The weather here in California has already started to warm up (and I’m sad about it), but I am still pretending it’s cold and cozy over here. Definitely not giving up my fuzzy blanket and warm tea anytime soon. So today I wanted to share some cozy reads that are perfectly suited to reading when it’s cold out (or when you’re pretending it’s cold out, like me). For those of you who live in the Southern Hemisphere, you can save this list for June or just stay inside and ignore summer with these books.
Either way, I think these are great books to pick up when you just want a cozy day (or two) of sitting around and doing nothing but reading a lovely story. I tried to keep enough variety that there is hopefully something on this list that will work for you, so keep reading to find your next cozy book.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Backman is the king of slightly dark but really uplifting stories (at least from what I’ve read – I have not read his entire backlist). But A Man Called Ove is absolutely my favorite. It’s about a grumpy old man who doesn’t think he has much to live for after the death of his wife. But his multiple attempts to “remedy” the problem keep getting interrupted by the annoyingly friendly family who just moved in next door.
This is just a really sweet book about friendship and grief and found family. It will make you laugh and cry and feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I also highly recommend the Swedish film adaptation – they did an excellent job. So you’ll have something to watch after you finish this book.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
This is the first (and still only) book I have read by Amor Towles, and it blew me away. It’s about a Russian Count who is placed under house arrest in a hotel. So basically this entire novel takes place in a hotel and is just about the people he meets and the relationships he develops. It’s such a lovely story. It’s been a few years since I’ve read this and I still think about it often. The writing has strong cozy vibes and all of the characters are incredibly interesting and dimensional, and you’ll just spend hours living in this intricate and indulgent little world.
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan
I was a bit skeptical when I picked this book up last year. I haven’t really been enjoying contemporary young adult stories all that much in my thirties – read whatever you want, I just don’t identify enough with the characters anymore to enjoy them. And also, I really don’t do well with books that feature mother-daughter relationships (mine is very toxic, so it’s pretty triggering for me).
But this contemporary young adult story about a girl coping with her mother’s death was fantastic. I loved the hint of magical realism and how this story addresses grief in a realistic but beautiful way. It’s a great story about how grief can look different for everyone. I also appreciate that this story exists for young readers, because I definitely could have used a book like this growing up and learning how to handle difficult emotions.
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
Have I talked about this book enough yet? Because I will never shut up about it. It’s so, so beautiful. Set in turn-of-the-century New York, this follows a golem who was accidentally woken up on the boat from Europe only for her master to die before they reach the port. She has to navigate a whole new world and try to figure out who she is without the purpose she was made for. And then there is a thousand-year-old jinni who is released from the copper flask he’s been trapped in for centuries.
Each character goes on a journey to discover themselves while having to hide their true nature. But what gets me about this book is how absolutely gorgeous the writing is. If you want to be transported to 1899 New York, this book will do it.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
You know I had to include the other book I refuse to stop talking about. This book has romance and mystery and magic. But I think what made me love this book so much was the atmosphere. You can practically hear the clock chiming and smell popcorn and spiced apple cider while reading. It’s so immersive and fantastical and beautiful. Which makes it the absolute perfect book to lose yourself in. If you haven’t read it, definitely pick this one up because it is the perfect cozy winter read. And if you have already read it, maybe it’s time to revisit Les Cirque des Revês.
How Much of These Hills is Gold by C. Pam Zhang
I’ve also talked about this one a lot since I read it last year, because I was shocked by how much I loved this book. It’s a western, which is totally not my thing. But this one follows two children of Chinese immigrants who are orphaned during the Gold Rush and become outlaws. Which is super fun. This is also incredibly diverse, which I loved. Historical fiction with realistic characters of color and transgender rep? Absolutely yes.
This story was a little bit outside my comfort zone, but I couldn’t put it down. I was in a little bit of a slump when I picked this up and still flew through it in one day. If you want a heartwarming book that balances out the cozy with some action, this is the book you’re looking for.
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Basically just put the entire Wayward Children series on this list. I finished the most recent installment earlier this month, so I can say I have loved all of them so far. They’re such fun quick reads (all of the books in this series are around two-hundred pages or less). And they’re all so fun. If you’re not familiar, this series is about children who went though doors to different worlds (like Narnia) and came back.
And they’re all misunderstood and adjusting to our world. Plus, this is a wonderfully diverse cast of characters. Each installment after the first brings us to a different world or place and it’s so fun to learn about. I just love this series so much. They’re easily finished in an afternoon, and make perfect books to pick up when you’re in the mood for some fantasy but don’t want to commit to a big book.
If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura
Finally, we have this book that I read for my Japanese cat reading experiment last year. It was really fun. But the one book that stood out to me most was this one. It’s about a man who is told he has just a few days left to live. And then Death shows up… in a Hawaiian shirt.
Death proposes a deal: each day, he will choose something to disappear from the world forever. If our main character agrees, that thing will be gone, but he will get an extra day of life. I thought it was a clever way of looking at what our lives are worth to us, and what we’re be willing to give up for just one more day. Personally, I would not make all the cats disappear.
I hope you enjoyed this post! What cozy reads would you add to this list?
Check out my bookshop, where you can go and buy books and also shop my curated collections of my personal favorites AND all of the books I’ve read for my reading experiments.Or you can just buy whatever books you want to. I get a small commission at no extra cost to you, and you get to support your choice of indie bookstores – it’s a win all around!