Fall is my favorite time of year to curl up with a comfy throw blanket and good book next to a roaring fire, so I thought I’d share a few of my seasonal favorites!
While everyone’s tolerance for what is scary varies WILDY, I tried my best to create a mix of books that were merely felt seasonally atmospheric, to those old scary stories your grandpa might tell you around a campfire, to books I would only recommend to the most hardcore fans of spookish stories that don’t scare easily.
Atmospheric Books For Fall
From murder mysteries, to psychological thrillers and gothic dramas, these are some of my very favorite non-spookish fall reads featuring all the thrills without the chills.
- Hallowe’en Party – Agatha Christie
- And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
- The Death Of Mrs. Westaway – Ruth Ware
- Nine Coaches Waiting – Mary Stewart
- Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
- The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield
- The Woman In White – Wilkie Collins
Vintage Spooky Stories For Around The Campfire
These are books I’d place in the category of stories that your grandpa might tell you around a campfire. Most of them were written in the 1800s (or read like they were in the case of The Woman in Black which was actually written in the 1980s), so while there are ghost and things that go bump in the night, most of them feel more like watching an old episode of the twilight zone rather than a modern horror flick.
- M.R. James Collected Ghost Stories – M.R. James
- This collection of short stories is probably my favorite fall read. If you have an audible subscription there are several of his short story collections available for free as part of the audible library!
- The Turn Of The Screw – Henry James
- The Woman In Black – Susan Hill
- The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
And since we’re on the topic of classic horror fiction from the 1800s, if you’re thinking of reading Dracula this fall, may I suggest you look into reading Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu instead? Written in 1872, 26 years before Bram Stoker’s Dracula, I found it infinitely more engaging and entertaining of a read, not to mention a book that was very much ahead of its time. (It’s also about 300 pages shorter than Dracula so there is also that lol)
Modern Thrillers With Some Spooky Chills
These books by modern authors offer a lot of on the edge of your seat thrills with just a handful of chills, some of which I’d say are more intense than others, I’ve gone ahead and tried to sort them in order of least to most chilling.
- The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
- Lock Every Door – Riley Sager
- The Silent Companions – Laura Purcell
- Home Before Dark – Riley Sager
- The Turn Of The Key – Ruth Ware
- The Shining – Stephen King
- I just want to make a note here to say that the book is nothing like the Stanley Kubrick film with Jack Nicholson. The book is more a slow phycological thriller than anything else with very few gorey or overly spookish scenes. So if you didn’t like the movie, you may still love the book.
For My Spookish Bookish Lovers
Let me just say right off the bat that the below list is extremely subjective because what one person finds scary another person often finds comical. BUT these are all books that I think most horror fans would agree top the list of genre classics and are likely a bit more intense than the average reader may enjoy.
- The Haunting Of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
- The Elementals – Michael McDowell
- Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin
- NOS4A2 – Joe Hill
- Technically this one is centered more around Christmas than Fall thematically, but I loved the story so much and thought it was so well done that I had to include it on my list.
Other Recommendations From My Instagram Community
At the start of fall, I asked my instagram family what their favorite spookish fall reads were, so I wanted to be sure and add any of their responses that didn’t making it into the above list to this post as well!
- Edgar Allan Poe
- The Pit and the Pendulum
- The Fall of the House of Usher
- Cask of Amontillado
- The Castle of Otranto – Horace Walpole
- The Shadows – Alex North
- Tombstories – Kelley Power
- 20th Century Ghosts – Joe Hill
- Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires – Grady Hendrix
- Billy Summers – Stephen King
- Summer of Night – Dan Simmons
Have you read any of the books on this list? Would you agree with where I placed them on their level of spookiness? Did I miss any of your favorites? Let me know in the comment section below!
This blog post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase any of the items above using the links I provided I, as the author of this list, will receive a very very small commission from the sale. While this is a great way to help support bloggers, if you are low on funds, I would highly suggest checking your local library or library apps like Libby to see if you can read any of the suggested items above for free! Additionally, many of these books are older and currently in the public domain and therefore may be found to read for free at various locations around the internet.