Katy Hays is a writer and adjunct art history professor. She holds an MA in art history from Williams College and pursued her PhD at UC Berkeley. She lives with her husband and dog, Queso, in Olympic Valley, California. The Cloisters is her first novel.
I’ve long been drawn to books where the world is all-encompassing. Not fantasy novels, per se—although I know that’s what so many readers find appealing about them—but novels where atmosphere and vibes reign supreme. Even better, in my opinion, is if those novels are also dark, delicious, and almost certainly brooding. There’s nothing I enjoy more than the world of a novel that seems impossible to escape—on or off the page, for better or worse. And there is no greater time I’d rather curl up with a book that has big vibes with a capital V than when the fall weather has begun—a crispness in the air makes a moody book all the more appealing!
Here are some of the books whose worlds have transported me in recent months, stories I heartily recommend as the leaves begin to turn color and the days grow shorter. They will take you from the mountains of Oaxaca to the lowlands of a Louisiana plantation, from a flooded, cut-off Venetian palazzo to a snowed-in Victorian mansion, but at every turn, these moody reads will delight, exhilarate, and surprise. I’m so excited to share them with you!