12 best books that feel like Gilmore Girls for cozy reading

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cozy book with hot chocolate and blanket in fall
Photo by Alisa Anton

This is a guest contribution by Muna Nnamani that’s been reviewed by Lucy Fuggle.

Gilmore Girls is everybody’s comfort show for plenty of reasons: its strong mother-daughter bond, its romances, and its lovable characters.

But most of all, everyone is rewatching it this fall for its aesthetic. The cozy small-town feel of Stars Hollow is what so many of us aspire towards.

If you’re trying to attain that Gilmore Girls aesthetic this autumn, adding books that match the show’s vibes to your reading list is a must. For the perfect bookish inspiration, you’re in the right place.

Today, we’re sharing our favorite books that feel like Gilmore Girls for perfectly cozy additions to your autumn reading list.

Grab a large cup of coffee, get comfy, and block your calendar to enjoy some well-deserved relaxation with a good book this fall.

The best books for fans of Gilmore Girls to read now

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan

The Bookshop on the Shore follows single mother Zoe, who is frustrated with her life in London. Her cramped apartment is surrounded by noisy neighbors, she’s struggling to make ends meet, and the father of her four-year-old son contributes nothing to their lives.

Her life changes when a friend lands her a job at a bookshop by Loch Ness, far away from the terrors of urban living. As a second job to cover housing, she also starts work as a nanny for three troubled children at a castle in the Scottish Highlands.

This book’s picturesque setting, while different from the fall vibe of Stars Hollow, makes it just as comforting as Gilmore Girls. And Zoe’s struggle as a single mother mirrors Lorelai’s almost perfectly.

Admission by Julie Buxbaum

Inspired by the recent American college scandal, Admission is a young adult book about Chloe, a high school senior from an incredibly rich family. Life is good, and thanks to her parent’s money, she might have a shot at getting into Southern Californian College.

However, when Chloe’s grades and extracurriculars miss SCC’s mark, her parents hire a celebrity-endorsed college admissions company to “guide her process”. Magically, her test scores rise and SCC begins to commend her for accomplishments she knows she didn’t achieve.

Every character in this book is giving Rory Gilmore. From Chloe’s obsessive desire to be an SCC student to her friend Shola’s goal of Harvard, Rory’s academic determination is found throughout this academia story.

Empire Falls by Richard Russo

Empire Falls is set in a small, blue-collar town in which everybody knows everybody. The protagonist, Miles Roby, has worked at the Empire Grill for twenty years and raised his daughter for most of it.

On top of his responsibilities, Miles struggles with the knowledge that if he were able to attend college, his life would look drastically different. The book follows Miles as he is forced to slow down and take a good look at his life.

Miles’ story mirrors Lorelai’s for obvious reasons: like her, he let go of his full potential in life to raise a daughter. And like in Gilmore Girls, the positives and negatives of this choice are examined in this book.

One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

In One Italian Summer, Katy’s mother, Carol, is her best friend. Katy confides in her about everything and thinks that their bond is inseparable – until Carol passes away, just before their planned mother-daughter trip to Positano, Italy.

Positano was where Carol spent her last summer before meeting Katy’s father, and now, Katy musters the strength to embark on the trip alone.

As soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Then, she’s met with Carol herself, in the flesh. Only much younger. Surrounded by the magic and romance of Positano, Katy takes the opportunity to get to know her mother for who she used to be.

This book is usually marketed as a simple beach read, but it’s a genuinely heartwarming story about the bond that exists between mothers and daughters. Fans of Lorelai and Rory’s relationship will find something similar with Katy and Carol. 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The ultimate classic romance, Pride and Prejudice follows Elizabeth Bennet, the daughter of a country gentleman, as she begins a romance with Fitzwilliam Darcy, a prideful and wealthy member of the landed gentry.

As they navigate their way from enemies to lovers (the most classic example of this arc), they break down the walls of pride so they can marry.

Pride and Prejudice is definitely on this list because it’s on the Rory Gilmore reading list. But it is also here because of its slow-burn romance. If watching Luke and Lorelai dance around their feelings for each other was your cup of tea, you’ll enjoy Pride and Prejudice.

The Secret History by Donna Tart

For a darker take on Rory’s Yale era, read The Secret History. In this dark academia masterpiece, six college students in a closed-off class encourage each other’s intellectual curiosity under the influence of their charismatic Classics professor.

