The Best Reads of Fall 2020


Nothing says autumn like wearing cozy clothes, sipping pumpkin lattes, and reading an enjoyable book by a roaring fire. But, what should that book be? In a world where there is a seemingly endless selection of books to read, it can be overwhelming to choose a suitable candidate. Thankfully, GoodReads’ ( and Oprah Daily’s (30 Best Fall Books to Read In 2021 ( 2021 autumn book lists contain books of all genres, and are two great websites for readers to find their next favorite novel.

The first two books on GoodReads’ list are both distinctly horror novels. The Woman in White, written by Wilkie Collins in 1859, follows a man named Walter Hartright and his investigation into the sinister figures of Sir Percivl Glyde and Count Fosco, who “has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons, and poison,” according to GoodReads. 

The second novel, instantly familiar to any horror lover, is Stephen King’s classic The Shining. The plot follows Jack Torrance, a man looking for a fresh start who has taken the position of a caretaker at the remote Overlook Hotel with his family. While living there, isolated during a severe winter, Jack, his wife, Wendy, and their son, Danny, are confronted by the supernatural and sinister elements of the Overlook, all of which builds towards a climactic and unexpected conclusion. 

The third spot on GoodReads’ list is held by the novel Piranesi, a fantasy novel written by Susanna Clarke. It follows a man named Piranesi as he explores his labyrinthian house. Another man, known as The Other, commissions Piranesi to help research into A Great and Secret Knowledge, which leads to Piranesi discovering a critical truth, changing everything he knows about the world he lives in.

An excellent intersection of horror and fantasy is mystery, a genre that senior Jessica Healey feels most at home with. Healey recommends Carry On by Rainbow Rowell and The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer for autumnal reads. Sophomore Madeleine Malinka recommended two mystery novels. “The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin and the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are some of my favorite mysteries,Malinka said. “Certain classics are also great, like the Anne of Green Gables books by L.M. Montgomery,” added Malinka.

Oprah Daily’s list, on the other hand, contains more books that have recently debuted. According to the OprahDaily website, many of these books are written by “literary superstars,” such as Colson Whitehead, Sally Roony, and Liane Moriatry. Oh William!, a novel written by Elizabath Strout, takes this list’s top spot. The novel tells the complex story of Lucy Barton, a woman dealing with the death of her second husband. Throughout the novel, Lucy grows more intimate with her first husband, whom she divorced after catching him cheating. The narrative contemplates on “marriage, mortality, and love’s complexities,” as stated by OprahDaily.

The second novel is called The Lincoln Highway, by Amor Towles. The audience follows 18-year-old Emmett, who, after getting released from juvenile detention following the death of his father, rejoins his younger brother on their family’s Nebraska farm. When the farm is foreclosed, the boys plan to move out west to find their mother. However, on the way there, the pair is detoured to New York City, where they encounter many memorable characters. 

Finally, OprahDaily’s third title is On Freedom, an essay collection written by Maggie Nelson. Here, Nelson, discusses the “patient labor of personal and political liberation,” according to OprahDaily.

Sophomore Alexis Raynor enjoys many book genres that are present on these lists, including realistic fiction and fantasy. When asked what books she would recommend for the season, Raynor recommended They Both Die at the End, a novel written by Adam Silvera. When it came to the plot, Raynor described it as “a tragic love story” and a “total page turner.” 

While these lists have been carefully curated by a handful of editors, they still are biased in selection. If one prefers to read the favorites of the masses instead of editors, consider The New York Times’ Bestseller List, which is updated each week. Here, many lists ranging from bestselling picture books to advice texts can be found. 

Reading lists are an excellent way to stay on top of a reading habit, but no matter what, there is no guarantee of always pleasing the reader. To avoid ending up with tons of half-read books on a nightstand, invest time in exploring different genres and finding out what piques an appetite for reading. If one genre is not interesting, move along, and remember, at the end of the day, it is not how many books that are read matter, but what one learns from them.