Welcome to Book Riot’s October 2021 Horoscopes and Book Recommendations! Fall is arguably the best time for reading. The leaves are changing, you’ve pulled out your cutest sweaters, and pumpkin spice lattes have made their glorious return. What new book should you read while living your best autumnal life? Let the planets be your guide! Find your October horoscope below, paired with a newly released book perfect for your sign.
But first, a bit of scary October news: Mercury is in retrograde through October 17. You know what that means! Trouble lies ahead in anything relating to communication. This can have wide-reaching implications, including tricky problems with travel plans, technological difficulties, and frustrating misunderstandings. As I always say, the best way to avoid Mercury retrograde chaos is staying home with a good book.
And with Halloween around the corner, you may be in search of a good costume. We all know literary costumes are the best way to dress up, so be sure to check out these bookish Halloween costume ideas for every sign in the zodiac.
Aries (March 21-April 19)
Fan Club by Erin Mayer (October 26, MIRA)
Aries is faced with some difficult decisions in October. At work, your determination and quick thinking will help you gain the respect of your colleagues. But in your personal life, your tendency to jump into action without considering the repercussions may cause tension with loved ones. Money trouble only makes things worse. Slow down before making big moves, especially expensive ones. Check out Fan Club by Erin Mayer. Bored with her dull day job, an unnamed millennial narrator grows increasingly obsessed with pop star Adriana Argento. When she gets invited to join a group of superfans, she is fascinated by their mystical celebrations of Adriana’s music. But soon, she finds herself deeply entrenched in the group’s dark secrets.
Taurus (April 20-May 20)
The Loneliest Americans by Jay Caspian Kang (October 12, Crown Publishing)
Don’t jump to conclusions, Taurus. You tend to follow your gut, but things are not what they seem during Mercury retrograde. Miscommunications abound, so if something seems off, take the time to investigate and clarify. You may butt heads with coworkers, family, and even romantic partners this month. Don’t burn any bridges, and make apologies as necessary in the second half of the month. You should read The Loneliest Americans by Jay Caspian Kang. In this memoir, Kang tracks his own family’s journey to the U.S. and their moves across the country alongside a history of Asian American immigration. It’s a personal and sweeping tale of identity, assimilation, and existential loneliness.
Gemini (May 21-June 20)
I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins (October 5, Riverhead)
Gemini must be decisive to succeed in October. Your ability to see things from different perspectives can be useful, but it can also lead to delayed decision making. This month, dragging your feet will only lead to missed opportunities. It’s a great time to learn something new, so focus on expanding your mind. With a little reflection, you can turn any mistake into a chance for personal growth. I recommend I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins. Struggling with postpartum depression, a writer leaves her husband and baby behind for a work trip to Reno. While there, she finds an escape from her domestic responsibilities, but also becomes haunted by the ghosts of her past while wandering the Mojave Desert.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Fight Night by Miriam Toews (October 5, Bloomsbury)
Talk it out, Cancer. You’ve got strong communication skills, especially when it comes to touchy subjects, and that’s a big help during Mercury retrograde. Your loved ones may be feeling vulnerable and sensitive; you’re the perfect shoulder for them to lean on. Money may be tight and travel is full of difficulties for you. But your ability to connect to others will help you get through October with a smile. Check out Fight Night by Miriam Toews. Swiv is a 9-year-old being raised by a pregnant single mom who’s also taking care of her own feisty, elderly mother. When Swiv is suspended from school, her grandmother takes on the task of teaching her. They give each other homework: Swiv must write a letter to her absent father, and her grandmother must write a letter to Swiv’s soon-to-be-born little sibling.
Leo (July 23-August 22)
Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau (October 26, Berkley Books)
October requires a little creative thinking from Leos. Mercury retrograde will throw many obstacles in your path. But if you stay flexible and keep an open mind, you can still make great progress. A promotion or new job opportunity may be in your future. Watch out for health trouble and financial difficulties. In love, you may not get what you want this month, but letting someone else take charge may be even more pleasing. Read Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau. Actor Ryan and baker Lindsay’s relationship starts with a bang — or maybe more of a crash — when Ryan knocks over a display of Lindsay’s donuts. Despite the rocky start, they hit it off. Then Ryan joins the cast of a celebrity baking show, Lindsay agrees to teach him to bake, and their connection keeps getting sweeter.
Virgo (August 23-September 22)
Our Way Back to Always by Nina Moreno (October 12, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Double-check your work, Virgo. You love a carefully crafted plan, but Mercury retrograde means tiny mistakes may grow into insurmountable problems. Luckily, your attention to detail can help you and your loved ones stay on track. Just remember that offering advice only helps if someone is willing to accept it. In romance, a fun-filled month is ahead for you, as long as you don’t dwell on worst case scenarios. I recommend Our Way Back to Always by Nina Moreno. Lou and Sam were best friends in middle school, but after a serenade gone wrong, they grew apart. Now seniors in high school, Lou is feeling the weight of her family’s expectations and Sam is grieving the death of his father. When Lou stumbles across their middle school bucket list and realizes they haven’t made a dent in it, they decide it’s not too late to conquer their goals together.
