What Books Are You Reading This Fall?

Two years ago, my friend Kendra texted me saying I had to read Gone Girl. But when I heard the basic premise—wife dies, husband is suspected, chaos, twists, suspense—I wasn’t sure it was up my alley. I’m more of a Jane-Austen-comedy-of-errors-don’t-look-at-my-ankle kind of girl.

But finally, finally, this fall I picked up a copy and OH MY GOODNESS I AM SO SUCKED IN!!! I cannot express how gripping and compelling the book is. I cannot put it down. I think about it all day long—during work, during the boys’ bathtime, during dinner—until FINALLY I can climb into bed and crack it open. I know I’m the last to the party here, but if there’s anyone left out there who hasn’t read it, you have to. :)

What about you? What are you reading this fall? Any recommendations? I would LOVE to hear.

P.S. The scariest movie.

(Book photo by Yossy Arefi for Cup of Jo)

  1. Jennifer Simmons says...

    Scariest book on the shelves right now, hands down, is “Station 11,” by Emily St. John Mandel. Speculative fiction that begins with a devastating flu-like pandemic. Comfort reading – “Outlander.” A trip to the 18th Century with Claire and Jamie is the perfect escape from the present day. Also loved Kristen Kimball’s new book, “Good Husbandry” – her account of being a mom, wife, farmer, and businesswoman. All at the same time.

  2. I read the goldfinch, and so did my mom simultaneously. we had many midnight conversations of who would make the best characters in the movie. hope they make it! LOVED it.

    • Lisa says...

      I finally watched The Goldfinch last night. I can’t believe the book came out 5 years ago! I loved the book as well. Donna Tartt is amazing.

  3. I waited way too long on Unbroken – it’s unbelievable. I also just read Gone With the Wind, also incredible! :)

  4. I have yet to read it :). Thank you for the recommendation. Do you have a must read list I can refer to?

  5. im currently reading Maya Angelou’s autobiography set – Im upto the last book…SO good!

  6. Joanna, I recently read the most amazing story called A House in the Sky. I cannot stop thinking about this book. I have been wanting to post a review on my blog, but am still processing so much about it. This is not a light read, but a must read.

    • Linda says...

      Totally agree with you Dominique… should be made into a movie. I’m Canadian and so is the protagonist. Imagine going through that?

    • Linda says...

      An incredible, true story of survival that has stayed with me as well.

  7. In all honesty I read it a while ago, and I wasn’t totally enamoured, found it very predictable! Decent story but too obvious, looking forward to seeing the film though, just to see how Hollywood tackled it. I just read If I stay which was pretty decent, and I have fault in my stars on the shelf, seeing as everyone has read it I figured i should!

    Try The Book Thief, I love that and the Midnight Circus from last year is brilliant!

    Two Hearts One Roof

  8. I also loved The Rosie Project! I see it’s been mentioned quite a few times. Gone Girl has been on my list FOREVER. I’ll have to pick it up! One that blew my mind recently was Wool by Hugh Howey – I still think about it! But the fall season makes me wax nostalgic, so I might be re-reading some favorites: Jane Eyre, Anne of Green Gables series, Jane of Lantern Hill, maybe some Jane Austen…

  9. If you loved Gone Girl you should ABSOLUTELY read The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair. It is a thriller in the vein of Gone Girl, but with much better writing. It is absolutely gripping!

  10. I’ve just started Gone Girl, because I wanted to read it before watching the movie. But the one I read before this one was The Goldfinch, a powerful, wonderful book. I truly recommend it.

  11. Re-reading the Outlander series, from book one through book eight.

    Also in the queue: Kurt Vonnegut’s “While Mortals Sleep”, “How to Build a Girl” by Caitlin Moran and “The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking” by Oliver Burkeman.

