Your October Reading List

Emily Calkins of the King County Library System offers binge-able titles that will keep you engrossed through October. Find these digital titles and more at, or check out a hard copy with KCLS’ new Curbside to Go pickup service, now available at most KCLS libraries. Find one near you at

The Cold Millions by Jess Walter

Spokane author Jess Walter (Beautiful Ruins) returns his attention to the Northwest in this historical novel about brothers Gig and Rye Nolan. The brothers work temporary mining and logging jobs; Gig is a devoted member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Both are swept up in Spokane’s 1909 free speech fights. Walter capably wrangles a large cast, from sweet, earnest Rye to Del Dalveaux, a truly terrifying heavy, to Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, a pregnant IWW firebrand and a real historical figure. The historical setting is fully realized, but the novel’s themes of income inequality, police brutality, and free speech feel disconcertingly relevant for today.

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth

In the mood for something fun but creepy this month? This sly horror novel about a haunted girls’ school, a book about the school, and a movie based on the book fits the bill. Danforth gleefully and lovingly skewers celebrity culture and plays with horror tropes, all while introducing a cast of almost exclusively queer characters.

Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

For less glee and more dread, check out this evocative novella by Blackfeet author Graham Jones. It follows a 12-year-old boy who sees the shadow of his long-dead father in the doorway of his house late one night. It’s vivid, atmospheric, and deeply unsettling.

About Emily Calkins

Emily Calkins is the readers services program coordinator for KCLS, where she specializes in connecting readers with stories, authors, and each other. She also is the co-host of KCLS’ podcast, The Desk Set. As a reader, she likes flawed characters, atmospheric world-building, and anything with a slow-burn romance.

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