Why waste washed-out weeknights facing the foray of windy weather when you could pass the time immersing yourself in the best books the season has on show? Autumnal literature offers the most magical of fantastical fiction, the grotesque of the gothic, the unsettling disquiet of horror, and beloved coming-of-age heroes. So, pop the kettle on and settle in for these seasonal page-turners.
A Study in Scarlet – Arthur Conan Doyle
It is the season for a mystery, and who better to crack the case than the Baker Street boys: the indominable Sherlock Holmes and his trusty sidekick, John Watson. There is an element of thriller to the duo’s escapades which is ideal for a night in under a blanket.
If crime and mystery is your bag, then Agatha Christie is an undeniable option, and Hallowe’en Party is a perfect choice for October.
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
Darker nights lend themselves to the unsettling settings of dystopian fiction, and Burgess’ 1962 satire addresses some rather gruesome topics with sharp irony, lasting imagery, and a wickedly fun teenage dialect. A Stanley Kubrick-adapted novel, the 1971 film version is a cult-classic.
Additionally, as autumn turns our attention to nature, what better dystopia to indulge in than cli-fi, and there are few more poignant than J.G. Ballard’s The Drowned World.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling
There is something so inherently autumnal about the Harry Potter series, with heavy imagery placed on the highlights of the season. With its loveable characters and timeless plot, re-reading at this time of year can prove an easy and enjoyable pastime.
Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus is an alternative for Potter lovers, blending a world of magic with more adult danger.
Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
The wild moors, the howling passion, the aching nostalgic tragedy. Wuthering Heights is a cathartic read to complete on an autumn’s afternoon by the fire and is sure to leave you pining for the comforts of family and home.
The Brontë sisters’ work generally evokes vivid seasonal imagery to curl up and envisage, and Charlotte’s Jane Eyre is another example of this.
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
There is an element of autumn which flows strongly through Bradbury’s imagery, embedding his writing within the season. In Fahrenheit, Bradbury’s political protest is buried in skilfully employed character arcs and a spiralling narrative which is tricky to put down.
Other works by Bradbury which embody autumnal essence are The Halloween Tree, The October Country, and Something Wicked This Way Comes, the title of the latter being adopted from the witches’ speech in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.