How To

17 Of The Best Cottagecore Books

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Mara Franzen

Staff Writer

Mara (They/Them) has accidentally on purpose made their entire life about books and stories. Mara graduated with a B.A in creative writing and theatre and is halfway through an MFA in Creative writing. In addition to writing for Book Riot, Mara also has written for The Independent Book Review, Wargamer, and The Other Half, to name a few. They also work as a fiction editor with The Minison Project. Nearly all of their published articles can be found here.

If you have been fascinated by the cottagecore lifestyle, I have the perfect reading list for you! And for those of you who are new to cottagecore, don’t worry there’s something on this list for you too. So, before we get to the cottagecore books, let’s talk about what cottagecore is exactly.

Cottagecore Books: What You Need To know

Cottagecore is an aesthetic that has been popularized recently as COVID-19 has confined people to their homes and people have turned to new crafts and hobbies to ward off boredom. At its core (pardon the pun) cottagecore is an idealization of a simple, and sustainable lifestyle. In part, It’s a way to reduce your carbon footprint even without having a tiny house or homestead. Cottagecore champions DIYing whatever you might need. It’s a way to live simply, but prettily, as the aesthetic is filled with floral patterns, embroidery, and baked goods. Even if you live in the middle of a city, you can still adapt cottagecore into your home with these books, and guides!

Nonfiction Cottagecore Books

The Little Book of Cottagecore by Emily Kent

This is a book filled with how-to’s that are written delightfully simply, and with step-by-step instructions. In this book, you can learn everything from baking loaves of bread to cross-stitching to beekeeping. It really is an essential book for those just diving into what cottagecore is all about, or even those just looking for some new quarantine hobbies.

The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience, and Farming by Natasha Bowens

This is a book that dives more into the sociological inequalities that exists among farming communities. It talks about the disparity between white farmers and farmers of color. Written by a biracial farmer, this book is a brilliant and insightful read featuring stories from farmers everywhere. This is a book that everyone who wants to grow food should read.

cover image of 20,000 Secrets of Tea

20,000 Secrets of Tea by Victoria Zak

If you are someone who drinks tea on a daily schedule, or at least wishes they could this is the book for you! Filled with fascinating history, recipes, and ailment solutions, this is a perfect read for the cottagecore aesthetic.

World of Wonders: in praise of Fireflies, Whale sharks and other astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

A wonderful collection of essays, this book examines the natural world in all its beauty, and oddity. It celebrates the weird nature we love, teaches and asks questions about conservation, and endeavors to remind us of our place and impact on the world around us.

The Canning Kitchen by Amy Bronee

A how-to guide filled with everything you need to get started canning. Since much of cottagecore is DIY, and not letting things go to waste, this is a great way to put that into practice, and have a delicious result. A must-read for those of all levels of canning.

Sourdough by Sarah Owens, Photographed by Ngoc Minh Ngo

As a result of the coronavirus, baking bread — and in particular sourdough — is on the rise. Especially in the beginning of the pandemic where yeast was vanishing from shelves. So if you are looking to expand your sourdough prowess, or even see what all the hype is about, this cookbook is for you!

Braiding SweetGrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Part of cottagecore is looking at those who have come before us, and who have passed down their wisdom. This book is full of ideas, stories, and recipes that have been part of different indigenous cultures for centuries. An absolutely beautiful book to remember and honor those who did all of this first.

The Stranger in The Woods by Michael Finkel

A biography about the “Last True Hermit”. In 1986 Christopher Knight disappeared from his home. Years later it was discovered that he had been living on his own in the middle of the wilderness. He survived by stealing food, living by his wits, and finding ways to stay warm while living in his tent, even though the harsh Maine winters. While maybe not as “cozy” as the rest of the cottagecore aesthetic, this is still a remarkable story about making it work, and reusing whatever you have.

The Way Through the Woods by Long Litt Woon

A woman is grieving the death of her husband and tries to find solace wherever she can. Eventually, she does find it, in an extremely unlikely place, mushroom hunting. Through this, her memoir, Long Litt Woon, tells the story of her grief and loss, and the way something as simple as mushrooms helped her heal, and move on. This is a powerful testament to the reason cottagecore has become so popular — a reclamation of the simplicity of life.

cover image of Lace & Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens by Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Ross Gay

Lace & Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens by Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Ross Gay

A hard-to-find book, to be sure, but a beautiful one nonetheless. This book is a series of poems mailed back and forth from the gardens of Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Ross Gay. They talk about nature, the seasons, and their gardens. A simple, yet endearing collection of poems that is perfect for any CottageCore bookshelf.

Fiction Cottagecore Books

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

A book that has been a staple of many households for generations, it tells the story of young orphan Anne, who is sent to a brother and sister to work on their farm. The siblings had hoped for a strong boy to work the land, and instead get a strongheaded girl who they grow to love. A testament to the power of will and resourcefulness, this is a must-read.

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Generations of women in the Nomeolvides family have tended the gardens that enchant and amaze all who wander through them. However, these women are also cursed, and should they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. A beautiful mystery set to the backdrop of a miraculous garden, this is the perfect escapist book for anyone longing for their own garden one day.

Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

A charming story about the magic of dragons, tea, and friendship, this is the first in a series about loving oneself, forgiving past mistakes, and being in community with those you love. An adorable, cozy, and endearing read, this one isn’t just for the kids in your life, as there’s something we all can learn from.

the wind in the willows

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Set alongside the river Thames, we follow four friends, Badger, Ratty, Mr. Toad, and Mole, as they explore, eat, and sometimes even solve mysteries. A cozy children’s book that has enchanted readers for years, this is the perfect book to have on your cottagecore shelf.

Cover of Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet

Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg

Imagine if every time you baked something, you could fill it with whatever emotion you wanted, or even change their physical body altogether! That is exactly the power Marie has. However, when she is captured by Marauders who demand she make sinister goods, Marie realizes that her past may be different from what she knows. Complete with ghosts, fairytales, and delicious treats, this is a whirlwind of a story that will stay with you for a long time.

Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono, Translated by Emily Balistrieri

This is a sweeping story of a young girl named Kiki who wants to do good with her magic powers. Despite her intent, many are wary and even scared of her, and Kiki must do what she can to earn their trust. Accompanied by her adorable cat Jiji, Kiki learns that magic can be in simple things too, and sometimes friendship is magic in itself. A perfect blend of magic, and everyday life, this story is truly a cottagecore reading essential.

Pilu of the Woods by Mai Nguyen

When Willow decides to run away into the woods near her home, she soon encounters Pilu, a lost tree spirit. Willow promises that she will help Pilu get home, but there’s just one problem: Pilu isn’t ready. A story where finding, and making a home is at the core of its message, this is an adorable middle grade book about love, loss, and family.

Have you mastered the cottagecore lifestyle? Treat yourself to these bookish cottagecore gifts!