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Light academia aesthetic elements
If you have ever taken an aesthetic quiz then you probably have heard the term light academia.
Light Academia is a sub-aesthetic of dark academia that celebrates knowledge, aesthetics, and intellectual hobbies like reading.
The light academia book recommendations are focused on classic literature, mythology, and the arts. In this blog post, I’ll be diving deeper into the world of light academia, exploring what it is, and sharing some awesome light academia book recommendations to add to your TBR pile. So grab your tea, find a cozy spot, and let’s get started!
What is light academia aesthetic?
When it comes to the light academia aesthetic, it’s all about embracing the romanticism of classic literature and knowledge.
The aesthetic focuses on natural light, neutral colors, positive emotions, vintage pieces, and a love for books. Think of cozy reading nooks with plush armchairs, soft blankets, and a classic novel by Jane Austen.
The aesthetic also emphasizes things like writing, painting, learning new things, and history. It’s all about immersing oneself in the beauty of knowledge and the arts. Often this aesthetic is represented in photos of libraries, old churches, and museums.
What is a light academia book?
A light academia book is typically a piece of literature that is steeped in history, the arts, romanticism, and the love of knowledge. These books often have themes of philosophical writing, romanticized descriptions, and a focus on the classics.
Some more characteristics of light academia books include well-developed characters, intricate and descriptive writing, and a focus on emotions and relationships.
Light academia book recommendations
Classic light academia books
1 | Pride and Prejudice
This book is about the opinionated Elizabeth Bennet and her proud beau, Mr. Darcy, as they navigate their relationship in a society divided by class.
🤩 What I loved about it: This is one of the first classic books I read as a teen and I will always love it. I will forever love Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship. Plus you can watch one of the million adaptations after reading it!
📚 Why it fits the light academia aesthetic: This classic book fits the aesthetic perfectly due to the focus on relationships and introspective questioning of class divisions in society.
2 | The Great Gatsby
This novel is set during the Jazz Age and it’s about Nick Carraway’s growing relationship with the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby. It’s also about Gatsby’s obsession with reuniting with his former lover, Daisy Buchanan.
🤩 What I loved about it: My favorite part is the characters! Each character was complex and you could see that reflected in the choices they made throughout the book.
📚 Why it fits the light academia aesthetic: The iconic symbolism and the complex characters in this book make it a great fit for the light academia book aesthetic!
3 | Emma
Emma is a captivating character, with her beauty, wit, and charming personality. She easily takes charge of the lives of the people in her small village and plays the role of matchmaker, despite some romantic mishaps along the way.
🤩 What I loved about it: Emma in essence should be hard to like as a character but Jane made it impossible not to love her. She had such depth and the social stances the book took were amazing to read.
📚 Why it fits the light academia aesthetic: This book utilizes lots of wit and descriptive writing making it fit this aesthetic perfectly.
4 | Little Women
This novel is about the March sisters and their lives during the Civil War. The book really focuses on the sisters and their relationships with each other and the people around them. It’s all about love, death, and the struggle between doing what you want and being there for your family.
🤩 What I loved about it: This book is one of my favorites due to the focus on growing up and sisterhood. I cry every time I read it and it’s such a heartful book.
📚 Why it fits the light academia aesthetic: The themes of family dynamics and each sister’s desire to be unique in her own way make it a light-hearted academia book.
5 | The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
This is a novel about an orphaned girl named Mary Lennox who discovers a mysterious garden on her uncle’s estate in Yorkshire. With the help of two friends, Mary works to bring the garden back to life.
🤩 What I loved about it: This book had a profound effect on me as a child because of the deeper connections between Mary and the garden, and still does to this day! It is a must-read for all classic lovers.
📚 Why it fits the light academia aesthetic: The detailed descriptions of the garden and manor plus the underlying discussion of what happens when a child has all of its material needs met but not its emotional ones.
6 | Anne of Green Gables
This story is about a girl named Anne Shirley who has no parents and gets adopted by an old brother and sister in Prince Edward Island. The book talks about how children grow up and feel and also talks about love, family, and home.
🤩 What I loved about it: One of my favorite things about this book is that it reminds us all to live in the moment and not to lose our zest for life.
