9 Fall Must-Reads From the Food52 Team (Not a Cookbook in Sight!)

Cozy blanket and armchair not included.

September 12, 2018
Photo by James Ransom

There's a lot to like about autumn. It's the season of changing leaves, simmering vats of spiced cider, and the sort of crisp outdoor temperatures that make you want to curl up in an armchair, next to a fire, with a really good book. (Preferably wearing that super soft, striped sweater you've been sitting on since you found it on sale in late March, if you're anything like me—go on, break it out, we'll wait.)

If you're still looking for some inspiration on the book front, you're in luck: We've polled our team for their must-reads this fall (no cookbooks allowed!). Scroll on for the picks, and let us know in the comments which books you're most excited to get cozy with this fall.

Brinda Ayer, Books & Special Projects Editor

My Struggle: Book Six by Karl Ove Knausgaard. I've followed this epic, six-volume autobiographical novel from the very first installment (can't quite believe that was about 1,500 pages ago!), and have been continually captivated by Knausgaard's deep, honest exploration of his own consciousness, his relationships with family, friends, and contemporaries, the difficulties and joys of parenthood, his personal and professional triumphs and failings, and so much more. It's been a long time coming, and I'm both glad and sad for the saga to come to a close.

Katie Macdonald, Assistant Editor

I'm looking forward to reading Less by Andrew Sean Greer. It's about a failed novelist named Arthur Less, who, after receiving an invitation to his ex-boyfriend's wedding, leaves on an international journey to escape his problems. On the way, he reinvents himself, connects with his past, and (naturally) falls in love. This book won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize and I've been waiting for it for months at my library.

Trevor Adams, Merchandising Coordinator

Boy Erased by Garrard Conley. Such an intriguing memoir of a man who went to gay conversion therapy at the insistence of his Baptist parents. His journey is oftentimes horrifying, but his raw humor shines through in the darkest moments. He interlaces the narrative through moments in time weaving a well-written story. A definite must-read!

Joanna Sciarrino, Managing Editor

Nothing left me more confused (and frustrated and delighted) than the last season of Twin Peaks. After I finish The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje, I'm hoping Mark Frost's Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier can help answer at least some of the questions I've been sitting on for the past year.

Eric Kim, Senior Editor

I’ve preordered Haruki Murakami’s latest novel, Killing Commendatore, out in October. People keep calling it an homage to The Great Gatsby, and Fitzgerald was one of my favorites. I imagine this is in reference to the subject matter rather than to the style and tone of the writing, as Murakami and Fitzgerald couldn’t be more different. But as a history fan of the early 20th century in America (especially its art and literature!) I think I’ll enjoy this on the way to wherever I decide to travel this fall.

Ella Quittner, Food Writer & Recipe Developer

Next up on my reading list is Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart, a novel about a New York City hedge fund manager packing up and leaving his old life behind. I loved Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story and have been eagerly awaiting this release.

Max McDonough, Office Coordinator

I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood by Tiana Clark. I’m obsessed with this big, bounding, heartbreaking, and heartening first book of poems from Clark. Inside: elegies for Walter Scott, Kalief Browder, an epic with the ghost of Nina Simone, a poem riffing off a Rihanna music video, even. Check out "Nashville," which came out in the New Yorker last year, and go see her perform live if you can.

Kaitlin Bray, Director of Social Media

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover. This is the kind of book strangers will stop you on the subway to talk about. The memoir is so mind-boggling, there's a very good chance you'll be overcome with the need to talk about it, too. It follows the remarkable story (an understatement) of the narrator from growing up in rural Idaho with her "survivalist" family to the halls of Cambridge University. You will gasp, you will feel sick to your stomach, and you will be amazed by her strength and grit. 10/10 recommend curling up with on a chilly fall day.

Courtney Knight, Customer Care Specialist

11/22/63 by Stephen King. This is a King novel for people who normally shy away from King because they don't like the horror genre. A very intense tale involving time travel, a past resisting change, and the tangled webs one can weave while operating from the best of intentions, it's definitely a must-read.

Something to Keep You Warm While you Read

What are you most looking forward to reading this fall? Let us know in the comments!

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Ella Quittner

Written by: Ella Quittner

Ella Quittner is a contributing writer and the Absolute Best Tests columnist at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.


S. R. October 2, 2018
Just the bible. When I finish it, I'll start again at the beginning. Again.
Carolyn October 2, 2018
Undeniably a great story book with profound insights - happily it applies to at least hundreds (maybe thousands?) other choices!
Jennifer September 24, 2018
New books by Tana French! Kate Atkinson! Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowlings)! Should keep me going until Halloween...
Jenée L. September 17, 2018
Wow. Really? I clicked on the article thinking I’d get some recommendations for food writing. This seems like a missed opportunity...
Carolyn September 16, 2018
Love this list but had to abandon as the page jumps every few seconds, wouldn't you know it, it happened in the middle of writing this! Can't bear to repeatedly scroll back down. Is there a way to avoid this?
Sherry E. September 17, 2018
yes same thing happened to me-
mela September 16, 2018
'Go, Went, Gone' by Jenny Erpenbeck. A remarkable story set in Germany today, with refugees everywhere. It's not 'soppy', but has moved every single woman I know. It'll change you.
Sherry E. September 16, 2018
Lee September 14, 2018
I second 11/22/63
cmhow September 12, 2018
I'm looking forward to The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullaly!! I love them and can't read this book by them!
Natalie September 12, 2018
Not much love for women writers, too bad.
Alexa M. September 12, 2018
was thinking the same! Here are some books written by women I've been wanting to read:
Our House by Louise Candlish, Improvement by Joan Silber, The Power by Naomi Alderman, Large Animals by Jess Arndt, Priestdaddy: A Memoir by Patricia Lockwood, Tender by Belinda McKeon, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, and Barren Island by Carol Zoref.
Natalie September 12, 2018
The Power is wonderful. 5 stars. Some of my recent favorites have been Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, The Third Hotel by Laura van den Berg, Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover, Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lilian Li, From the Land of the Moon by Milena Agus, Circe by Madeline Miller, and Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.
Monica September 12, 2018
The Power! I read about this book a while back then forgot to get it. Thanks!
Eric K. September 12, 2018
I want to read the new Barbara Kingsolver, Unsheltered. The Poisonwood Bible bible in the early 2000s.