October Country . . . that country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and mid-nights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain. . . .”

— Ray Bradbury

October is my favorite month of the year.

Certainly, some of that has to do with childhood preference. After all, my birthday falls in October.

But there is so much more to this time of year that I love. Cooler weather, the first dusting of snow. Back to school mania has softened, and rhythms begin to establish themselves in our lives once more.

The darker nights, the turning of the colors, and the mounting anticipation that builds from this point through the end of the year, as crisp fall leaves and apple cider give way to the spooky atmosphere of Halloween, then mellow into the season of appreciation and thankfulness.

The return inwards as we focus on home, hearth, and family through end of December, with Christmas and New Years creating a sense of coziness and togetherness, whatever your particular inspiration behind these holidays.

This time of year, my creative spirit is highly tuned. I’m seeking inspiration in colors, stories, sounds, and smells.

So it’s perhaps no surprise that I select my reading material with great care each October. I’m looking for books that give a certain sense of place, a spookiness, that allow me to question my own reality just a bit and wonder at the potential of magic and mystery.

A few previous reads that capture this spirit:

Harry Potter, of course. Many argue that the Prisoner of Azkaban is the best read for this time of year, but I think each book offers a unique and wonderful treasure trove of delights for this time of year. And how beautiful are these covers?

Something Red took me by surprise and is one of my top reads for this time of year. The atmosphere is decidedly eerie, and while the story was somewhat predictable, I enjoyed in nonetheless for the mood.
Of course, the masterful collection by Ray Bradbury himself. I’ve read this in bits and pieces each October, savoring the stories and enjoying it over time. Highly recommended.

So this year — what’s on my October Reading List?

Carnivalesque – because of the beautiful cover, because it’s about a carnival, because it’s about changelings and multiple worlds.

The Gentleman  – a poor poet conjures the devil. Hijinks will no doubt ensue.

The Man Who Spoke Snakish – A fantastical, mystical story of a young boy who can communicate with animals. One review from Le Magazine Littéraire said: “Imagine it is the end of the world, and Tolkien, Beckett, Mark Twain, and Miyazaki (with Icelandic sagas and Asterix comic books stuffed under their arms) have got together in a cabin to drink and tell stories around the last bonfire the world will ever see.”

The Raven’s Gift – Set in Alaska, a story of survival that’s been on my shelf for a few years, I’m excited to dig in this season.

The Witches –  I started this book last year in the fall, but set it aside after a few months. It is delightful and fascinating, but also very dense. I’ll be picking it back up this month and will enjoy the resolution.

Books On My Kindle:

The Scorpio Races – Maggie Stiefvater rarely disappoints when it comes to spooky settings. While this book famously starts on the 1st of November, I’ll be reading it in October.

The Near Witch – Victoria Schwab’s debut novel, it’s a ghost story and we all know I’ll read anything Schwab writes.

Halloween Party – It’s Agatha Chistie. It’s called Halloween Party. Do I need to say more?

Please note, any links to books are Affiliate Links that will point you to Powells, one of my favorite Indies selling both used and new books. Should you wish to make a purchase, clicking these links helps to support my writing.