Fall is officially here, and as the weather gets colder, I love to cuddle up with a blanket, a cup of hot tea, and my Kindle.
Reading is definitely my favorite pastime, as well as a necessary part of my work as a writer and author. I tend to have one novel and one non-fiction book going at all times. There’s no question reading is fun and a great escape from the pressures of daily life.
But reading more has so many benefits, like developing your verbal skills, improving your memory, and stimulating your imagination. I credit my voracious love of books for my ability to write quickly and to have a mental storehouse of ideas and information available when I need it.
If you’re reading this post, I guess I don’t need to talk you into the joys and benefits of reading books. So let me get into my Fall book recommendations. These are all books I’ve read (or written) personally that I know you’ll enjoy in a variety of genres.
So here are 21 good books to read for Fall:
Why is it Scandinavian authors have such a great skill with mysteries? This is a real page-turner with interesting, real characters whose lives you can relate to. It’s the story of Erica Falck, a writer who returns to her remote hometown of Fjällbacka, Sweden, after her parents’ deaths only to encounter another tragedy: the suicide of her childhood best friend, Alex. Erica discovers Alex’s body in a bathtub of frozen water with her wrists slashed. She teams up with the local police detective, who becomes her romantic interest, to discover what looks like a suicide isn’t also what it appears. Lots of twists and turns with various town folk who have their own stories to tell, all somehow connected to the death of Alex. I couldn’t put this one down.
This NYTimes Bestseller and award winning novel tells the story of three anthropologists in the 1930’s who are involved in a love triangle while studying the native tribes in New Guinea. It’s loosely based on the life of Margaret Mead — but before you scroll away, let me tell you this is a wonderful book. The characters are so compelling and fully-developed, and the work they do with the tribes is incredibly fascinating and startling. The love story has the feel of an F. Scott Fitzgerald tale of pain, passion, and mystery. One editorial review says, “”With Euphoria, Lily King gives us a searing and absolutely mesmerizing glimpse into 1930’s New Guinea, a world as savage and fascinating as Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.”
The author, Elizabeth Gilbert, is the author of NYTimes bestseller, Eat, Pray, Love. In this book, her focus is on creativity and the creative process. She provides powerful insights into the nature of inspiration, and shows us how to face our fears and self-doubts about our own creativity. She also provides practical ideas on the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. She shows you how to draw out your own truth to use that as potent material for your creative life. A must-read for any artist, creative, or anyone looking to expand the mystery and imagination in their lives.
Another great mystery (yes, I love mysteries) about a suburban couple, Sarah and Johnny, whose lives are turned upside down after a fire kills the family next door. Sarah rescues the neighbors young daughter, but is unable to save the child’s parents. The tragedy unravels a spool of deceptions, both by her husband, and by several of the inhabitants of their small community. If you enjoyed Gone Girl or The Husband’s Secret, this is your next book.
Loving, intimate relationships are build on strong communication, mutual respect, compassion, and understanding. As a coach, I’ve learned the best way to understand your intimate partner, and yourself, is through powerful questioning. In this book, I have provide 201 relationship coaching questions for couples to ask one another. Each question has additional ideas and information for deeper understanding and awareness, as well as dealing with potential conflict and wounds. This is a handbook for building a strong, connected, life-long partnership with the one you love.
Whoa, this book had me staying up way past my bedtime. It felt so eerily realistic that I felt like I was part of the story. A pandemic flu has pretty much wiped out modern civilization, except for the few who managed to escape infection. The story move back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic. It follows a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, trying to survive and come to terms with life after electricity, cell phones, and modern transportation. It is an apocalyptic story that shows us the power of survival, love, and the darker sides of human nature. Amazing book.
If you are hoping to develop good habits, reach big goals, or simply get something accomplish, you definitely need the power of accountability to make it happen. Author Steve Scott, who has written dozens of books on habits and productivity, tells you everything you need to know about using public accountability to take huge action. He calls accountability, “the secret weapon of millionaires,” and backs up this statement with real, hard facts and examples. With all of the distractions demanding our attention, it’s great to have a proven strategy like this to keep us on track and help us reach the finish line.
