Books to read or buy as gifts: Here are 30 great choices to consider this fall

With back-to-school season in full swing and the weather outside delightfully crisp — you may feel like reading the day away (and then some) as soon as you possibly can. 

But what if you don’t know where to start?

And what if you’d rather buy a book for a friend or family member instead?

Here are 30 great book ideas to consider adding to your nightstand pile pronto or your gift list.

Thrilling reads

Blowback by James Patterson and Brendan DuBois (; $14.99)

It’s Patterson. It’s a thriller. 

Expect presidential mayhem, CIA struggles and plenty of cliffhangers. 

As fictional U.S. President Keegan Barrett enters the Oval Office after his success as director of the CIA, expect the unexpected in this September 2022 top-seller.


Desert Star: A Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch Novel by Michael Connelly (; $14.99)

Michael Connelly fans ought to mark their calendar for November 8, 2022, when the novelist releases his 37th book. 

Here, Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch look for a man who murdered an entire family, as the detectives step away from their own issues from the past and work together once again.

A Coin for the Ferryman by Megan Edwards (; $9.95) 

“Picture a beautiful young woman racing down the freeway in a classic red Corvette with a distrustful Julius Caesar riding shotgun … A wild ride from start to finish,” Booklist Magazine wrote of the novel.


In this March 2022 release, head back in time to the days of Caesar and then to a lab in California, in one heck of an adventure that includes romance and time travel.

A Dark Room in Glitter Ball City by David Dominé (; $11.99)

This true-crime novel focuses on a Louisville resident telling the story of a murder in an old mansion in the fabled Horse City. 

An editor’s pick on Amazon, this October 2021 release can be a great gift idea for the true-crime fans in your life.

One Woman’s War: A Novel of the Real Miss Moneypenny by Christine Wells (; $11.99)

New for Oct. 4, this fiction entry centers on World War II British Naval Intelligence Officer Victoire Bennett.

That’s the same person whom James Bond author Ian Fleming based Miss Moneypenny, Paddy Bennett, on real-life experience.

A Heart Full of Headstones by Ian Rankin (; $14.99) 

Published on Oct. 18, 2022, this book is said to be ideal for folks who love Michael Connelly and his famed Harry Bosch character. 

Here, Scottish writer Ian Rankin and his longtime series protagonist Inspector John Rebus teleport readers to Edinburgh streets where you’ll be immersed in a page-turner.

The Devil Takes You Home by Gabino Iglesias (; $14.99)

This supernatural thriller has already been named one of the best horror books of the year 

The thriller, according to Barnes & Noble, is about a father “desperate to salvage what’s left of his family” — even if it means robbing a Mexican cartel to pay for his four-year-old daughter’s leukemia treatments.

Fall reads: Get into the spooky spirit

Fairy Tale by Stephen King (; $18.49)

Stephen King’s latest novel is about a 17-year-old boy named Charlie Reade who meets a dog named Radar and her owner who live in a large house at the top of a hill. 

In this terrifying tale, Charlie inherits the keys to a parallel world where good and evil are at war, according to

The Lurkers by Laura El (; free)

If you’ve got young ones in your inner circle, ’tis the season for spooky stories. 

Visit the website and you’ll be treated to an audio narration with graphic illustrations and animated videos of a story that is described as melding the style of Tim Burton and Dr. Seuss.

Pocket Nature Series: Leaf Peeping by Erin Riley (; $7.99)

This meditation on the art of leaf-peeping gives readers insights on the science of leaves changing colors, advice on where to find ethereal autumnal foliage and thoughtful reflections on what to learn from the perennial, cyclical nature of leaves. 

Out now, this book comes complete with line drawings and a textured case.

House and home

Beautiful Houses by the Water by The Images Publishing Group (; $50) 

“Beautiful Houses by the Water” is exactly what it sounds like — images of mansions that are oceanfront, lakeside, riverside, bayside or by a pond. 

Out on Oct. 10, 2022, the book contains expert intel on creating such waterfront homes for yourself — paired with eye-catching photography.

When Birds Sing: My Journey from Trauma to Triumph by Arielle Spring (; $2.99)

If you’re in the mood for a moving memoir, Arielle Spring’s chronicle of surviving trauma and abuse to reach a place of hope and contentment may be just the thing. 

You may come away from this book grateful for the little things and big people in your life.

Celebrating Home: A Time for Every Season by James T. Farmer III (; $50) 

This August 2022 entertaining book may offer ideas for an upcoming event you’re hosting. 

Within the coffee table book are tablescapes and garden shots from author and interior designer James T. Farmer III’s two homes.

The Simply Happy Cookbook: 100-Plus Recipes to Take the Stress Out of Cooking by Steve Doocy and Kathy Doocy (Barnes & Noble; $24.99)

Steve and Kathy Doocy’s new cookbook is filled with 100-plus recipes to take the stress out of cooking. 

Nothing is complicated — including the Doocys’ delicious braided bacon meatloaf recipe.

Ranchland: Wagonhound by Anouk Masson Krantz (; $80)

Out on November 7, 2022, this photo book examines one of the country’s largest and most historic ranches, Wagonhound Creek in Douglas, Wyoming. 

You’ll be in awe of the work of the American rancher and wildlife alike. 

This makes an excellent gift for lovers of the outdoors.  

Modern Cabins: Return to the Wild by Dev Desai (; $40)

If you’re a cozy cabin enthusiast, this coffee table charmer, published on Sept. 28, 2022, may be for you. 

