September 16, 2016

13 Atmospheric Reads for Autumn.

Ermin Celikovic/Unsplash

I have mad love for autumn.

Every single year as the end of summer approaches, my excitement builds for the upcoming season. Changing colors, falling leaves, crisp cool weather, bonfires, hayrides, apple picking, farm fun—I adore it all.

I’ve noticed that as fall approaches, I begin to look for more atmospheric reading material to match my mood.

This is my reading list for autumn—13 suggestions to get us in the mood for the changing season.

1. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.

This is a classic for a reason. Ten guests are invited to an island by a mysterious host and then start to be murdered one-by-one. It’s delightfully unsettling, and also poses some interesting questions on the nature of justice.

2. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.

A famous writer chooses to tell her life story to one particular biographer before her time runs out. This mystery is a must-read for bibliophiles.

3. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley.

Flavia de Luce is a captivating young heroine, solving mysteries while playing with poisons in her laboratory.

4. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.

Think historical hunt for Dracula turned modern-day game of cat and mouse. What if the myth of Dracula wasn’t a myth at all? History nerds will love this one, and the chilling tale is ideal for transitioning into fall.

5. Dracula by Bram Stoker.

This classic will set the mood for the changing season—and it’s a great companion read to The Historian.

6. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

Another mood-setting classic. Creating a man (or is it a monster) from dead body parts? Exceptionally creepy, and also poses a number of ethical questions about the advancement of science.

7. Coraline by Neil Gaiman.

A number of Gaiman’s books will do for atmospheric reads, but I have a particular love for this story. It’s fascinating to see the contrast between Coraline’s real family and her “other” family.

8. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving.

Enjoy the spooky tale of Ichabod Crane and the headless horsemen.

9. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.

Is there anything creepier than a traveling carnival? Savor the coming darkness in this twisted tale.

10. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux.

This tale ties horror into an epic love story. Beautiful, horrifying, chilling—all are attributes of this spectacular read.

11. The Big Sleep & Other Novels by Raymond Chandler.

Enjoy this set of classic mysteries with hardboiled detectives, wise-cracking criminals, and femme fatales.

12. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson.

This nonfiction story reads like fiction and keeps us on the edge of our seats. This story of a serial killer is set against the backdrop of the Chicago World Fair.

13. The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe.

Any story by Poe must naturally be included in a list of mysteries. Enjoy the haunting tale of intrigue told in Poe’s particular style.


The fall season, with its shorter days and lead-up to Halloween, creates an atmosphere for reading a tale or two of mystery and magic. I hope this abridged version of my autumn reading list may be of benefit.

Happy Reading!


Author: Crystal Jackson

Image: Ermin Celikovic/Unsplash

Editor: Toby Israel


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