new books to read this fall + the handbags to carry them in


When I think about my vision of the perfect autumn day, it includes - among many other things - a walk through a beautiful garden or forest with a cup of hot tea and a cozy book to read outdoors on a crisp, sunny day. But of course, you’ve got to have something in which to carry all your books and there are so many gorgeous bags in the shops right now. My thinking is why not match the bag to the book?

When fall comes around, I like to break out my shearling bag (in the photo above) because it makes me feel cozy and an unintended side effect is that it matches so many of the fall book covers I have around. So without further ado, here’s eight books to read this fall and the bags to carry them in.

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout (October 15)
In the sequel to Strout’s massive hit Olive Kitteredge, titular character Olive struggles to understand herself and the people who populate her small Maine town, from a woman about to give birth to a nurse confessing a high school crush and more.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (September 24)
Cyril Conroy starts a real estate empire at the end of World War II which leads him to purchase The Dutch House, an estate near Philadelphia that sets in motion the undoing of his family. In this story, Ann Patchett weaves a dark fairytale spanning five generations.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (November 5)
From the author of The Night Circus - arguably one of the most autumnal novels there is - comes this story about a grad student in Vermont who discovers and becomes enthralled in a mysterious book and finds himself in a hidden underground library below the Earth and other magical worlds.

American Royals by Katharine McGee // (September 3)
This is a story set in a world where George Washington became the first monarch of the United States after the Revolutionary War rather than the first president. Now, his descendants are the US’s royal family and deal with all sorts of intriguing drama like you’d expect from any other good royal novel.

The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox // (September 17)
I adored Hester Fox’s 2018 book The Witch of Willow Hall, which makes me excited for her follow up, The Widow of Pale Harbor. This story is set in Maine in 1846, where a man, after the death of his wife, takes a a job as a minister in the remote village of Pale Harbor. He soon faces unsettling things in the town that are attributed to a spinster maid who is accused of being a witch. There’s a connection to Edgar Allan Poe in this book which makes it a no-brainer fall read.

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson // (September 17)
In this story, a teenage pregnancy ties together families from different classes. It begins in 2001 with Melody living with her grandparents in a Brooklyn brownstone and tells the story of Melody, her parents, and her grandparents and how they all got to a particular moment in time.

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore // (September 3)
I’m beyond excited for Evie Dunmore’s debut novel, set in 19th century England. Annabelle Archer, daughter of a poor country vicar, is accepted to study at Oxford where she is to lead the charge for the suffragette movement. She set outs to recruit a duke to join her cause and manages to fall for him even though he stands for everything she hates. They become locked in a battle in which Annabelle discovers what it takes to topple the duke.

A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier // (September 17)
Set in 1932 after the war in which she lost her brother and fiancé, Violet is referred to as a “surplus woman”, part of a generation ‘doomed to spinsterhood’. But, she moves to an English town where she joins a society of broderers who embroider kneelers for the town’s famous cathedral to carry on a centuries old tradition. She finds community there, but must brace herself as another war is on the horizon.