Libra (September 23-October 22)
A Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli (October 5, Berkley Books)
Get out of your head, Libra. October finds you in an unusually negative state of mind. Mercury retrograde makes it easy to become frustrated, offended, and petty. Seek out good vibes and spend time with people who lift you up. Your family may provide a safe haven from your troubles. In love, you’re a little prickly at the beginning of the month. But after a couple weeks, the right person can turn things around. Read A Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli. Data analyst Niki has always chosen the safe, responsible path. But then she’s laid off from her job and realizes her practicality might be holding her back. Deciding it’s time to be spontaneous, she books a last-minute flight to India for a friend’s wedding, celebrates Diwali, falls for a hot musician, and continues to see where her heart takes her.
Scorpio (October 23-November 21)
The Balance Tips by Joy Huang-Iris (October 5, Interlude Press)
Scorpio will feel misunderstood in October. That’s partially because of Mercury, but also because you so rarely let people into your head. Keeping secrets won’t benefit you this month; it will only lead to conflict with family and colleagues. Romance is passionate and intense, and new relationships may prove long-lasting. Just be sure to keep your career frustrations out of your love life. You should read The Balance Tips by Joy Huang-Iris. Fay Wu-Goodson is used to examining life from the outside, thanks to her videography work documenting the identity journey of New Yorkers. But when Fay’s Taiwanese father passes away and sets off a string of family conflicts, she must examine how her own identity as a queer, multiracial twentysomething has shaped her life and her relationships.
Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)
Cackle by Rachel Harrison (October 5, Berkley Books)
Don’t rock the boat, Sagittarius. You love to play devil’s advocate and have no problem ruffling feathers, but it won’t bring you the joy you expect this month. At work, you struggle to get on the same page as your team. But if you play nice, fun times with family and friends are ahead. Unexpected money may arrive in October. It’s also a fortuitous time for a new investment or starting a business. This month, read Cackle by Rachel Harrison. After a shocking breakup, Annie moves to a small town in upstate New York in search of a new life. She quickly falls in love with the new town — and with a charming new friend, Sophie. Sophie takes Annie under her wing and helps her find a fresh start. But Annie soon notices that everyone in town seems a bit afraid of Sophie. Could it be she’s more powerful than she seems?
Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
Shelf Life: Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller by Nadia Wassef (October 5, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Opportunity knocks for Capricorn in October. You’re always looking for a chance to move ahead, and this month is full of interesting offers. Be ready to jump if the right thing comes along — but make sure it’s right. Misunderstandings may cause trouble with family and romantic partners, particularly around your business decisions. Remember that no one can read your mind, no matter how much they love you. Check out Shelf Life by Nadia Wassef. In 2002, Wassef, her sister, and her friend teamed up to open a first-of-its-kind independent bookstore in Cairo. They had none of the training or resources to do so, but ten years later it was a huge success with a loyal customer base. In Shelf Life, Wassef examines her beloved but challenging business, the relationships that helped it thrive, and how it shaped her own life.
Aquarius (January 20-February 18)
Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside by Nick Offerman (October 12, Dutton Books)
Keep your eye on the prize, Aquarius. Trouble abounds in October, from your career to money to family drama. This can take a big toll on your mental health. Focus on the big picture of what change you hope to create, and channel your frustrations into charitable work. Travel may also prove restorative. If you can’t journey far from home, a small trip to a nearby park or local attraction can be beneficial too. I recommend Where the Deer and the Antelope Play by actor, comedian, and writer Nick Offerman. A series of outdoorsy trips — including a trailer trip across the country with his wife Megan Mullally — inspired Offerman to write about his journeys, his love for nature, and the importance of conservation. The result is a testament to the power of time spent outside and a call for action to protect the environment.
Pisces (February 19-March 20)
Monster in the Middle by Tiphanie Yanique (October 19, Riverhead)
Pisces has the shoulders everyone else leans on. You’re an emotional caretaker of your loved ones, and that’s especially necessary in October. Your career and finances are stagnant, so you’ve got plenty of time to support the people around you through their difficulties. In romance, you’re ready to try something new. Keeping an open mind can lead to big transformations in your love life. You should read Monster in the Middle by Tiphanie Yanique. Fly and Stela’s romance in modern day New York seems written in the stars. But the truth is that their love is shaped by generations of family lore and relationships. This novel travels back in time through the couples whose love, challenges, and traumas shaped Fly and Stela’s fate.