The author’s name, Oriah Mountain Dreamer, might make you think this is a “woo woo” book from mountain mystic. The truth is, this is one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read, based on one of the most beautiful poems even written. Oriah expands her iconic poem by the same name and, as the book description says, “invites us to embrace the varieties of human experience, from desire and commitment to sorrow and betrayal, and to open ourselves to all that is possible.” The language is so beautiful, it will melt your heart. You’ll need a highlighter in hand, because there are so many paragraphs you’ll want to read again and again. A book to keep on your bedside table.
I love Alice Hoffman’s lyrical, rhapsodic writing style. She blew me away with The Dovekeepers, and this book is no different. It’s a forbidden love story set on the tropical island of St. Thomas about the extraordinary woman who gave birth to painter Camille Pissarro—the Father of Impressionism. To save her father’s business,she is married off to a widower with three children. When her husband dies unexpectedly and his handsome, much younger nephew, Frédérick, arrives from France to settle the estate, Rachel takes charge of her own life with a passionate love affair that sparks a scandal that affects all of her family, including her favorite son, who will become one of the greatest artists of France.
As an introvert myself, I’m always fascinated with books offering strategies for “introvert survival.” The author invites us to embrace our natural personality trait and learn how to respect traits we may have been ashamed of and reframe them as assets. The author, an introvert herself, is the blogger behind Psychology Today’s “The Introvert’s Corner.” As one reviewer says, she “urges introverts to embrace their need for solitude, reflection, and regeneration with no apologies.” In a world full of extraverts, it’s nice to have permission to be yourself and enjoy your introverted qualities.
Many introverts, and even some extraverts, may have a personality trait that they don’t understand or may even dislike — the trait of high sensitivity. Highly sensitive people are often misunderstood, seen as weak, and pushed aside by less sensitive people. But high sensitivity is a perfectly normal trait held by 15-20% of the population. As an HSP (highly sensitive person) myself, I wrote this book to give other HSPs a better sense of awareness around their unique gifts (yes, they are gifts not weaknesses), as well as strategies for managing in a world that is less than sensitive. Understanding your particular needs and how to protect yourself from feelings of overwhelm, heightened senses, and extreme empathy, will empower you to thrive in ways you never anticipated.
I just finished this thriller about veteran investigative journalist, Scott McGrath, who is investigating the suicide of a young woman whose father, Stanislas Cordova, is the famous director of cult horror films. For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty appears to be more than just a coincidence. Although a lot has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the director himself. Seeking revenge for Cordova’s attempts to ruin him, McGrath sets out to discover the truth about the suicide, only to get drawn into Cordova’s creepy world. Yet another page turner I couldn’t put down.
When I started running regularly a few years ago, I was looking for a cure for my wandering mind and body pain that accompanied me on my runs. I had a hard time enjoying the beauty of nature around me and the “runner’s high,” because I was so focused on my discomfort. When I discovered Chi Running, it was like the answer to a prayer. ChiRunning employs the deep power reserves in the core muscles, an approach found in disciplines such as yoga, Pilates, and T’ai Chi. It teaches you how to get aligned while running, engage your core, focus your mind, and relax your body. It’s totally changed the way I run.
Ron Rash writes some of the most beautiful fiction I’ve ever read. Many of his novels, including this one, take place very close to my new hometown of Asheville, North Carolina. If you saw the not-so-good movie version of this book, please don’t let it dissuade you from reading this beautifully compelling story about George and Serena Pemberton who travel from Boston to the North Carolina mountains in 1929, where they plan to create a timber empire. Serena proves herself to be one tough cookie, overseeing the lumber crews and hunting rattlesnakes, all the while manipulating her new husband to commit crimes and betray friends. The shocking ending reveals how much power Serena has won for herself, even in the face of the strange love she and George share. An amazing, unique story.