Get inspired by abodes worldwide from the comfort of your couch. 

You may very well close the book with some design ideas for your own space, too.

For history buffs

Hanged in Medicine Hat: Murders in a Nazi Prisoner-of-War Camp, and the Disturbing True Story of Canada’s Last Mass Execution by Nathan Greenfield (; $32.95)  

Historian Nathan Greenfield takes readers on a journey back to World War II when 12,000 Nazis were held in a prisoner-of-war camp at the edge of Medicine Hat, a remote city (population: 12,000) on the Canadian prairie.


G-MAN: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century by Beverly Gage (; $45)

Government-history buffs, this one is for you. 

This biography will hit shelves on November 22, 2022. It incorporates information from never-before-seen sources on the first director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

The book takes readers from J. Edgar Hoover’s 1895 birth in a modest Washington, D.C., civil service family to his ascent to advising eight U.S. presidents.

And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle by Jon Meacham (; $29.99)

Meacham, a Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer and no. 1 New York Times bestselling author, tells the life story of Abraham Lincoln, “charting how — and why — he confronted secession, threats to democracy, and the tragedy of slavery to expand the possibilities of America,” according to 


Lighter reads

Endless Summer: Stories by Elin Hilderbrand (; $14.99)

From a beach-read favorite, Elin Hilderbrand revisits some of her favorite characters in this collection of stories, anthologized in a single volume for the first time with both popular hits and never-before-seen works. 

“The Tailgate,” for example, brings to life a weekend in the classic Harvard-Yale football game.

In “The Matchmaker,” Nantucket resident Dabney Kimball is thrown for a loop when her first great love returns to the island. 

In “Summer of ’89,” readers become reacquainted with the Levin sisters, who reunite in a drama-filled jaunt to Nantucket.

Happy-Go-Lucky by David Sedaris (; $14.99)

This May 2022 short story collection from David Sedaris will have you laughing and maybe wiping a tear or two off your face, too. 

This pandemic-era oeuvre reminds us to find joy and jocularity in the mundane.

The Book of Séances: A Guide to Divination and Speaking to Spirits by Claire Goodchild (; $13.99)

Before Halloween, this part-history, part-guide on all things ll séances will be released. 

Along this mystical adventure, you’ll learn about spirit boards, tarot, how to protect yourself from evil spirits and more. 

Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett and Geoffrey O’Brien (; $60)

Do you love paging through quotes? Giving a toast or a speech in the near future? 

You’ll find words of eternal beauty (and humor) in this classic book of quotes, now featuring more than 3,00 new quotes and over 700 newly added authors such as Jonathan Franzen and Stan Lee. 

Get or gift a copy of this book on October 25, 2022. It’s now in its 19th edition, more than 160 years after its first publication in 1855.

The Year of the Puppy: How Dogs Become Themselves by Alexandra Horowitz (; $23.84)

For dog lovers: In this scientific memoir, dog researcher and Alexandra Horowitz charts her family dog Quid’s growth from her birth to her first birthday. 

She maintains the puppy’s point of view and hones in on how they develop a personality beginning from the moment they open their eyes. 

More nonfiction

TREE THIEVES: Crime and Survival in North America’s Woods by Lyndsie Bourgon (; $14.99)  

This June 2022 nonfiction work reveals a secret underbelly of the timber industry.

Readers will be schooled on tree poaching, rangerly duties and a hodgepodge group of northern California characters who call themselves “The Outlaws.” 

You’ll never look at a piece of paper or a table the same way.

Ritual: How Seemingly Senseless Acts Make Life Worth Living by Dimitris Xygalatas (; $14.99)

Dimitris Xygalatas, an anthropologist and cognitive scientist, is the author of a book about the ceremonial occasions people incorporate into their lives. 


Whether he’s unraveling the history of the handshake or the crowning of a king, Xygalates gives readers a deeper understanding.

The West Wing and Beyond What I Saw Inside the Presidency by Pete Souza (; $23.99)

“Go behind the scenes of the West Wing — and into the Oval Office, the Situation Room, aboard Air Force One, and beyond — in intimate detail with #1 bestselling author and presidential photographer Pete Souza,” according to 

Out on September 27, 2022, it’s been a no.1 best-seller on Amazon.

The Chaos Machine: The Inside Story of How Social Media Rewired Our Minds and Our World by Max Fisher (; $14.99)

Here, strap in for a ride with New York Times investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize finalist Max Fisher.

Readers will learn the inner workings of social media giants from executive interviews and first-hand reporting. 

The September 2022 debut book from Fisher paints an evocative — and sometimes terrifying — picture of Big Tech’s reaches from Silicon Valley to Sri Lanka.

MegaThreats: Ten Dangerous Trends That Imperil Our Future, And How to Survive Them by Nouriel Roubini (; $14.99)

Dubbed “Dr. Doom,” New York University Stern School of Business professor of economics Nouriel Roubini shares 10 key factors that loom ominously from government overspending to climate change in his October 18, 2022, publication.

Faith Still Moves Mountains: Miraculous Stories of the Healing Power of Prayer by Harris Faulkner (Barnes & Noble; $22.99)

Fox News anchor and author Harris Faulkner releases stories of “resilience, healing, rescue and protection” this November, according to HarperCollins Publishers. 

People testify how God and prayer got them through tough times — from the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, to COVID-19 and more in this collection of real-life accounts.

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