Rachel Grate
October 01, 2015 6:00 am

October means it’s officially fall, it also means it’s officially the start of the festive season. Hello crunchy leaves on the sidewalk, Halloween costume brainstorms, and delicious Starbucks drinks. It’s also finally chilly enough that we don’t have to feel guilty about staying inside all day reading.

To get into the true October spirit, we rounded up some of the best books to read this month. From books that are new thrillers, spooky classics, or just take place in the fall, here are the top picks for whatever mood you’re in:

If you’re a movie geek, read Coraline by Neil Gaiman

If you liked Tim Burton’s movie adaptation, prepare for an even more dark and twisted novel. Coraline is a young girl with preoccupied parents who is delighted when she stumbles upon an alternate universe. At first, it seems to be everything she’s dreamed of — but then the real danger shows itself. Consider yourself warned: Coraline may be a children’s book, but it gave me nightmares.

If you want to be transported to another (eerie) world, read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

If you want to be transported to another (eerie) world, read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This is one of my absolute favorite books. It’s just so beautifully written, that when reading you feel like you are living in the mysterious world of the novel. It follows a magical circus that is only open at night and travels from town to town without warning. If that wasn’t enough to entice you, the love story is truly one for the ages.
(Plus, if you’re spending October gearing up for November’s NaNoWriMo madness, this book is the perfect encouragement — Morgenstern wrote the first draft during National Novel Writing Month.)

If you’re a zombie fanatic, read World War Z by Max Brooks

First of all, forget everything you may know from the Brad Pitt movie: the book is nothing like it. Instead, get ready for a book full of alternately shiver-inducing and amusing vignettes on how people all over the world dealt with a zombie infestation. It’s written as if by a reporter conducting interviews after the devastation, and it’s a totally new and refreshing take on the whole zombie genre.

If you want to bring out your inner child, read Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories by Roald Dahl

Don’t get too excited quite yet: Unfortunately, these aren’t ghost stories written by everyone’s favorite childhood author Roald Dahl. But he did hand-select the 14 stories in the anthology from over 750 he read, so we definitely expect typical Roald Dahl-levels of spookiness. According to the book jacket, after all, his criteria was stories that would, “give you the creeps and disturb your thoughts.” Sign me up.

If you’re tired of boring princess costumes, read Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann

This collection of 50 poems twists traditional fairy tales by setting them in real life — and making them way more empowering and hilarious. With poems like “If Tampons Were Guys,” this book will have you ROFL. Not to mention it may inspire some creative twists on princess costumes. How ’bout this Halloween we transform from boring damsels in distress into a total badasses with crowns.

If you want to read a scary (good) prize-winner, read A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

This is a ghost story like you’ve never seen it before. Short-listed for the Booker Prize, Jamaican author Marlon James shines in this fictional account of a real murder attempt on Bob Marley in 1976. The attack wounded him, his wife, his manager and more, but the public never learned who was behind it. James starts with the one historical mystery, and builds out a decades-long story with the gunmen, the CIA, and even ghosts. 

If you’re worried you’re too old to dress up this Halloween, read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell is one of my favorite authors, and this book is one of her best. When Cath starts college, she realizes she may have to leave some of her old passions behind — including writing fan fiction and dressing up like her favorite characters for movie premieres. This genuine coming-of-age novel shows that sometimes it’s OK not to act your age, and you’ll walk away feeling more free to let your inner geek out this Halloween.

Not to mention — Rowell’s next book comes out on October 6th, so if you read this one now you won’t have to wait to reenter her wonderful world!

If you can’t wait to curl up with a pumpkin spice latte, read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

This classic will warm your heart too — in between chills from the scenery and cold characters, that is. It’s one of the original dark love stories, and perfect to match the increasingly moody weather outside this fall.

If you want to solve a mystery, read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Declared by many to be this year’s Gone Girl, this book has been breaking all sorts of records. The short story: Rachel takes the same train every morning, and has gotten familiar to seeing a happy couple out the window. But on one commute, she sees something shocking — that may just hold the secret to a police investigation. This book is the perfect pick for anyone who wants to let out their inner Nancy Drew this month.

If your go-to costume is a flapper outfit, read The Diviners by Libba Bray

This young adult novel by the brilliant Libba Bray follows a young woman in New York City in 1926. The only catch? She has a secret psychic gift, and is using it could help catch a serial killer. The book is full of great historical intrigue and fantastical twists that will keep you reading all night.

Related reading:

A graduating up book list: New recommendations based on your old faves

25 books every girl should read before she turns 25

[Images via Shutterstock & Amazon]
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