10 Autumn Book Recs

By Vic and Anne-Charlotte

Perfect time to curl up with a book, but what to read…

Autumn has finally arrived! Bring on the rain and falling leaves, the spooky movies, the blankets and the warm fires. Here at Swim Press we LOVE Autumn and for good reason – is there anything better than curling up with a hot drink and a good book? No. Now’s the time to get that perfect reading list put together to last you through the cold months, and we’re here to help.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

In Summer we celebrate love and fun romances, and in Winter we spread joy and cheer. But in Autumn we delve into the twisted yet mesmerising world of dark academia, and Donna Tartt is a master of this genre. If you haven’t read The Secret History yet, now is your time. Imagine an Oxbridge type school with gothic architecture and grand halls, people reading books and speaking Greek and Latin, clad in trench coats and checkered skirts. Is that not the perfect Autumn read? I think all academia-themed books belong to Autumn, but this one is the king.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 

Magic, romance, competition and mystery all beautifully written in a captivating world where a circus appears at night without warning. Settle in with a cup of herbal tea or steaming hot chocolate and delve into this exquisite tale which will take your mind to brand new places. With rich, complex characters, this novel is captivating in a way that’s like no other. A perfect book for those dark nights creeping in.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

A classic, and another academia-themed novel, however this one is much more light-hearted and warm. Charlie’s story is one of mental health struggles and friendship. It’s at times quite sad, but at times overwhelmingly charming and filled with love and laughter. On top of that, Perks is set in the late 90s so there’s a lingering nostalgic vibe which compliments the change of seasons perfectly.

Pet Semetary by Stephen King

Autumn is the perfect season for any Stephen King novel! Whether you’ve got The Shining on your shelf waiting to be read, or you’ve been meaning to read Misery for ages but never got round to it, this is your sign to read a King book this autumn. Our recommendation on this list is Pet Semetary, a spooky, haunting and chilling book about bringing pets back from the dead. If 

you’re a cat owner, you may not be able to look at them in the same way ever again.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

One of the most renowned gothic classics of all time, the ghost of Rebecca will haunt you as you explore the mansion of Manderly through the perspective of the unnamed protagonist as she marries wealthy English widower Maxim DeWinter. Everyone loved Rebecca, DeWinter’s late wife, but is the story of her death the full truth about what happened that dreadful night? Not a book to read before you go to bed, that’s for sure.

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

Love it or hate it, Catcher in the Rye is our editor-in-chief’s favorite classic and had to make the list. Holden Caulfield wanders the streets of New York as he avoids going home for the holidays. It’s a coming of age story about the loss of a young man’s innocence and his lament to childhood. It’s all around cosy and profound, and the eponymous image of a ‘catcher’ in fields of rye lends itself perfectly to the harvest season.

The Betrayals by Bridgett Collins

Dark Academia but make it Enemies-to-Lovers? You get The Betrayals, a wonderfully gloomy and charismatic book with an elusive school and competition at its center and two haunted individuals navigating it all. This book has a duel POV and a duel time-line and gives off major Dead Poets Society energy. Collins’ is also a master of prose and her writing is absolutely stunning.

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

If you’re going to read a novel about a young boy murdering his family members in gruesome, diabolical ways then you have to read it in autumn (or winter), it’s not light summer beach reading. Frank is a disturbed teenager who tortures animals, including the wasps he catches and puts through The Wasp Factory, an old grandfather clock where each wasp meets their unduly death in different ways depending on which number they travel to in the clock. Murder, insanity and dysfunctional families, the perfect gothic horror for this time of year.

War of the Foxes by Richard Sikens

If there was ever a season fit for appreciating nature and it’s beauty, Autumn is right at the top. This poetry collection by Richard Sikens is all about the beauty of nature and art. There is also a very real and visceral quality to the writing that makes the poems feel haunting and alive, like a wolf stalking you. These poems are beautiful and great for an easy read by the fire, and the cover gives us all the perfect Autumn vibes as well!

Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling

The ultimate cosy reads for chilly nights and rainy days. Nothing can beat Hogwarts on a crisp, autumn day with quidditch practice in the afternoon then fighting deadly beasts in the Chamber of Secrets. There is something so warming about the Harry Potter books and films that no other series could match up to. 

What is your favorite autumn read?

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