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Fall Reading, as recommended by TCCL librarians

It’s 87 degrees today, and I classify that as fall in Tulsa. The autumnal equinox will occur on September 23rd this year, but I suspect that a few of you have preemptively lit your outdoor fire pits and pulled out some decorative gourds. People’s love of autumn has become easy fodder for those with palettes too sophisticated to enjoy anything pumpkin spice, but let me tell you why fall is the absolute best season.

In addition to the reprieve from the heat and the ability to enjoy the outdoors once more, it’s peak reading season. Much in the same way that studios release films with Oscar potential during this time, publishers reserve their heavy hitters for fall. Fall reading lists include established, award-winning literary authors, highly anticipated next-in-the-series titles, and celebrity memoirs.

While you’re waiting for those highly anticipated fall 2023 releases, here are some go-to recommendations that are ready for you to read now.

Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths (Mystery)

A high-school English teacher chronicles her suspicions about the murder of a colleague before discovering a sinister message in her own diary.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Gothic fiction/Horror)

A reimagining of the classic gothic suspense novel follows the experiences of a courageous socialite in 1950s Mexico who is drawn into the treacherous secrets of an isolated mansion.  

The Cloisters by Katy Hays (Gothic fiction)

A sinister, atmospheric novel follows a circle of researchers as they uncover a mysterious deck of tarot cards and shocking secrets in New York's famed Met Cloisters.

The Magician by Colm Toibin (Historical fiction)

An intimate, astonishingly complex portrait of writer Thomas Mann, a man profoundly flawed and unforgettable, his magnificent and complex wife Katia, and the times in which they lived--the first world war, the rise of Hitler, World War II, the Cold War, and exile.

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers (Family saga)

To come to terms with who she is and what she wants, Ailey, the daughter of an accomplished doctor and a strict schoolteacher, embarks on a journey through her family’s past, helping her embrace her full heritage, which is the story of the Black experience in itself.

The Green Road by Anne Enright (Family saga)

When Christmas day reunites the Madigan children, who all left their mother Rosaleen behind to follow their dreams, under one roof in County Clare, Ireland, they each must confront the terrible weight of family ties and the journey that brought them home.

Below are a few fall 2023 releases that my library colleagues and I are most excited to read.

Red Rabbit by Alex Grecian (Horror, Historical Fantasy)
Suggested by Peter Klein, Resource Sharing Coordinator

From bestselling author Alex Grecian comes a folk horror epic about a ragtag posse that must track down a witch through a wild west beset by demons and ghosts—and where death is always just around the bend.

Starling House by Alix E. Harrow (Southern Gothic)
Suggested by Heather Lozano, Adult Services Manager

Opal knows better than to mess with haunted houses, but a job offer might be a chance to get her brother out of Eden, Kentucky. Starling House starts to feel dangerously like something she's never had: a home. As sinister forces converge on Starling House, Opal and Arthur are going to have to make a choice: to dig up secrets and confront their fears, or let Eden be taken over by nightmares.  

Undiscovered by Gabriela Wiener (Latine/Literary fiction)
Suggested by Sara Martínez, Nathan Hale Manager

Alone in a museum in Paris, Gabriela Wiener confronts her complicated family heritage. She is visiting an exhibition of pre-Columbian artifacts, spoils of European colonialism, many stolen from her homeland of Peru. As she peers at countless sculptures of Indigenous faces, each resembling her own, she sees herself in them—but the man responsible for pillaging them was her own great-great-grandfather, Austrian colonial explorer Charles Wiener.

Yours for the Taking by Garbielle Korn (Dystopian/LGBTQ)
Suggested by Carissa Kellerby, Jenks Library Manager

This December release is described as “a mesmerizing story of queer love, betrayal, and chosen family, and an unflinching indictment of cis, corporate feminism," Gabrielle Korn's  Yours for the Taking holds a mirror to our own world, in all its beauty and horror.

Day by Michael Cunningham (Literary fiction)
My suggestion

Michael Cunningham’s latest novel releases on my birthday (11/14), and this cannot be coincidence. The Hours remains one of my top 5 favorite novels of all time, and I’m equally excited to dive into Day. Similar to The Hours, Day takes place on a single day across three different years—this time 2019, 2020, and 2021. It is described as an “exploration of love and loss, the struggles and limitations of family life and how we must learn to live together and apart.” In short, it sounds like my perfect read! 

If you’re looking for a comprehensive LIST of lists (and who isn’t?), check out Literary Hub’s Ultimate Fall 2023 Books Preview. Editor Emily Temple has done all the hard work for us and combed through 40 lists to reveal the 106 books that were recommended three times or more. Happy fall reading!

Rebecca Howard is the regional manager of Tulsa City-County Library. During her 15 years with Tulsa City-County Library, Rebecca launched the readers advisory service Your Next Great Read, and served as TCCL’s county-wide Literacy Coordinator. Rebecca writes Public Radio Tulsa's monthly column Imprint.