With road trips, music festivals, beach days, and barbecues growing smaller in the rearview, it feels like falls allows you some time to slow down and luxuriate in longer nights at home under a blanket, with a book and cup of tea in hand. And although it goes without saying that everyone's reading tastes are different, what I love most to read in the autumn months is a book that's going to make me think about myself and about the world around me. Plus, it should be easy to dive in and out of between baking, bubble baths, and catching up on all those new episodes of my favorite fall television. The solution? The introspective essay collection.
This fall there are tons of exciting, compelling, and super introspective essay collections coming out between September and November, and all of them dive into many important topics that are personal, political, and of course, a little bit of both. If you're looking to build a stack of perfect reads to lose yourself in before the holiday rush speeds things up at the end of November, these 11 essay collections, all by women, should be placed at the top of your reading list:
'Out Of The Woods: Seeing Nature in the Everyday' by Julia Corbett
In this collection, Julia Corbett examines the overlooked aspects of humans' relationships with nature through essays both personal and research-backed. There are essays on everything from insects to garbage, backyards, noise, open doors, animals, language, and more.
'Call Them By Their True Names' by Rebeca Solnit
Solnit's latest collection dissects what she calls "the war at home" — the epidemic of gun violence in America. She writes about police brutality, domestic violence, and the people pursuing power and profit at the point of a gun.
'Neverthless, We Persisted' by Various Authors
This powerful collection includes the voices of 48 activists, including Senator Amy Klobuchar, actress Alia Shawkat, actor Maulik Pancholy, and poet Azure Antoinette. Each writes about a time in their youth when they were held back because of their race, gender, or sexual identity but persisted anyway.
'Nobody Cares' by Anne T. Donahue (Sept. 18)
In her debut book, Anne T. Donahue shares her hard-won insights from screwing up, growing up, and trying to find her own path. It's an essay collection you're destined to underline furiously and return to again and again.
'American Like Me: Reflections On Life Between Cultures' by Various Authors (Sept. 25)
This collection, edited by America Ferrera — featuring essays by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Roxane Gay and many more — dives into the what it's like to grow up between cultures. Ranging from the heartfelt to the hilarious, their stories shine a light on a quintessentially American experience.
'What If This Were Enough?' by Heather Havrilesky (Oct. 2)
In her latest release, Havrilesky takes on the cultural forces that shape us. From the allure of materialism to our misunderstandings of romance and success, she deconstructs some of the most poisonous and misleading messages we ingest today, all the while suggesting new ways we might navigate our increasingly bewildering world.
'The Reckonings' by Lacy M. Johnson (Oct. 9)
In 2014, Lacy Johnson was giving a reading from The Other Side, her memoir of kidnapping and rape, when a woman asked her what she would like to happen to her rapist. This collection considers how our ideas about justice might be expanded beyond vengeance and retribution to include acts of compassion, patience, mercy, and grace.
'Everything's Trash, But It's Okay' by Phoebe Robinson (Oct. 16)
Robinson's second essay collection tackles a wide range of topics, including debt, body image, intersectional feminism, societal beauty standards, and toxic masculinity. And she does it all in the hilarious-meets-introspective voice that fans have come to know and love.
'This Will Only Hurt a Little' by Busy Philipps (Oct. 16)
Busy Philipps’s autobiographical book offers unfiltered and candid storytelling that follows her life from growing up in Scottsdale, Arizona and her painful and painfully funny teen years, to her life as a working actress, mother, and famous best friend.
'Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Out Stories, Discovering Ourselves' by Various Authors (Oct. 30)
This anthology, edited by Glory Edim, features essays by Jesymn Ward, Jaqueline Woodson, Morgan Jerkins and many more, all shining a light on their experiences with searching for themselves in literature, and how important it is that everyone — no matter their gender, race, religion, or abilities — can find themselves there.
'How to Be Alone: If You Want To, and Even If You Don't' by Lane Moore (Nov. 6)
At once a moving personal narrative and a guide for those looking to reframe their own histories, Moore's How to Be Alone shows you how to find solace in solitude. It's a must-read for anyone whose childhood still feels unresolved, who spends more time pretending to have friends online than feeling close to anyone in real life, and looks to their childhood heroines for inspiration.