Overflowing beds of sweet peas, marigolds, and cornflowers. Cans of peaches, jams, and chutneys.
Fresh pies in the oven and bread on the kitchen counter. A self-sufficient vegetable garden and a handmade wardrobe with fabrics.
Cottagecore has ascended as more of us have turned to sourdough, craft projects, and container vegetable planting during more time at home. Many of us also just yearn for more comfort, simplicity, and wholesome moments.
Here are some of my favourite beautiful books with cottagecore vibes to imagine a slow-paced, romanticised life close to nature with an abundance of simple pleasures.
With both fiction and non-fiction recommendations, fill your reading list with books to inspire your cottagecore life and make more of it a reality.
The cottagecore reading list of beautiful books
The Cottage Life: An Escapist’s Guide to Cottagecore by Tiffany Francis-Baker
The Cottage Life is a beautiful new book for 2023 to inspire your escape from the chaos of modern existence and live with more purpose, compassion, and joy.
It’s ultimately a guide to slow and simple living – a life in which we notice the seasons change, celebrate small joys, and embrace the best of the past while enjoying the present and nurturing our future.
How to be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals by Sy Montgomery
I first read How to Be a Good Creature a few years ago and loved it. It’s a wholesome, beautifully illustrated look at the joy and companionship that animals bring us in all shapes and sizes, told by Sy Montgomery as a memoir of her life with animals.
Embroidered Wild Flowers: Patterns Inspired by Field and Forest by Kazuko Aoki
Recently, I’ve returned to the quiet joy of making things with needle and thread – and I’m looking for any excuse to embroider rows of wildflowers on pillowcases and any other innocent piece of fabric lying around.
For inspiration, textile artist and avid gardener Kazuko Aoki shares stunningly delicate patterns of wildflowers in Embroidered Wild Flowers. In another book, The Embroidered Garden, she shares home garden favourites.
The Complete Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem
Like The Wild in the Willows and Beatrix Potter, I grew up reading Brambly Hedge – one of the archetypal English children’s books.
Since the first books were published in 1980, the ethos of Brambly Hedge’s community spirit, seasonal cooking, and sustainability is more necessary than ever before.
Here’s the complete edition to peruse Jill Barklem’s wonderful illustrations and stories of life in the hedgerow.
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Robin Wall Kimmerer is one of the most magical nature writers I’ve read in the last few years. Described as “a hymn of love to the world” by Elizabeth Gilbert, Braiding Sweetgrass is Robin’s celebration of indigenous wisdom and the beauty of nature.
Her earlier book, Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses, is also stunning.
The Walker’s Guide to Outdoor Clues and Signs by Tristan Gooley
Heading out into nature and hearing the chatter of birds, noticing the rustle of a deer in the forest, or observing a tree shaped by the wind is a balm for the soul. But what does it all mean?
Tristan Gooley’s The Walker’s Guide is my go-to recommendation for learning how to read the signs and secrets of the natural world.
Eat What You Grow: How to Have an Undemanding Edible Garden That Is Both Beautiful and Productive by Alys Fowler
When I wrote the first version of this post in May, my pea seedlings were springing up in my balcony garden, my spinach was nearly ready for thinning, and carrot seedlings and radishes were joyfully cohabiting.
Eat What You Grow is a beautiful guide to nurturing a productive and beautiful garden.
The Wild Iris by Louise Glück
From Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Glück, The Wild Iris is a stunningly beautiful collection of poems that encompasses the natural, human, and spiritual realms.
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The Secret Life of Bees is the bestselling novel about a young girl’s journey towards healing – as well as the transforming power of love, hope, and nature – from the author of The Invention of Wings.
Pilu of the Woods by Mai K. Nguyen
I wanted to add a graphic novel to this list, and Pilu of the Woods earned its place. It’s the gentle story of Willow, who loves the woods near her house.
Unlike her turbulent emotions which she tries to keep locked away, the woods are calm and quiet and provide a sanctuary that one day becomes all too tempting to run away into.
There, she meets Pilu, a lost tree spirit who can’t find her way back home. What follows is a growing friendship and shared mission through their natural surroundings.
Make Thrift Mend: Stitch, Patch, Darn, Plant-Dye & Love Your Wardrobe by Katrina Rodabaugh
Make your clothes last with Make Thrift Mend. Slow fashion guru Katrina Rodabaugh follows her bestselling book, Mending Matters, with a comprehensive guide to building and keeping a sustainable wardrobe you love.
Homestead Kitchen by Eivin Kilcher and Eve Kilcher
Featuring homesteaders and co-stars of Discovery’s Alaska: The Last Frontier, this cookbook and self-reliance guide by Eve and Eivin Kilcher offers appealing recipes for anyone looking to live more sustainably and self-sufficiently.
Botanicum by Katie Scott and Kathy Willis
As soon as I came across the cover of Botanicum from Big Picture Press’s Welcome to the Museum series, I fell in love with the stunning illustrations by Katie Scott.
Offering a feast of botanical knowledge, it’s a spellbinding book to browse while learning something new about our beautiful world.
Batch by Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison
To fuel your self-sufficiency dreams, Batch by Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison offers more than 200 recipes, tips, and techniques for a well-preserved kitchen.
From fermenting to canning, dehydration, and smoking, learn how to make your food last.
The Modern Herbal Dispensatory: A Medicine-Making Guide by Thomas Easley
If you want to tell your chamomile from your St. John’s Wort, add a copy of The Modern Herbal Dispensatory to your household library.
It’s the perfect companion to books about foraging and growing your own garden, whether beside a cottage, on several acres, or in a window box.