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DC-Area Booksellers Recommend These Books for Your Fall Reading List

Curl up with fantasy romances, an essay collection, historical fiction, and more.

Old Town Books in Alexandria, Virginia. Photograph by Matt Carr.

Is there anything better than curling up with a good books on a crisp fall day? We asked DC-area booksellers about the reads they are excited to crack open this season, from fantasy romances to mathematic analyses. Here are their picks for your reading list.

Ally Kirkpatrick, owner of Old Town Books

This fall, Kirkpatrick is reading Louise Kennedy’s debut novel Trespasses. It’s a character driven book covering a young woman’s life in 1970s Belfast, with both political and personal turmoil.”I love how clearly Kennedy makes the place and the people real, urgent. You can get lost in this book,” says Kirkpatrick.

Jen McDivitt, director of branches at Politics and Prose

In honor of spooky season, McDivitt is reading contemporary fantasy the Luminaries by Susan Dennard. “I like to read witchy romances or fantasies this time of year,” says McDivitt. “They’re perfectly cozy and escapist.” On a mission to join an ancient order that guards her town, protagonist Winnie Wednesday enlists the help of bad boy (and her ex-best friend) Jay Friday. 

Zachary Green, manager at Second Story Books 

Anything by Seanan McGuire is a go-to for Green, but right now he’s picking up Seasonal Fears—an appropriate title for the fall transition. Green issues a warning: McGuire “reaches right down into your soul and destroys it, and then builds you back up again.” According to Green, the characters will make you laugh and cry at the same time. 

Rachel Holm, bookseller at Old Town Books

Holm is curling up with romance read Two Wrongs Make a Right by Chloe Liese. “[Liese is] the master of lyrical writing in romance novels, never shying away from big emotions of the happy and heart wrenching variety in equal measure,” says Holm. Inspired by Much Ado About Nothing, the two main characters decide to play a trick on their friends but end up finding love along the way. There’s neurodivergent representation in Liese’s books, including characters with autism and anxiety.

Anton Bogomazov, book buyer at Politics and Prose 

Bogomazov is excited for Manil Suri’s analytical read the Big Bang of Numbers. Suri—a Silver Spring-based novelist and mathematician—explores the idea that we can construct the universe using only math. Bogomazov also tries to reread Lord of the Rings every fall. “There’s just something about sitting down with a drink and a giant book,” he says. 

Jonny Teklit, employee at Lost City Books

Teklit is excited for Inciting Joy by Ross Gay, a collection of essays about how joy and sorrow are interlinked at all times. “I love poetry and love when poets branch into prose novels—it’s really cool,” says Teklit. The book comes out on October 25. 

Noell Sottile, volunteer bookseller at the Lantern 

Sottile is excited to travel again, and her reading list reflects that sentiment. Right now, she’s preparing for Australia by reading Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country. In the book, Bryson documents his findings on a journey Down Under, along with the people he met along the way. “I’m looking forward to going, but I’m not sure I’m going to get sunburned when I’m there,” says Sottile. 

Donna Wells, director of the children and teens department for Politics and Prose

Wells is reading Man Made Monsters, written by Andrea Rogers and illustrated by Jeff Edwards. The YA novel features werewolves, vampires, and zombies alongside deeper themes of dispossession as the story follows a Cherokee family across centuries. I typically shy away from horror, but this one has captured my attention,” says Wells. 

Joy A. Thornton, volunteer bookseller at the Lantern

As an art historian, Thornton is drawn to art-themed books. She’s looking forward to reading Sargent and Spain by Elaine Kilmurray, Richard Louis Ormond, and Sarah Cash. An exhibit based on the text is currently on display at the National Gallery of Art, complete with over 120 oil paintings, watercolors, and drawings. “The scholars who wrote the book gave a talk, and they are fabulous,” says Thornton, who describes the exhibit as a “humdinger.” 


Editorial Fellow

Keely recently graduated with her master’s in journalism from American University and has reported on local DC, national politics, and business. She has previously written for The Capitol Forum.