing in your headphones, it’s now. The fall vibes are unparalleled, and I think this iconic read holds a rightful place at the conclusion of this list.

Treat yourself to the ultimate autumn comfort when you pick up any of these books, or one of your choice. While the falling leaves dance in the wind outside of your window, get comfortable, grab your book and let yourself experience various literary worlds all from the comfort of your cozy dorm.


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