It’s time to settle into fall, our favorite season here in the land of books. Why is fall our favorite, you may ask. Because nothing beats reading a good book on a crisp, golden fall day, with a perfect breeze rustling the autumn leaves. But quite possibly better than that are the scents of fall. The smells of pumpkin, apple, cinnamon, cloves, and firewood are pleasant to our nostrils, and they also conjure the feeling of fall. So we had to pair some of our favorite books with the best scents of the fall to give you the perfect autumnal reading vibes.
There’s no scent more iconic than the smell of apple pie. It’s instantly recognizable and pleasant, and boy does it make you crave apple pie . . . or is that just us? The Cousins begins with three cousins who have the chance to meet their rich, reclusive grandmother on her private island. None of the cousins know each other, but what’s even more suspicious is that every single one of their parents think they should go, despite being estranged from their matriarch. The Cousins will pair perfectly with apple pie. And as you know, any good apple pie has layers of flavor, just like this read.
There’s a purifying element to both salt and water, which is why they’re so often used in science, cooking, witchcraft, and fantasy. The Magic Fish is a YA graphic novel that uses fairy tales as a vehicle for a young queer boy to come to terms with his identity and share his truth with his family. Fairy tales connect us all, and there’s something magical and cleansing about stories that help us come to terms with our reality.
Another classic fall scent, and one that is often associated with the morning commute. The smell of vanilla lattes brings back memories of studying at Starbucks for hours or getting to work early to knock out a special project. Vanilla lattes, like most coffee and coffee-adjacent drinks (we see you, hot chocolate crowd), are often our fuel when we need to get things done. Then there’s Admission, a fictional account (of sorts) of one of the most jaw-dropping college admission scandals this nation has ever seen. You’ll need a latte with an extra shot of espresso to accompany this page-turner.
Birchwood has an atmospheric scent to it. It brings to mind the mysterious nature of the woods. There’s an air of fantasy and maybe a hint of dread to this smell, which makes it the perfect companion to The Way Back by Gavriel Savit, a book perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman and Philip Pullman, this tale follows two teens through Far Country, a land of spirits and demons.
Apples are on this list twice? Yup, you betcha! The fruit can be used in so many things, and apple butter is one of its greatest iterations. Pair this with Coming Up for Air by Nicole B. Tyndall. Something about apples seems perfect for a coming-of-age tale. The story follows Hadley, a high school photographer who wants nothing more than to enjoy the rest of her school days in peace. But there’s no chance of that happening when the high school heart throb Braden makes a beeline for Hadley in what becomes a beautiful story of love, loss, the arts, and figuring out this zany thing called life. Apple anyone?
Teakwood has a musky, subtle scent. And the longer it burns, the more potent its scent becomes. Some would consider this a metaphor for danger; others just find the aroma pleasing. The murky danger of teakwood is what we’re pairing with Monsters Among Us, a chilling murder mystery by Monica Rodden. Catherine returns home from college after a night she’ll never forget—and not in a good way. As she begins to piece together details, she is assisted by a stranger in town. But what are his intentions? Is he here to really help, or is something more sinister going on?
Chocolate and pumpkin?! Oh, come on, can you really think of a better scent? If you love a superpowered woman protagonist and her fight to make the world just and fair, then Black Canary: Breaking Silence is the book for you!