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Best classic books to read in fall
Find the best classic fall reads in this list of books. As fall is around the corner, you want to get yourself transported into fall-themed classic novels that are epic page-turners.
Whether you live in a country where you get to witness the enchanting autumn season and are looking for the best classic books to read in autumn or you are in search of books to get you in the mood for fall as you don’t have a fall season in your country?
You WILL BE thrilled to have found this list!
These atmospheric, classic fall novels and cozy mysteries are a treat for lovers of the harvest season. Probably it’s the crispy autumn mornings that demand a classic story be set in the fall?
If you’re a night owl, reading an autumn- themed classic novel next to a campfire and the rustling leaves can be heavenly.
I guarantee you that even if you’re not a fan of classic gothic literature, you are going to love this list!
Also, this list of classic autumn books is not complete without some spooky books for Halloween. Though, I have to admit that I am more of a fan of cozy fall novels than books that take place during Halloween. However, I know many Stephen King fans who love spooky books for Halloween!
So whether you’re a fan of dark and spooky classic autumn novels or a cosy fall book, you’ll be delighted to find this list of classic novels that everyone should read in autumn.
You can find atmospheric classic fall books that are written by some of the best writers, such as:
Now, grab your pumpkin spice latte in your favourite mug to start reading the best classic books to read this fall!
The October Country by Ray Bradbury
This classic collection of books that take place during Halloween contains multiple infamous spooky tales.
“The Small Assassin” follows the story of a mother and her perfect yet nightmarish newborn, “The Emissary” features a loyal canine companion who follows his young sick human friend to a world beyond, and “The Wonderful Death Of Dudley Stone” features a joyful case of murder in which even the victim revealed.
That’s just a taste of one of the best Halloween horror books that can be found in this collection.
Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This tragic romance tale tells the story of young American couple Nicole and Dick. Dick is a loyal husband and an outstanding doctor, though his wealth takes him down an unfamiliar path to himself, whilst Nicole is his loving wife. F. Scott Fitzgerald explores the romantic boundaries of a character in a hauntingly beautiful love story.
This cozy autumn book will leave you feeling satisfied, with a taste of wholesomeness left in your mouth as you work through this sweet story, praised by the likes of John O’Hara, Archibald MacLeish and Ernest Hemingway.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
An unlikely band of misfits and their witty, charming professor break boundaries when they discover a new way of thought and a life entirely removed from what they know in this haunting classic . Soon, the group’s search for the incomprehensible takes them down a dangerous path that will have them disregard all human morality.
This is one of the best books to get you in the mood for fall, with an engaging, thrilling tale and tough yet fun and energetic characters.
Anne Of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
A timeless coming of age tale, young orphan girl Anne Shirley finds herself at the Prince Edward Island farm in the care of two siblings.
Things are already off to a bad start when it is revealed that the siblings asked for an orphan boy to help out with the farm and instead ended up with a girl. They decide to keep the girl and Anne settles into her new life, making a best friend and multiple rivals and enemies within her first week.
Like Anne, you’re glad that you live in a world where there are Octobers. Anne Of Green Gables is a must-read cozy classic novel perfect for young adults and adults.
Want to read more cozy fall reads for young adults? Check this post- 24 Chilling And Atmospheric YA Fall Reads For 2022
A Night In The Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny
As light is shone upon the gloomy London nights the story follows darkness-prowler Jack as he gathers grim ingredients for an nearing ancient ritual.
The moon will fall, after which, the Elder Gods shall return to the world to play a game for which Earth is the unfortunate battleground. Humans and undead alike are preparing themselves either to play, with their gates wide open, or to run and hide with their doors slammed shut. The dread night approaches, and the playing field is set.
This short horror fantasy is perfect for enchanting October nights. As it’s a short classic under 300 pages, it’s perfect to read if you’re looking for a short yet spooky Halloween novel.
By the way if you want to read more short classics, read more – 32 Easy Short Classics You Can Actually Read in One Sitting
Daughter Of The Forest by Juliet Marillier
Sorcha, the seventh and only female child of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters, is the light in her family’s life, cherished by her six brothers and father in the matriarch’s eternal absence.
When Lord Colum remarries, Sorcha’s evil new stepmother reveals herself as a sorceress who bewitches her brothers. Now, the game is set: If Sorcha speaks before completing the task set to her by the Lady Of The Forest, she will lose her brothers forever. Things go from bad to worse when she is kidnapped by enemies of Sevenwaters and finds her heart running awry. Will she keep to the mission to save her brothers? Or will the heart’s desires take her away from her beloved family?
This cozy novel tells a bittersweet tale that everyone should read during the chilly nights.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
An all-time classic masterpiece and still well-read and studied today, Wuthering Heights is the story of a farmhouse on the moorland that houses the Earnshaw family.
When the patriarch dies, Heathcliff, childhood friend of Catherine Earnshaw, is allowed to stay on at the Wuthering Heights farmhouse. A class divide comes into play, as Catherine prevents herself from marrying Heathcliff due to his lower social status. As the years go on, a story of betrayal, revenge, and things that are lost unfolds.
