I love cozy books… books about cabins with wood stoves, warm friendships, good turns of fortune, and coming in from the cold in winter.
In this post, I’ve curated some of the best cozy books to enjoy on a quiet night in when all you want to do is retreat into the pages of a good book and de-stress.
They’re perfect to read in your favourite cozy place, whether that’s by the fireplace, on the sofa, in bed, or soaking in the bath. Read on to warm your heart and soothe your nerves…
The coziest books to read in 2023 for a retreat from the world
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Folk tales, snow-capped forests, and magic at the edge of the Siberian wilderness… The Bear and the Nightingale is one of the coziest books to read in winter. I adored listening to it as an audiobook; every listen felt like tumbling into a cozy fantasy world with snow falling outside and a fire crackling indoors.
Here in Book 1 of Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy, young Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed to protect her family and community as her beloved village’s defenses weaken and evil creeps nearer.
Darling by India Knight
Crafted as a contemporary retelling of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love, Darling is a witty comfort read brimming with cottagecore vibes – think bouquets picked from the garden, homemade bread, and quirky family members.
We meet Linda Radlett, a teenager who feels destined for greater things – and a love story far from her family’s sprawling farmhouse in Norfolk.
London, Paris, love, and transformation await in this story that isn’t without its darkness (there’s one page in particular you might want to rip out) but is overall a delight.
The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
The Shell Seekers is one of the coziest and most wholesome books ever written, and it will always make me think of summer on the beach in Cornwall and quaint English villages just like the one I grew up in.
In this charming book – which is so warm, cozy, and immersive you won’t want to put it down – you’ll get to know one family, the art they’ve inherited, and the passions and heartbreaks that have held them together for three generations.
Rosamunde Pilcher has created one of those rare reading experiences that stay with you forever; you can’t help but fall in love with its country lanes, nostalgic memories, and family tiffs and quirks.
The Wisdom of Sheep by Rosamund Young
The Wisdom of Sheep & Other Animals is one of the most wholesome cozy books I’ve read lately. Offering a restful escape to the English countryside with observations from Rosamund Young’s family farm, this cozy memoir for 2023 is perfect for fans of James Herriot and anyone who dreams of a simpler way of life.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
When it comes to cozy classic books, The Hobbit is in a league of its own. Retreat into this timeless story of adventure and magic that Tolkien originally wrote for his children and experience the iconic universe of hobbits, Orcs, dwarves, and dragons through its pages.
Tolkien’s world isn’t without its darkness, but it also offers a wonderful dose of comfort and coziness, especially in The Shire where second breakfasts, hearty stews, well-stocked larders, and cozy armchairs await.
The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer
For a whimsical and hopeful novel about the power of stories, read The Wishing Game. This is the story of Lucy Hart, a lifelong reader who survived her lonely childhood by finding solace in books, namely the Clock Island series by Jack Masterson.
Now a twenty-six-year-old teacher’s aide, Lucy is able to share her love of reading with her students, who she’d give anything to help. When she gets a chance to win the only copy of her favourite author’s new book, it seems like her life – and her students’ – might be about to change.
The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
This is the story of Olivia Rawlings, a pastry chef extraordinaire who discovers the true meaning of home when she escapes from the city to the most comforting place she can think of: the idyllic town of Guthrie, Vermont.
It’s meant to be just a short getaway, but when Margaret Hurley, the grumpy owner of the Sugar Maple Inn, offers Livvy a job, she accepts – and realises that the most unexpected twists and turns in life can be the best things to happen to you.
Still Life by Louise Penny
“Peter swept aside Yogi Tea and Harmony Herbal Blend, though he hesitated a second over the chamomile. …. But no. Violent death demanded Earl Grey…”
It’s set in October in Quebec with families gathering for Thanksgiving, characters sitting by the fire as night falls, and friends meeting for meals at the local bistro.
At least on the surface, life is incredibly idyllic in the village of Three Pines, but long-buried secrets are starting to reappear. This cozy book is best read with a cup of hot tea and a crumbly pastry.
A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher
In this Nebula award-winner, fourteen-year-old Mona isn’t like other wizards charged with defending the city. She can’t speak to water or control lightning… in fact, her magic only works on bread, and her familiar is a sourdough starter.
However, Mona’s world is turned upside down when she discovers a body on the bakery floor. Now it’s her time to truly step into her unique powers.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women, one of the most wholesome comfort reads of all time, is Louisa May Alcott’s classic story of four sisters who couldn’t be more different: grown-up Meg, tomboyish Jo, timid Beth, and precocious Amy.
For a lovely special edition of Little Women to treasure for years to come, Folio Society offers this gorgeous hardcover complete with charming illustrations.
A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami
Whenever I think of A Wild Sheep Chase, I think of snowy countryside. Some of that is because I read it on a winter train journey from my then-home in Switzerland to Chamonix, France, but it’s also because of the book’s setting.
In this surreal and quasi-detective tale that’s a perfect book for winter, we follow an unnamed, chain-smoking narrator to snowy Hokkaido in Japan.
The reason for the narrator’s adventure is to search for a strange sheep with a star-shaped birthmark, accompanied by his girlfriend who possesses endearing and supernaturally perceptive ears. (What can I say, it’s a Murakami novel.)
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
For a warm and cozy hotel feeling, read A Gentleman in Moscow. This bestselling book is a beautifully transporting novel about Count Alexander Rostov, a man who, in 1922, is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat and ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel.
Rostov, who has never worked a day in his life, must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in his nation’s history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors.
However, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery – and towards a far deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett
Emily is incredibly talented, but there’s one thing she’s not good at: people. Quite frankly, she’d rather just be with her books or her dog, Shadow. So when Wendell Bambleby, her dashing and handsome academic rival, arrives in town and steps on her turf, she has a problem. What’s really his story, and how can she focus on her work to uncover the most elusive of faeries?
The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
The Bookshop on the Corner is a wonderfully cozy book about books. Set in a sweet little Scottish town you’ll soon want to move to, Nina is a literary matchmaker: a librarian with a knack for finding the perfect book for her readers.
However, after losing the job she loves, Nina must make a new life for herself. Determined and ready for a new start, Nina moves to a sleepy village where she buys a van and transforms it into a mobile bookshop.
As she builds her business and gets to know the neighborhood, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home.
So, which cozy book will you read next? Take your pick and treat yourself to a warm cup of tea, a soft blanket, and freedom from distractions for some relaxing time to unwind.
I also love these hygge books for perfectly cozy reading inspired by my time living in Denmark.