📚 Why it fits the light academia aesthetic: This book fits the aesthetic because of the descriptive landscape and focus on family relationships.
7 | Sense and Sensibility
This novel is about two sisters, Marianne and Elinor, who navigate love and social conventions in a society where status and money dictate the rules of romance.
🤩 What I loved about it: I loved the sassiness and dialogue between the two characters! It makes the book so fun to read.
📚 Why it fits the light academia aesthetic: This book really focuses on strong-willed characters who have to bend to society’s pressures and stifle their own feelings. This style of philosophical writing fits the light academic aesthetic well.
8 | To The Lighthouse
Mrs. Ramsay is calm and motherly, while Mr. Ramsay is both tragic and ridiculous. They are on vacation with their children and some guests on the Isle of Skye.
As time passes, the Ramsays face some of the biggest challenges of being human, but also experience its greatest achievement—the ability to change.
🤩 What I loved about it: I loved the imagery and descriptive details in this book that added so much depth to the feelings of each character.
📚 Why it fits the light academia aesthetic: The book’s exploration of the complex relationships and conflicts between family members, as well as between men and women make it the perfect fit for your light academia bookshelf.
9 | Jane Eyre
Jane, an orphan since childhood, has always felt like an outsider. Her bravery is put to the test when she starts working as a caregiver for Edward Rochester’s ward Adèle at Thornfield Hall. Despite Rochester’s moody personality, Jane is attracted to him and falls deeply in love with him.
However, something frightening is hidden within the dark and unwelcoming walls of Thornfield Hall. Is Rochester keeping a secret from Jane? Will she end up heartbroken and alone once again?
🤩 What I loved about it: This is one of my favorite romance stories of all time! Everything from the setting and depth of the characters drew me in from the start.
📚 Why it fits the light academia aesthetic: The mix of gothic elements, realism, and romanticism make this the best candidate for the light academia aesthetic.
10 | I Capture the Castle
Cassandra Mortmain, who is 17 years old, keeps a journal for six months in 1934. She writes about her funny but sad life with her family in a castle that’s falling apart in Suffolk. She writes in three notebooks. When she finishes the last notebook, a lot has changed in her family. One of the big changes is that Cassandra has fallen in love and can’t get over it.
🤩 What I loved about it: I love the coming-of-age trope in books and this one does it exquisitely. It is both funny and heartwarming and will suck you in from the beginning.
📚 Why it fits the light academia aesthetic: The atmosphere, writing style, and art depictions will fulfill all of your light academia needs.
Popular modern light academia books
1 | The Book Thief
This book is about a young girl named Liesel who develops a love for books. She begins stealing books from various sources during the Nazi regime. However, when her foster family decides to hide a Jewish person in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up and closed down.
🤩 What I loved about it: I love Zusak’s writing style because it is so beautiful, lyrical, and moving to your very core.
📚 Why it fits the light academia aesthetic: The book explores themes of love, loss, and the power of words, making it a great addition to any light academia bookshelf.
2 | The Song of Achilles
This novel tells the story of Achilles and Patroclus, who forge an inseparable bond and are called upon to lay siege to Troy in the name of Helen of Sparta.
🤩 What I loved about it: Madeline writes such beautiful books steeped in mythology that makes you feel like you are learning something well being entertained.
📚 Why it fits the light academia aesthetic: The book explores themes of love and friendship which makes it the perfect light academia book recommendation.
3 | The Duke and I
This Regency-era romance novel is about Daphne Bridgerton who agrees to a fake courtship with Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings, in order to improve her prospects and his reputation. However, their plan becomes complicated when they develop real feelings for each other.
🤩 What I loved about it: This book features fake dating, the regency era, and complex characters. It is so good and worth all the hype from the Netflix tv series.
📚 Why it fits the light academia aesthetic: The classic era wrapped up in modern writing plus a complex relationship makes this whole series great for the light academia aesthetic.
4 | The Glass Castle
The Glass Castle is a book about a family that had some problems. The father was sometimes nice and sometimes not nice. The mother didn’t like staying at home and didn’t want to take care of the family.