Wuthering Heights is a classic novel that book lover should read in autumn, whether it be students in school or adults at home.
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
Sisters Gillian and Sally were always the outsiders in their New England dwelling. Ever since their childhood, they both wanted to escape the confusing air of magic that surrounds them. So, as adults, they fulfil their desire.
One marries into a new life and the other runs from it as fast as she can. But then, tragedy strikes, and the sisters are forced to reunite and, no matter what, learn that each other is the only thing they’ll always have. This classic fall read was the origin of the Sandra Bullock film.
Practical Magic is one of the best novels for autumn that is ever written.
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
Get stuck into this horror classic that inspired the hit movie. A seemingly normal family home starts to experience strange events, including odd smells, self-moving furniture, and icy chills in the hallways.
Eleven-year-old Regan soon becomes the unfortunate target of a malevolent unseen entity, and when science fails to produce answers, Father Damien Karras is called in as a last resort; to perform an exorcism…
The Exorcist is a well-written classic Halloween book for adults that still stands out as a terrifying horror read fifty years later.
The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
From the fascinating mind of Ray Bradbury, comes a brilliant piece of fiction that takes place during Halloween.
The story follows a group of eight trick-or-treaters as they dare to approach the haunted house at the edge of town. Before long, young Pip is taken out of sight, with the seven remaining boys having only one hope of finding him; the creepy Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud.
This timeless piece of gothic literature is worth adding in the list of best classic novels to read in fall. The Halloween Tree is one of those books that really puts you in the mood for the spooky season.
Hell House by Richard Matheson
Belasco House has remained an empty, unsolved mystery for two decades, with all those who dare try to crack it either ending up dead or locked away and insane.
Now, set during Halloween, four more strangers dare to enter the house in this classic fall read that sparked the infamous ‘The Legend Of Hell House’ movie. A dying wealthy publisher along with a physicist and two mediums on his payroll have all come together to investigate the locally-nicknamed ‘Hell House’ – And tonight, of all nights, it shall become clear exactly why it’s earned that bone-chilling title.
Hell House is a bewitching story that has stood, ever since its release, as a true piece of classic gothic literature.
Pet Sematary by Stephen King
From the famous horror author and mind behind the ‘IT’ franchise Stephen King comes a classic autumn novel centered around… A house.
An ordinary house. Just a perfectly ordinary house. Dr Louis Creed and his family could settle here. The children could grow, play and explore. The hills and meadows of Maine protected it from the pollution and convoluted mess of the city. A loud truck would pass here and there, but beyond that, everything was fine. Sure, the cleared path to the woods where local children would bury their deceased pets was a bit spooky, but it didn’t make the house feel any less safe.
It’s a warm, sweet home… Until morning comes and you find yourself waking up on a sweaty mattress with fear and dread.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
This fantastic yet eerie book for Halloween tells the terrifying tale of Bod, a child who escaped the murderer that killed the rest of his family by hiding in a graveyard as a baby.
Bod has a rather unusual upbringing, being raised by ghosts and the spirits of the dead. We follow Bod as he grows up throughout his childhood and is taught how to fight back against the ever-present threat that the murderer may find him again and finish the job.
The Graveyard Book features many ghostly characters and has a surprising amount of darkness. Yet it’s a bittersweet Halloween tale for everyone.
Thérèse Raquin by Emile Zola
Read by the legendary Kate Winslet, this classic book for fall is told in audio form.
It follows the tale of a young woman forced into an unfortunate marriage to her sickly cousin by her less-than-hospitable aunt. When a childhood friend re-enters the cousin’s life, an affair occurs, giving Thérèse a chance at spiritual freedom for the first time since her vowels.
The dark atmosphere of 19th-century France has a foreboding air to it, making this a classic novel everyone should read .Emile Zola’s worldbuilding and Kate Winslet’s command of the author’s words make for a classic fall audiobook that book lovers of any age can enjoy.
Do you enjoy classic audiobooks? Then check out 21 FREE Classic Audiobooks
The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
This Halloween classic originally came as part of a much larger collection by Washington Irving, though is now available as its own tale.
Alongside companion piece ‘Rip Van Winkle,’ it is, perhaps, one of the oldest American tales of fiction still published and read today. Set in the 1790s in the Dutch settlement of TarryTown, it follows superstitious schoolmaster Ichabod Crane who competes with the hot-headed Abraham Van Brunt for the hand of Katrina Van Tassel, sole daughter of a wealthy farmer, in marriage.
Things turn spooky and sour when Crane is pursued by the headless horseman, the ghost of a Hessian trooper whose head was shot off by a stray cannonball in the American Revolutionary War. What happens next is uncertain to the town, as Crane disappears, leaving Katrina with only Abraham to marry.
This is one of the best classic books to read in October, as it tells stories of both love and horror.
Slade House by David Mitchell
You’d be forgiven for missing Slade Alley. After all, it’s dark, narrow and therefore very easy to miss… Even if you were staring straight at it. There’s a door set into the wall, though there’s no handle. Just move your hand forward… That’s it, just touch and watch as the door swings open.