  12. I’ve been loving JoJo Moyes, Me Before You and One Plus One were both great!! My reading method is to switch off from a Novel to a smarty book (parenting/self-help/etc). I also just finished Big Little Lies by Liane Moriaty. At this moment I’m reading The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabary. It’s a hard read because it’s different than any other parenting book I’ve Read. If think I’ll need to toggle between that and a Novel. I’m thinking The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

  13. Haha, so funny!! I am also reading “Gone Girl” at the moment. Bought it years ago when it first came out, just before our son was born. And for some reason I never managed to finish it, but restarted at least 10 times. Now I am determined to finish it, as I can’t possibly watch the movie before having read the book. Absolutely love the book!

  14. Dam! I do wish I’d read the book before watching the film.

  15. The Rosie Project is great book! And the squeal The Rosie Effect has just been released. They’re both lovely reads.

  16. I love these comments and have a huge new list of books to read! (Tip: I use pinterest to keep track of books to read…if you pin the amazon page, it automatically populates the book title and author in the description box.)

    I read “Gone Girl” and while I enjoyed reading it, I don’t love the story in the end.

    I devour anything by Atul Gawande (medicine nonfiction). I wish I had never read Haruki Murakami just so I could read him again for the first time….his writing is magical (and his translator is amazing…”Wild Sheep Chase” and “Windup Bird Chronicle” are my favorites). Neil Gaiman is a lovely author, and he also writes fabulous children’s books!

  17. I am finally getting around to Fifty Shades of Grey. I need to charge my kindle so that way I can read it in public without anyone seeing the cover and knowing that I am reading something so JUICY! I am about 1/3 of the way in, it is keeping me hooked so far.

  18. Paint the Wind by Cathy Cash Spellman. It will be the best book you ever read. Hands down.

  19. Loved Gone Girl! You have to pick up Me Before You next. You won’t be able to put it down.

  20. Recent Favorites
    (catching up on some classics)

    The Invention of Wings
    Jane Eyre
    East of Eden
    The Hiding Place

  21. LOVED Gone Girl – the book and the movie! Right now I’m reading The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest. It was a bit of a slow start but now it’s gotten goooood. Next up I’d like to read This Is Where I Leave You.

  22. I just discovered Joyce Maynard and have devoured three of her books: The Good Daughters, After Her, and Labor Day. She has a few more I am adding to the list. :) So far everything has been so, so good!

  23. On Sunday I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed! It was so awesome.. I was travelling so I could read it in all in one day, which was good because I don’t know how I would have been able to but it down!!

  24. Gone Girl will definitely go down as one of the greatest books ever. I read it over two nights, I couldn’t put it down. I’m currently reading “The Rosie Project” which I’m enjoying but finding it hard to get a few spare minutes to read at the moment!

  25. this is where i leave you by jonathan tropper was my fave book this past summer. i also read the good daughters by joyce maynard recently which i enjoyed.

  26. I was the EXACT same way! Thought I would hate it. But i love how twisted Nick and Amy both are (especially Amy though). It almost makes the whole thing really fun.

  27. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed!!! I also would look forward to the time I could read it during the day. A movie based on it is coming out in Dec with Reese Witherspoon

  28. I think everyone should read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – a bit of a silly name for just a lovely dear wonderful book.

  29. Liane Moriarty and Jojo Moyes – someone mentioned them – both are very good and you should check out their books as well!

  30. Well…not everyone loved Gone Girl – I tried it and absolutely hated it. Recently tried again, and just couldn’t get into it – I absolutely thought the main characters were vile and I wasn’t interested. So…I looked for a website with spoilers so I could find out how it ended. From the same site I also found out there are others who agree with me!

    I just started reading Not That Kind of Girl – love! And next up is Jodi Picoult’s newest – if you haven’t read her books, I highly recommend them.

  31. All The Light We Cannot See. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is so rich with detail – just superbly written. After The Book Thief, I didn’t feel like reading another WWII novel, but I’m so glad I did. One of the best books I’ve read in a very long time.