Another NYTimes bestseller and award-winning book, Ordinary Grace tells the story from the perspective of Frank Drum, who writes as a middle-age man reflecting on a summer in 1961 in New Bremen, Minnesota. He was 13 as the Minnesota Twins were in their first season; and 5 deaths shake up his family and their community in the Minnesota River valley. This young boy finds himself pushed into an adult world of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal. This is a coming-of-age story where Frank must demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years. Beautiful writing and a grace-filled story.
If you’re interested in writing or you like Stephen King, you’ll love this book. It is part memoir, part master class teaching you his view of the writer’s craft and the tools you need to stay the course. I love King’s writing style in his novel, and he transitions seamlessly to a non-fiction manual grounded in personal storytelling. His keen imagination clearly took root in his childhood experiences, and he shares the full “tool kit” for his discipline as a writer and how you can apply it to your writing efforts. He gives you a reading list and exercises to round out your writing education from a master.
The demands of everyday life, your hectic schedule, those constant feelings of overwhelm and anxiety make you feel out-of-control and exhausted. How can you jump off the hamster wheel to feel peaceful and free from anxiety symptoms? I wrote this book to give anyone living in the modern world a way to find peace of mind through simple, daily mindfulness techniques. You don’t have to meditate for hours or disengage from the world in order to find inner peace. Your daily activities are filled with opportunities for mindfulness. This is a handbook for winning back control of your thoughts and emotions so you can release anxiety and enjoy a happier, healthier, more conscious life.
I read this book a long time ago but recently read it again, and it was as fresh and frightening as it was the first time. It’s the story of three children, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus, and Dave Boyle who grew up together in the same neighborhood. There lives change when one of the three is abducted, but lives after a terrible ordeal. It changes the lives of the boys forever and ends their friendship. Years later Sean Devine is a homicide detective whose daughter is brutally murdered. His childhood friends re-enter his life again, forcing them to reenter the past nightmare to untangle the murder case that appears to point the finger in the direction of one of them. It is a heart-pounding psychological thriller, and one of the few books that was turned into a really good movie.
After reading The Paris Wife about Hadley Hemingway (Hemingway’s first wife), I had to read Paula McClain’s next novel about Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, who as Isak Dinesen wrote the classic memoir Out of Africa. Beryl was raised by her father in Kenya and has an unconventional upbringing that allows her to be bold and adventurous in a time when ladies weren’t meant to be bold. She joins “a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules” and falls in love with Hatton and through him discovers her true passion, to fly airplanes. An amazing story about an extraordinary woman. If you love historical fiction, this is your book.
The holidays are barreling toward us, and your house is about to be bombarded with more stuff. Are you ready? I find one of the best times to clear clutter is right before Christmas when decorations, presents, extra food, and extraneous stuff start entering my home. I wrote this book with co-author Steve Scott help you tackle clutter in your home in a way that doesn’t feel overwhelming. Using a 10-minute a day formula, we tour your home, giving you specific actions to clean, declutter, and organize every space. Do yourself a favor in the calm before the holiday storm and get rid of stuff you don’t need. You may have to do it again in the New Year!
This is a beautiful, evocative, sexy thriller that takes place just after WWi and is full to the brim with interesting characters. It’s the story of the widowed Mrs. Wray and her 26-year-old daughter, Frances, who take in tenants, the “paying guests” who turned the Wray’s world around. Says the Amazon review, hold on to your hat, because “by the novel’s conclusion, you have gone from straight-up period piece, to love story, to edge-of-your-seat crime thriller.” Sarah Waters is simply a masterful storyteller who has been short-listed for the Man Booker Prize three times, and deservedly so if this book is evidence is her talent. You will get lost in this story.
This book has been around for a few years, but I only stumbled on to it recently. It’s one of those books that changes your perspective on life and often generates profound “aha” moments for readers. It’s a blend of autobiography and narrative fiction, telling the author’s story as a college student and world-champion athlete, when he meets an unlikely guru at a gas station who calls himself Socrates. Guided by this eccentric old warrior, “Dan begins a spiritual odyssey into realms of light and shadow, romance and mystery, toward a final confrontation that will deliver or destroy him.” This book should be on every spiritual and personal growth seekers must-read list.
Do you love reading as much as I do? Please add one or two of your favorite books to my list and share the reading love!