Now, enter the open, luscious garden of the decrepit old house. Allow yourself to wonder how something so grand and bold suits such a rundown area. Then, when the stranger greets you, give in to his hospitality and indulge his request to enter.
You don’t want to leave; why should you? Well, by the time you start to second guess yourself, it’ll be too late.
This unnerving classic fall novel is the perfect book to get you in the mood for a mellower season. Once you start reading, you won’t be able to stop… And you won’t know why.
The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James
This eerie tale became such a hit that it was turned into Netflix’s ‘The Haunting Of Bly Manor’ as well as a West End opera in London.
This piece of classic gothic literature follows a young governess who agrees to care for two orphans living on a lonely estate. She soon discovers the estate is haunted and a terrifying tale unfolds. Henry James tests the limits of the horror genre as well as his own imagination in this spooky story for Halloween.
If you’re looking for a short classic novel to read in October, get this one.
The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
One of the best-selling classic autumn novels of all time, Oscar Wilde is well-remembered thanks to the genius he put into this tale. Dorian Gray is afraid of something quite unusual, ageing.
Scared that his beauty is fading away, Dorian makes a wish that grants him eternal beauty, though his glorious oil portrait is lumbered with the burden of ageing instead.
Oscar Wilde’s Gothic novel beautifully tells the perfect story of being careful what you wish for.
Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
After an unfortunate incident resulting in her father losing the family savings, young Agnes Grey sets out to make a living for herself.
She becomes a governess working for the Bloomfields, but soon finds reality crushing her idealism as she struggles to look after the cruel children in her care. Not all is bad, as she makes a new friend in the form of Mr Weston. Whilst Agnes tries searching for a second better job, eldest daughter Rosalie gets in the way and makes moves on Mr Weston, leaving Agnes feeling sidelined and invisible.
This bittersweet classic autumn read is the Bronte sisters at their best, hence why this epic read went down as a staple in literary history.
Emily Of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery
Emily Starr lives the high life. Everyone loves her. From her father, her friends, from partners, everyone.
When her father dies, Emily is left in the care of her mother’s family, yet despite their relation, she is a stranger to the Murrays, who are at a loss with how to look after a stubborn yet heartbroken girl. Ultimately, they decide to send her to her stern Aunt Elizabeth, the head of the family, at New Moon. With an active imagination and the desire to become a world-known writer, Emily finds herself again through her grief and learns New Moon could be the perfect place to achieve her goals, with new friends and even a chance at winning a smile from her cold aunt.
This is a fantastic book to get you in the mood for fall.
The Age Of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Edith Wharton’s classic fall romance explores the grim reality of 1870s New York and how far removed the upper class society was from the lower classes of the city.
Newland Archer, lawyer and heir to one of New York’s most prominent families, prepares to marry the young, illustrious May Welland. May’s high social status makes the marriage a complete win, though when her thirty-year-old cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska, comes into the game, Newland’s seemingly perfect future plan is thrown into question. Ellen is an exotic breath of fresh air, something that Newland hasn’t quite seen before.
If you’re looking for a love story that perfectly captures the gloomy and moody autumn days, The Age Of Innocence is a perfect choice.
The Mysteries Of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
In this list of classic autumn books next comes a the story of Emily St. Aubuert, a woman who finds herself seeking vengeance against her evil guardian, Count Montoni, who imprisons her in a foreboding Middle Ages-esque fortress in the heights of the Appenines.
The count’s schemes keep Emily trapped and threatened, and even begins to drive her mad.
Will she defeat Montoni and find her freedom? Or will she lose herself in insanity in this tale of classic gothic literature? This is a classic novel everyone should read in Autumn.
The Hound Of The Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
The death of Sir Charles Baskerville raises alarm bells all around. Dr James Mortimer, friend of the deceased, enlists Sherlock Holmes to investigate the death.
At first, it is ruled as a heart attack, though Mortimer’s suspicions of foul play do not go ignored by Sherlock. The curse of the Baskervilles, an ancient superstition, is brought into the reality of consideration, as for countless years, it has been the case that Baskervilles would all die under seemingly normal yet mysterious circumstances. Sherlock takes up the case, though even this great detective may have bitten off more than he can chew with this investigation. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle delivered another true tale of mystery with this classic fall read that everyone should read.
The spooky undertones of this novel make it one of the perfect books for Halloween.
Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge
This classic book to read in October takes place during Halloween, 1963.
The infamous, scary ‘October Boy’ rises from the cornfields every October 31st and comes to town with a knife in one hand a thirst for blood clenched up in the other. Whilst most residents will hide, youth gangs would dare to take their chance with the legend. Pete McCormick, a man looking forward to nothing but a dead-end life, knows that slaying October Boy is his one chance to change things for himself. However, when he looks into the eyes of this horrifying legend, an even more horrifying truth will come to light.
This classic story gets you in the mood for fall with a timeless, haunting tale to tell on its pages.
There you have the classic books to read in autumn and Halloween in 2022
What are some of your all time favorite novels to cozy up on the couch?
Let me know in the comments.
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