As the leaves turn crisp and orange, and the chill of the air turns our fingers blue with cold, nothing is more appealing than curling up under a blanket and reading a good book, while the rain pitter-patters against the bedroom window. However, with a never-ending list of books to read, it can be difficult to decide where to begin. So, if you are searching for the perfect books to get you into the spirit of the season, then you have come to the right place, as below are a few of my favourite autumnal reads. These range from cosy short story collections, to provide you with a sense of comfort, to eerie thrillers and gothic tales to prepare you for the approach of Halloween.
- Before the Coffee Gets Cold, by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
Dive into the world of magic realism, with this moving collection of short stories, in which the café’s customers stumble upon the opportunity to travel back in time, and relive a certain moment. However, there is one essential rule, they must return before the coffee gets cold. Kawaguchi explores themes of heartbreak, loss, grief and the human process of overcoming these difficulties. These characters have the unique experience of getting a second chance to revisit the past and reconnect with their loved ones. In doing so, we see them learn to overcome their losses and experience new beginnings, once they have returned to the present day. These heartwarming tales are bound to leave you with a newfound respect for humanity and a deep sense of empathy towards these characters. So, settle down with your own hot beverage and imagine you are sitting in this snug, tucked away café, hidden in the side streets of Tokyo. If you could go back in time just once, just for a moment, who would you see? What would you say?
- Rock Paper Scissors, by Alice Feeney
Set in the snowy hills of the Scottish Highlands, this spooky thriller focuses on a seemingly ordinary domestic couple taking a romantic getaway to an isolated Scottish chapel, in a last-ditch effort to save their struggling relationship. Flashing back and forth between the present day and the 10 previous years of their relationship, Feeney takes a deep dive into the events that have led Adam and Amelia to this fateful weekend. With dark secrets to be discovered at the turn of every page, and unreliable characters, Feeney creates a world where no one can be trusted and suspense is rife. Sharp twists and turns will leave you on the edge off your seat, quaking in your boots and questioning everything you have just read.
- Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
If you haven’t yet picked up this well-loved classic, then this is your sign to do so. There is no more thrilling place to spend your autumn than in the wild Yorkshire moors, haunted by the passionate souls of Bronte’s ill-fated lovers, Cathy and Heathcliff. This novel epitomizes the gothic genre, with its isolated setting acting as the backdrop for Cathy’s psychological deterioration and Heathcliff’s rage, heartbreak and desire for vengeance. Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ is a unique exploration of human passion and the lengths one will go to for love. Further feeding into the gothic atmosphere are the uncanny hints towards the supernatural, with ghostly hands reaching through windows and graves being opened, terrorizing the reader with suspense. Bronte’s expertise is in her ability to create characters that we both despise and yet pity at the same time, exposing the dichotomy of humankind, as no one is perfect, and we all contain aspects of good and evil.