  32. Too funny, I just picked it up too!!! I thought I was the only one :)

  33. Hi! I am reading Fall of Giants by Ken Follet right now, and plan to read A country year by Sue Hubell next. My favorite book is Family Happiness by Laurie Colwin. Highly recommended :)

  34. So I have just spent a small fortune on Amazon while reading these comments, I love love love any book discussions :)

    I did not love Gone Girl, sure it was clever but I really struggle with books where the protagonist (both of them in this case) are completely unlikable and I cannot relate in any way.

    I second so many of the recommendations here. Jojo Moyes is a fantastic writer, I think of her like “chick lit with a twist” she chooses interesting themes, characters and settings.

    Barbara Kingsolver is my all time favourite author, Flight Behaviour and the Lacuna are magnificent books.

    If you like Gone Girl (or even if like me you don’t) and want a similar thriller genre Tana French has written five books that are great. Each book follows a new protagonist who was a supporting character in the previous novel, plus it’s set in Dublin.

  35. I’m an avid reader but one of the most beautiful book I’ve read this summer that I am going to read again in the next two weeks is : Forever Friday buy Timthy Lewis, I loved it cause the story is based on a ture love postcard collection!!!

  36. For those who want a bit of a lighter mystery, I’d recommend the short story collection Small Plates by Katherine Hall Page.

  37. Shantaram…Best Book Ever. They are making a
    movie next year so good to read now. P.S. I love your blog. You are the cutest. Aloha from Hawaii…Nicolle

  38. Thanks for the recommendation, Gone Girl goes on my reading list for winter!
    Books I loved and that stayed with me – “The Night Circus” like someone else has already mentioned, “Nightwoods” by Charles Frazier and “War Brides’ by Helen Bryant (I was really surprised how this story of five strong women in wartime England gripped me).
    Right now I am reading “Outlander” and I absolutely recommend the first two books, if you can handle the emotional trauma – these really pull you in in a very visceral way that that makes you feel and see and smell with the characters.
    Also, I never tire of recommending “Next of Kin” by Roger Fouts to anyone who will listen (an account of psychological experiments in the 1970’s where chimpanzee babies were adopted into human families). I read it ten years ago and to this day I cannot shake the impact it made on me.

  39. Like many I found the ending of Gone Girl a let down but still went to the movie & felt it was more effective onscreen where you could see the actor’s faces work through the emotions. I still think a much better take on a similar theme is The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison who died of cancer after writing this. Also in a somewhat similar theme is The Dinner by Herman Koch

  40. I have yet to choose a book for Fall, but I just received How to be Parisian Wherever You Are in the mail today, so I’m thinking there’s a good chance the book and I will get real comfy soon. A book I read over the Summer that I can’t get over is What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristen Newman. I bought it at an airport to get me through a few hour flight and I was thrilled with the content. After reading it, I excitedly found a friend to gift it to (one of my favorite things to do with lovely books). Afterward, I wished I had not only kept one for me, but had several more to keep handing out. I just loved her spirit. So, the book is currently sitting in my Amazon cart :)

  41. Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl. Also her newer novel, Night Film.
    Both feature intricate plotting that will keep you guessing til the end, and hold up well on rereading. Some great dry humor, too.

  42. I love when you ask for book recommendations! I typically read all the comments and add the books to my To Read List.

    I remember feeling the same way when I read Gone Girl. It’s all I would think about when I wasn’t reading.

    This year I absolutely loved Unbroken.
    I’m a sucker for WWII stories, and Louis Zamperini stole my heart. I look forward to watching the movie over the holidays.

  43. I plan on reading The House Girl, Bill Bryson ‘ s A Short History of Everything, and Longbourn which is Pride and Prejudice from the servants point of view. I like to sink my teeth into more serious reads in the fall. Currently reading Monuments Men. So far so good! I feel like I’m there.

