A Cozy, Fantasy Inspired Autumn Reading List

autumnbooksDo certain books remind you of specific seasons? Or maybe they just feel appropriate that time of year. There's a lot of books that feel like summer to me--escapism, breaks between school, coming of age, etc. But autumn feeling books can be a bit more elusive, or at least hard to come to mind when you are look for a cozy autumn read. These four books however really evoke the season to me; they're cozy and all have a bit of magic to them as well in entirely different ways. Whether you prefer your fantasy with a bit of time travel or shape-shifting fae, there's a bit of something for every fantasy lover on this list. 

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson: This book was recommended to me by a friend a few years ago when I asked for autumnal book suggestions and it does do a wonderful job of evoking this season. Isobel is an artist who paints portraits of the fae. In this version of the fair folk, the fae crave human Craft and are incapable of creating art on their own. In exchange for the work of human artists they trade spells and enchantments (often with a cruel twist) and it is rumored that some artists can be awarded the ultimate gift of becoming fae themselves. Isobel doesn’t aspire to an immortal life, but ends up on the wrong side of fae with one of her portraits. It’s not my favorite version of the fae as I find it a bit contrary to most folklore, but it is a delightful story and there’s a lot of beautiful world building. A 

Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: There’s something quite bewitching about this book. It has a sort of dark academia atmosphere mixed with more fantastical elements that makes me always want to reach for it again as the days grow shorter and darker. The author gives a lot of detail to the story that makes it very immersive as we follow Diana, a scholar of history who stumbles across a bewitched manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. She is aware of the world of magic, but would prefer to remain in the world of academia—fate has other plans. There’s a bit of romance and mystery (and vampires) all set in the chill of an English autumn. I found the writing very evocative and sweeps you along those canals and cobblestone streets. 

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: The Scorpio Races opens with an ominous line about the first of November; with such a memorable opening it’s no wonder that this book always comes to mind for me when autumn rolls around. Set on a fictitious Celtic island this book follows Puck Connolly as she enters the island’s legendary race with deadly water horses in a mad effort to keep her family together. As someone who has spent a significant amount of time on Irish islands I feel like this book really accurately captured that feeling of being an islander; the unity of the community and otherness from mainlanders, as well as the quirks of life somewhere remote. It’s a lovely little book that I come back to again and again especially this time of year. 

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: I feel like so many books set in Scotland, England, or Ireland give autumnal vibes because of how often the British isles are blanketed with mist and fog—it’s always a bit gloomy with a chill in the air even in the height of spring or summer. Outlander is not only set in Scotland, but actually begins its story in October of 1945 as Claire Randall and her husband travel to Inverness for a second honeymoon. The book immediately sets the mood for something supernatural; locals smear blood on door frames in preparation for Samhain, Claire gets her tea leaves read, and her husband spots of the ghost of an old Celtic warrior. All of these little incidents seem innocuous until Claire touches a standing stone and travels 200 years back in time.


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