When the book’s unassuming protagonist, Richard Papen, gets dragged into the group’s increasingly wild activities, the story soon turns ominous.

The dark academia vibe alone makes the book worth reading, while the Classic students’ genuine interest in all things literature will remind you of Rory’s love of learning and pursuit of an English major.

The Inn at Tansy Falls by Cate Woods

The Inn at Tansy Falls follows Penelope “Nell” Swift as she grieves the loss of her longtime best friend, Megan Shaw. After Megan passes away, Nell finds a letter from Megan asking her to scatter her ashes in her hometown, Tansy Falls.

The twist is, the letter also requests Nell to stay at the Tansy Falls inn for two weeks and try something new each day. And by the end of the stay, Meg promises a surprise.

The Inn at Tansy Falls is simply a readable Hallmark movie. Though it can lack depth, it’s a feel-good autumn story about self-discovery in a little town like Stars Hollow – the perfect book counterpart to our favorite comfort show.

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

In The Sky is Everywhere, Lennie is grieving the loss of her sister, Bailey. To cope, she leans on Bailey’s boyfriend Toby. He’s brooding, attractive, and most importantly, able to understand her.

But when Joe bursts into her life as the new boy in town, Lennie realizes that he also has qualities that she needs – and she can’t find them in Toby. 

The boy confusion and heartbreak in this book are reflective of Rory’s relationships, and to an extent, Lorelai’s. If you watched Gilmore Girls for Rory’s muddy decisions surrounding romance, The Sky is Everywhere is perfect for you.

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Okay, so Mrs. Dalloway is essentially a book with no real plot. Set slightly after the turn of the century, it follows Clarissa Dalloway through one day of her life. As she prepares for a dinner party, she fluctuates between remembering her golden years and reflecting on her mortality.

Although an all-time classic, this book isn’t for everybody. The rambling narration style and constant flipping between the past and the present can be confusing. However, I believe that Clarissa’s inner dialogue is similar to Rory’s inner dialogue during her college years.

Clarissa’s longing for the way things used to be, and her belief that she threw away her life, also resemble Rory’s quarter-life crisis in Gilmore Girls.

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

In Night Road, Jude Farraday is an upper-middle-class stay-at-home mom whose prized possessions are her twins, Mia and Zach. But when Lexi Baill, a former foster child, becomes acquainted with the family, Jude tries to be a mother to her too.

However, one night before the end of senior year, an accident destroys the Farraday family. It’s Jude’s worst fear, and in the midst of her grief, she places all the blame on Lexi. When Lexi returns to make amends years later, Jude realizes that to feel better, she’ll have to forgive her.

While this book is darker than Gilmore Girls’ comforting vibe, I have not found another story that so tenderly describes the love a mother feels for her child. Lorelai struggled to express this love, but after reading Night Road, I understand where she was coming from.

Editor’s note from Lucy: I’ve added the following books that feel like Gilmore Girls – I hope you love these too.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

In Garden Spells, an enchanting novel that feels like a comforting blanket of a book, we meet the curious Waverley family whose peculiar gifts make them outsiders in their small town of Bascom, North Carolina.

Starting with Garden Spells, each book in the Waverley Family series is perfect for foodies, gardeners, and fans of the cozy, small-town vibes of Gilmore Girls. (Especially if you wonder what the show would be like with some magical realism thrown in). Expect witchy autumn vibes, delicious food, and family bonds that are put to the test.

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

Written by Louise Miller (a writer and pastry chef), The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living is one of my top recommended cozy books to snuggle up with on a quiet evening in. It’s also one of the best books like Gilmore Girls.

When pastry chef extraordinaire Olivia Rawlings sets not just her flambéed dessert but the entire building alight (hello, Sookie), she escapes to the most comforting place she can think of.

She’s only planning a short stay in the idyllic town of Guthrie, but when she’s offered a job in the Sugar Maple Inn (Lorelai?) she can’t resist. Delightful apple pies, the quiet comforts of home, and love follow.

It’s comfort food in a book, really – and what’s more, you can reconnect with the characters in the equally lovely sequel, The Late Bloomers’ Club.

For more books like Gilmore Girls, head over to these collections next…

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