  44. I read Gone Girl a year ago and was blown. away. I can’t wait to see the movie. It was gripping.

    My current bedside reads are The Glitter Plan, The Skinny Confidential and #GirlBoss. See a theme here?
    The Accidental Mama

  45. Gah – I meant “Tiny Beautiful Things”, by Cheryl Strayed (I called it “Dear Sugar”). Silly, silly me…

  46. I am a big reader, so I love reading the comments on these threads to see what others are reading. (Sadly I have read many recommendations already!) Two of the previous recommendations that I really want to echo are Jo Nesbo’s police detective series about Harry Hole and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. The latter was PHENOMENAL. I also read Euphoria last month and really loved it. Finally, I read Lonesome Dove this year. It’s enormous and sounds like it is going to be so boring. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I spent the last half of the novel crying because I loved all those cowboys so much.

  47. I just finished reading Cold Tangerines by Shauna Neiquist and it felt like I was reading your blog in the same way that you make all your readers feel like your dear friends sitting on your couch she has the same effect. Similar to the book Great With Child but instead of solely motherhood she captures friendship, loss, and her strengths and insecurities all in a non cheesy way.

  48. “How Green Was My Valley” by Richard Llewellyn. 1940. Going waaaay back and loving every moment.

  49. I, too, spent an incredibly enjoyable week of my life swirling within the grips of Gone Girl. Every chapter ended with a new twist or a new bit of information that completely threw me off. I finished it two weeks ago but haven’t stopped thinking about it – I’m planning on seeing the movie. Next up is Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline – my mother and sister both highly recommended it and the opening lines are poetic and gripping. I’m so glad Gone Girl captivated you as well!

  50. I loved Elizabeth Gilbert’s epic novel, the Signature of All Things. I’m going through some major transitions and the breadth of the novel was somehow reassuring.

  51. You would LOVE the Outlander series! I’m hooked. Has a bit of it all.

  52. Ahhh Gone Girl is so rediculously twisty and amazing, my mom sugested it way back when but I didn’t get around to reading it until Christmas last year, and it blew my mind. I’m excited about the movie. Right now I’m reading Going Om and I’m trying to read atonement.

  53. Me Before You. I could not put it down for 2 days. It made me laugh and bawl!

  54. SUCH a great book! The ending is PERFECT. I can’t wait to see the movie.

  55. I loved Station Eleven! Highly recommend All the Light We Cannot See, The Night Circus, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm, A Diacovery of Witches trilogy, Night Film, Five Days at Memorial. Ok ok…I get carried away!

  56. Lots of books I have enjoyed already posted here (“Where’d You Go, Bernadette” is my go-to suggestion for friends looking for a new book to read). Loved “Life After Life” by Kate Atkinson – so much to think about and work through.

    Next up for me is either “The Luminaries” or “We are all Completely Beside Ourselves”

  57. I’m reading Alan Cumming’s memoir “Not My Father’s Son” and love it. His voice is terrific. I wish I could be his friend.

    I also loved Courtney Maum’s novel “I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You.”

  58. Our book club read Gone Girl, and now we are going to watch the movie together. I read it voraciously, and then I was not happy. It clearly touched something inside me, since I stayed up in the wee hours with wee ones and losing precious sleep.

    Other reads recently:
    Unbroken, Hard Boiled Wonderland & the End of the World, Tell the Wolves I am Home.

  59. I also loved Gone Girl! For fiction, I’d suggest The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes. For non-fiction, the Unwinding by George Packer is amazing.

  60. Ive been looking for some good books to read when I go to Fiji and Gone Girl keeps coming up. Think I will have to read this one.

    Leonie ♥ IkonikBeauty

  61. I’m also late to the party as I just picked up Gone Girl after reading another great book, The Husband’s Secret. My book club just selected Sharp Objects so may have to hurry up and finish Gone Girl to get to that too!

  62. Hi! I LOVED Night Film by Marisha Pessl. It’s a great mystery based in NYC and has been named one of the best books of the year.

    For something lighter, I enjoyed The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer.