This Fall Reading List has something for pretty much everyone. Love fiction? Check. Love history? Check. Biographies? Christian content? Inspirational? A great escape? Check. Check. Check. Check.
Fall is nearly here – at least based on the weather we’re having (huge changes from hot summery weather to cooler almost fall weather and back again) and the leaves on my neighbor’s tree already starting to change color. That means I am ready to hunker down and get cozy with a good book.
Fall Reading List 2020
These are the books I plan to read this autumn. As I go through and read these, I will come back and update this post with my reviews, so be sure to check in regularly.
I have to say, I’m pretty excited about this season’s selections. There are some brand-new books (at least to me) here but also, some that have been on my list for a while and I’m really anxious to read them.
Want more ideas? Check out my Summer Book Recommendations here!
Disclosure: Some of the links in the post below are affiliate links provided for your convenience. This means that if you purchase something through one of these links, I get a small commission at no added cost to you.
The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins
Books about fellow bookworms are always attractive to me! In the case of Sarah Dove, the protagonist of this book, books are living, breathing, speaking entities.
Although in this book, there is a touch of magic, I can relate to that kind of thinking. Books have always played an important part in my life and have, in some cases, been life-changing. I carry a piece of many books I’ve read with me forever.
In Sarah’s case, her gift allows her as the town librarian to place the perfect book in the hands of the perfect reader. When Grace Wheeler arrives in town, Sarah meets a challenge.
Grace wants little to do with the town or with Sarah. According to the books, however, she is the savior that the town of Dove Pond desperately needs.
Ultimately, Grace is matched with just the right book and she embraces the challenge of rescuing the town – her new beloved home.
The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reid
This is an older book, published in 2009, but one that is new to me. I’ve always been a history buff and so it’s of great interest to me.
This is the story of the Hemingses. Their ties to Thomas Jefferson were, for a very long time, hidden away in secret and systematically ignored, but recently, have come more into the forefront.
The book traces their roots from back in Virginia in the 1700s through the family’s dispersal after Jefferson’s death in 1826. As a political science major strongly interested in history, I’m interested to add this to my current understanding of American history.
Jo & Laurie by Margaret Stohl and Melissa De La Cruz
I was a HUGE fan of Little Women as a child. It was one of my favorite books. More than that, Jo, the writer, was the character I most closely identified with.
In this sequel, Jo has just published her first novel, a huge success. Fans are clamoring for more and Jo is feeling the pressure of trying to come up with a new story.
She heads to New York with her dear friend Laurie for a week of inspiration in the form of opera, museums, even a reading by Charles Dickens! Laurie, however, has romance on his mind.
Jo’s feelings for Laurie continue to grow, but she remains staunchly committed to independence. She turns down his marriage proposal and he goes off to university broken-hearted.
When he returns to their hometown of Concord with his new girlfriend, Jo is faced with the difficult choice of admitting her love for Laurie or potentially losing him forever.
100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons
A poignant story of hope and healing. At age 16, Tessa Dickinson, a poetry blogger, is in a car accident and she loses her eyesight.
Worried that her vision might not return, Tessa is understandably distraught. Her grandparents, trying to help restore some joy to Tessa’s life, hire Weston Ludovico as her typist so she can continue her blogging.
Weston is a 16 year old boy with bright eyes, an optimistic smile, and no legs. He thinks he can help her, but on one condition. No one can tell Tessa about his disability.
Tessa takes her anger out on Weston, but this doesn’t deter him. In fact, he’s extremely happy to be treated like everyone else, instead of being seen as a sob story.
As they grow closer, they each find it hard to imagine life without the other. The problem? Tessa still doesn’t know about Weston’s disability.
As it becomes clear that Tessa’s sight will return, Weston is faced with a heart-wrenching decision. Overcome his fear of her seeing him as he really is or leaving her life forever.
The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (and Their Muses) by Terri-Lynne DeFino
A former literary giant, Alfonse Carducci has arrived at the Bar Harbor Home for the Elderly to live out his remaining days. Gone are the days of parties, alcohol, lovers, and excitement. Or so he thinks.
Surrounded by fellow writers and the retirement home’s faithful staff, Alfonse is pulled into their lives and stories. In particular, he meets Cecibel. Alfonse is her favorite author, and she quickly becomes his muse, reigniting his passion for writing and overcoming his ongoing writer’s block.
Cecibel is living with the after-effects of a tragic accident. Her quiet existence, void of love is challenged by Alfonse’s writing and she is reawakened to the idea of love and forgiveness.
The Secrets of Love Story Bridge by Phaedra Patrick
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper also by Phaedra Patrick is one of my favorite books, so hearing this one described as containing her signature charm was all I needed to know. The bonus is that it’s about one of those bridges where people leave locks behind and those fascinate me.
I can only imagine the stories behind each of those locks. In this book, we are drawn into one of those stories as single father feels a connection to a woman who disappeared, leaving behind a message on one of those locks.
Teaming up with her sister, he searches for her, all the while learning to open up his heart again.
The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan
I don’t have a lot of connections to other women in my personal life, but I become quite engrossed in the stories focusing on them in books. This is one such book.
It’s early days of World War II. The women of Chilbury village have bonded together through their formation of the Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. Each has their own story and their own struggles on the homefront.
As they get to know each other, we are drawn into their stories and the secrets they hold within. These are matters of life and death, love and intrigue, but there is one underlying factor to it all – the strength of the women.
Next Year in Havana bu Chanel Cleeton
I first heard of this as one of the picks from Reese Witherspoon’s book club. I was thrilled when my friend Merry sent me a copy.
A Cuban-American woman takes a trip to Havana and begins a journey into her roots. We are taken between Miami in 2017 where Marisol has grown up hearing stories of her late grandmother Elisa and Havana in 1958 where Elisa grew up.
Elisa was the daughter of a sugar baron. She is 19 and living as part of Cuba’s high society, sheltered from the political unrest of the country. Eventually, she is forced to flee Cuba with her family.
Elisa’s last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in Cuba. Marisol explores the secrets of her family history while there. As she finds herself attracted to a man holding his own secrets, Marisol needs the lessons found in her grandmother’s past to navigate the situation and to embrace the true meaning of courage.
Set the Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes
I am so grateful for Graf-Martin Communications sending this one to me. The combination of Lucy Clairmont being a marine archaeologist and Dashel being a forensic astronomer has me fascinated from the get-go!
Following a tragedy, Lucy discovers a puzzle in her family home and Dashel is the one who can help her solve it. Leading back to events from 200 years earlier, they discover a story of friendship, love, war, betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption.
As Lucy and Dash explore this mystery, they find hope and healing along the way.
Love Lives Here by Amanda Jette Knox
This book was actually written by someone I know and I have been amazed at watching the events of her life unfold. Many of us talk about loving others unconditionally – Amanda’s story truly shows this in action.
When Amanda’s child came out as transgender, it was a shock, but Amanda and her spouse responded with unconditional love and support.
When Amanda’s spouse also came out as transgender, instead of turning her back on her marriage, Amanda searched for positive role models of marriages surviving transition.
Not finding any, Amanda and her family became those examples. Although not without its challenges, as time went on, the whole family recognized that each day they were happier and closer than ever before.
Love & Courage by Jagmeet Singh
In October 2017, Jagmeet Singh made history, becoming the first visible minority to lead one of the major federal political parties in Canada. While many celebrated this, there were some who greeted him with hatred.
Singh’s reaction? He calmly called for all Canadians to act with “love and courage” in the face of hate. This book, personal and heartfelt, shows his journey from childhood to the man he is today.
The lessons Singh learned were not always easy ones: hardship, addiction, feelings of not belonging. Through it all, he had the strength of his family behind him, especially that of his mother who taught him that “we are all one; we are all connected”.
Family, love, courage, and trying to make the world a better place – this is a story that resonates loudly with me. I can’t wait to read it.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
In true Glennon fashion, Untamed shows the importance of being brave. It’s the story of standing up, breaking past the barriers that society often places in the way, and becoming who we really are.
It speaks to that common scenario for many women – a life of trying to “be good”, to live up to others’ expectations, to people-pleasing and the willingness to put themselves – their true selves – aside for the sake of feeling loved.
Even if we haven’t lived a similar life, we probably all know someone who has.
Frontier Follies: Adventures in Marriage and Motherhood in the Middle of NowhereA Greater Story: My Rescue, Your Purpose, and Our Place in God’s PlanIt’s Okay Not to Be Okay: Moving Forward One Day at a TimeNotes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World
Frontier Follies by Ree Drummond
This book isn’t coming out until November so I’ve got it on pre-order. Since it’s from Ree Drummond, I can only imagine it’s going to be that joyful, even hilarious romp that I will need to brighten up those overcast days of mid-November.
Ree Drummond, or The Pioneer Woman as she is often known, is charming. Her optimism is positively contagious! I was so lucky to have met her several years ago at a blogging conference. She is just as sweet and personable as she seems on TV.
Side note: Have you caught any of her Pioneer Woman at Home episodes during the pandemic? Filmed in a casual style by her kids, they are so real and so much fun!
Anyway, this book promises to be a story of marriage, motherhood, and country life. Witty and fun as always, any time spent with Ree is a delight.
A Greater Story by Sam Collier
This is another book I was thrilled to receive from Graf-Martin Communications.
A book of hope, A Greater Story, shows that even when we may feel abandoned and rejected, God is always there doing something bigger and better than we might even have imagined.
Sam Collier’s story is one of obstacles, beginning with rejection. When he and his twin sister were born, his biological mother gave them up for adoption.
Despite this, Collier sees God hand working throughout his life, proving that in spite of all the obstacles in his way, God had a plan for him – a plan for something more.
God is always telling His greater story through our lives – our trials, our triumphs, and our relationships. Looking for the bigger picture in our own lives allows us to look with hope, instead of despair. I can’t wait to see how this plays out in Collier’s own story.
It’s Okay Not to Be Okay by Sheila Walsh
This is the book I needed right at this very moment in my life. I’m about halfway through, devouring chapter after chapter as if it were water for my parched soul.
This pandemic is not easy on anyone. For me, I was faced with a new anxiety I wasn’t used to dealing with. I have always felt calm in the face of trials.
So, with this situation, not only did I not feel “okay”, but I felt guilty about not feeling okay. It’s easy to feel like you’re letting other people down, letting yourself down, even letting God down when you struggle with anxiety.
This book has been such a comfort. I think one of the issues with my feelings during the pandemic has been that there have been others who try to make me feel as if I’m overreacting. I’ve seen a lot of judgement and a lot of shaming others for their feelings.
Some of those reactions have come from within myself! This book lets you accept and sit with your feelings. It shows you that these feelings are normal and that instead of trying to bury them, we need to meet them head on.
Best of all, Walsh shares simple, practical, actionable strategies that you can do each and every day to move forward through whatever struggles or pain you are living with.
Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider
Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous LoveStay: Discovering Grace, Freedom, and Wholeness Where You Never Imagined LookingFor the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible StandardsHome Made Lovely: Creating the Home You’ve Always Wanted
Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson
I started this book a while back – read the first chapter and then got busy and never seemed to go back to it. That’s not because I wasn’t interested. I just let life get in the way.
In fact, I have often thought about this book and picking it up again, and now is the time! It’s funny because in some ways, this is exactly what Own Your Life is all about.
As much as I want an intimate relationship with God, I often feel myself drifting away from him – especially when I need Him the most! It’s not that I stop believing or that I stop loving Him. I just let the day to day get in the way.
Clarkson shows you how to own your life, living each day with spiritual intention. She shows you how it IS through the day to day that we encounter God and how to use those moment-by-moment decisions to form a life story shining with God’s love.
Stay by Anjuli Paschall
I had never heard of this book until sent to me from Graf-Martin Communications but I have read the first chapter and I’m already hooked!
You might see a theme in some of the books I’m reading lately. I spent many years seeing God as something unattainable. I loved Him and wanted to please Him, but there was a disconnect.
Lately, I’ve been reading more and more about finding intimacy with God and I am realizing this is not something you can do while attempting to only show God your “good side”.
He wants to see it all. Every flaw. Every disappointment. It’s time to come to God with all the failures, the guilt, and the awkwardness along with the joy.
Paschall shares raw, authentic stories and invites the reader to stop running and bring their pain to God.
For the Love by Jen Hatmaker
I’m a huge Jen Hatmaker fan. She speaks from such a real place of life’s messiness.
In this book, she talks about how to deal with life’s biggest challenge – other people. Of course, in true Hatmaker fashion, it is done with humor and authenticity.
She recognizes the many struggles and heartbreaks that can come from our relationships. More than simply recognizing them, she shows us how to deal with them.
She challenges us to learn to engage with our culture’s controversial issues with a grace-first approach. She helps identify tools you already have to develop real-life friendships based on loving through the messiness.
And she explores how to escape the impossible standards we have set for ourselves by accepting the standard of “mostly good” instead of bearing the burden of having to always be right.
Home Made Lovely: Creating the Home You’ve Always Wanted by Shannon Acheson
I keep hearing people talking about this so I had to order it. It’s just being released on September 15th so I haven’t even received my copy yet, but I can’t wait.
I’m a homebody anyway, but the pandemic has meant that other than for 3 important appointments that had to be done in-person, I haven’t left my house in 6 months (to the day at the time of writing this). Home has become my safe haven, even more so now than ever.
Since we’re a family of high risk people, we will likely be here in quarantine for quite a bit longer, so making home a place of peace and comfort has moved to the top of my To Do list.
This book promises to turn your home into a place dedicated to God and suited for your family’s real life. I can’t wait!