Stories of solitude, adventure, freedom, and appreciation are the ones that stick with you and change you.
Whether you are part of the cottagecore community or not, these novels are for anyone that wants to be magically immersed in another world.
The following books not only tell wholesome stories but are rather appeals to discover life and nature in their truest forms.
They are about finding your true self in spite of society or norms and taking the necessary steps to get there.
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
“Little Women follows the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy— from childhood to womanhood and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters.”
Love, peace, war, death, and sisterhood are all themes that are carried through Little Women during the rigid hierarchies of the 19th century where family responsibility rivals personal ambitions.
Although it was published over 150 years ago, people of every age and gender still enjoy this timeless masterpiece.
The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
“When orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle’s great house on the Yorkshire Moors, she finds it full of secrets.
The gardens surrounding the large property are Mary’s only escape. Then, Mary discovers a secret garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key.
With the help of two unexpected companions, Mary discovers a way in—and becomes determined to bring the garden back to life.”
If you have enjoyed reading A Little Princess, you will definitely come to love this book. A beautiful novel packed with essential messages, emotion, friendship, and most importantly magic.
Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
“On a drowsy afternoon by a riverbank, a young and distracted Alice follows a rabbit into a fantastical underground world that grows curiouser and curiouser.
Dared, insulted, amused, and threatened by a succession of anthropomorphic creatures, the indomitable Alice falls deeper into a swirl of the imagination where logic has no place.”
Alice in Wonderland is one of the most popular children’s stories out there that draws in adults every year to reread this fantastic fantasy.
It’s not only about figments of the wondrous mind but also about finding yourself in your own madness. A lesson that is only perceived by an adult eye reading this bedtime storybook.
Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery
“Anne, an eleven-year-old orphan, is sent by mistake to live with a lonely, middle-aged brother and sister on a Prince Edward Island farm and proceeds to make an indelible impression on everyone around her.”
Saying that Anne is a special girl is clearly an underestimation.
You have probably never met someone quite like her and by following her story with all the mistakes she makes and the lessons she learns, you will come to love her even more.
If you are longing to be filled with a deep appreciation for life, this book will touch your heart with its beautiful characters and delightful imagination.
My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George
“Terribly unhappy in his family’s crowded New York City apartment, Sam Gribley runs away to the solitude-and danger-of the Catskill Mountains, where he finds a side of himself he never knew.”
A story filled with adventure, tranquility, survival, and freedom. As a cottagecore enthusiast, you can deeply connect with his desire to run out into the woods and live in a hollowed-out tree to just immerse in nature.
This novel will redefine your connection to nature and what challenges such a life can bring. Sam not only survives but thrives in the wilderness and finds friends amongst animals to create his own unique society.
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
“The pride of high-ranking Mr Darcy and the prejudice of middle-class Elizabeth Bennet conduct an absorbing dance through the rigid social hierarchies of early-nineteenth-century England, with the passion of the two unlikely lovers growing as their union seems ever more improbable.”
I don’t think of Pride and Prejudice as a classic but the classic that everyone should have read at least once in their lifetime. Jane Austen isn’t one of the world’s foremost novelists by accident.
Her novels often critique the dependence of women on marriage to achieve a certain social standard. Long solitary walks, family dinners, and evenings spent in quiet entertainment are really at the heart of Jane Austen’s stories.
Other books by Jane Austen that fit the cottagecore vibe are Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Northanger Abbey.
The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
“It’s an epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads—driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California.”
A book that I just added to my bookshelf with a story of the real farm life 90 years ago. It’s filled with the horrors of the Great Depression and losing everything you have in the eye of capitalism and injustice.
The Stranger in the Woods, by Michael Finkel
“Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it.
This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality—not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own. “
This story about Christopher Thomas Knight is fantastic, unique, and real. He is not some kind of imaginative hero but a real person that committed a lot of crimes.
You don’t have to agree with him or his world view but it’s worth just listening to his poetic way of describing his radical way of living and the challenges that came with it.
The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
“Friendly Rat, mild-mannered Mole, wise Badger, and kind—but conceited—Toad all live on the banks of the Thames.
While Mole and Rat are content to go out in a row boat or travel the roads in a caravan, Toad prefers the excitement of motor cars.
While his friends try to keep him out of trouble, his passion for cars eventually results in his being caught and kept prisoner in the remotest dungeon of the best-guarded castle in all the land.
Somehow, he has to escape and get home but what will he find when he gets there?”
If this book doesn’t scream the word whimsical, I don’t know what is. It’s a lovely children’s story, similar to Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Winnie the Pooh, that deals with adult problems concealed behind a curtain of fantasy and wit.
The tale is told by endearing animal characters in a rich language that can definitely be enjoyed by adults.
Circe, by Madeline Miller
“In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child — not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother.
Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power — the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.
Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.
But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians.
To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love. “
The only aspect of cottagecore I have not talked about is finding your own self and healing. Circe’s journey as an outcast brings her to the question of what it means to live an immortal life.
She will teach you the lessons of living freely, unbound, and being true to yourself. She is not a mortal, nor a goddess and has done terrible things, but she is also a complex heroine who was bullied and belittled for not having any special power.
However, gifts come in so many ways, and with no one around to guide her, she immerses herself in witchcraft. A topic many will definitely be interested in.
The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben
“In The Hidden Life of Trees Peter Wohlleben makes the case that the forest is a social network.
He draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers.
Wohlleben also shares his deep love of woods and forests, explaining the amazing processes of life, death and regeneration he has observed in his woodland.”
If you really want to have an enlightening walk in nature, you need to read this book. It will teach you that trees are social creatures with scientific facts and groundbreaking new discoveries.
Far From the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy
“It’s the 1870s and Bathsheba Everdene is a woman ahead of her time.
Within the confines of rural English society, her independence and impulsive nature quickly land her at the heart of a web of love and lies.
Three very different men hope to claim her. But Bathsheba is fickle. And as she forges her own path through the politics of love and marriage, disaster follows in her wake.”
Far From the Madding Crowd tells the story of a woman that is so unlike any other female individual that you may have found in the 19th century.
Bathsheba is truly a woman that can do it all. She doesn’t shy away from farm work and enters a market that is only led by men.
Follow her story in vivid prose through tragedy and strength and how three different suitors completely turn her life around.
Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
“Little House in the Big Woods takes place in 1871 and introduces us to four-year-old Laura, who lives in a log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. She shares the cabin with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their lovable dog, Jack.
Pioneer life isn’t easy for the Ingalls family, since they must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But they make the best of every tough situation.
They celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do their spring planting, bring in the harvest in the fall, and make their first trip into town. And every night, safe and warm in their little house, the sound of Pa’s fiddle lulls Laura and her sisters into sleep.”
Most people have probably read or listened to the Little House Series as a child. It’s a wholesome story about the difficult life in a small log cabin in the middle of the woods.
The greatest lesson it will teach you is probably one of perspective. No matter how hard life can be, you are in control of how you will respond to the challenges and hardships that life throws at you.