The children had to take care of themselves and eventually moved to New York. Their parents also went to New York, but choose to be homeless.
🤩 What I loved about it: This is an amazing book about how we perceive the relationships around us as children and what they actually are.
📚 Why it fits the light academia aesthetic: This fits the light academia aesthetic because of its focus on family dynamics and finding wisdom in the ordinary.
5 | The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
Olive, a Ph.D. candidate pretends to be in a relationship with a hotshot professor named Adam to appease her friend. As they continue the charade, Olive finds herself developing real feelings for Adam.
🤩 What I loved about it: I love romance novels and this one was so popular on bookstagram for a good reason! It is so cute and Olive and Adam will be your new favorite book couple.
📚 Why it fits the light academia aesthetic: This book explores both the complex nature of love and academia making it the perfect modern book for this aesthetic.
6 | Circe
This novel is about the daughter of Helios who possesses the power of witchcraft and is banished to a deserted island by Zeus. There, she hones her craft and crosses paths with famous figures from mythology, but also draws the wrath of both men and gods. To protect what she loves, Circe must choose between the gods she was born from and the mortals she has come to love.
🤩 What I loved about it: I loved the focus on Circe becoming her own person and finding true love in different types of relationships.
📚 Why it fits the light academia aesthetic: The writing is steeped in greek mythology and the arts making it the perfect addition to your light academia bookshelf.
7 | The House in the Cerulean Sea
Linus Baker has been sent to Marsyas Island Orphanage to check if six dangerous children living there will bring about the end of days. On his journey, he meets Arthur Parnassus, the children’s caretaker, and finds an unlikely family in an unexpected place. The House in the Cerulean Sea is a story about family, discovery, and the power of love.
🤩 What I loved about it: This book has a very unique storyline that you probably have never read before. I loved Linus’ character and his growth over the book was amazing to read. I highly suggest you listen to it on audio because it really brings the characters to life.
📚 Why it fits the light academia aesthetic: It fits the light academia aesthetic because of the focus on relationships and positive emotions. This novel will fill you with happiness and joy from the very beginning.
8 | Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries
This fantasy novel is about a Cambridge professor studying faerie folklore in a small town in the far north. The professor, Emily Wilde, is not good at people, but as she gets closer to uncovering the secrets of the Hidden Ones, she also finds herself on the trail of another mystery: Who is her dashing and insufferably handsome academic rival, Wendell Bambleby, and what does he really want?
To find the answer, she’ll have to unlock the greatest mystery of all–her own heart.
🤩 Why you should read it: This book just released in January 2023 and is surprisingly good! I went in thinking it would be a little boring but Emily and Wendell were so fun to read about. I loved the depth of the characters and the storyline was perfect.
📚 Why it fits the light academia aesthetic: The combination of rivals to lovers romance, history, and fae make this the perfect academia read!
9 | The Inheritance Games
The novel follows Avery Grambs, a high school student who inherits the fortune of billionaire Tobias Hawthorne but must move into his mansion and solve puzzles to receive her inheritance. The Hawthorne family, who expected to inherit the fortune, are suspicious of Avery and danger lurks around every corner.
🤩 What I loved about it: This series gets so much hype on bookstagram for good reason! It is a great YA story with all the elements of mystery and romance you could want.
📚 Why it fits the light academia aesthetic: The puzzle-solving aspect makes this a great light academia read.
10 | The Midnight Bargain
This story follows Beatrice Clayborn, a sorceress who dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus but is expected to secure an advantageous marriage to save her family from debt.
When she discovers a grimoire that could help her become a Magus, a rival sorceress swindles it from her. Beatrice must decide between pursuing her dreams and identity as a Magus or sacrificing them for love and marriage.
🤩 What I loved about it: The combination of politics and women’s rights really made this book stand out in the fantasy book world.
📚 Why it fits the light academia aesthetic: Beatrice’s drive for knowledge and the relationships in this story make it a great fit for this aesthetic.
Building your light academia bookshelf
Curating a light academia bookshelf is a fantastic way to create a cozy and aesthetic space in your home. But where can you find light academia books to add to your collection?
I would start by visiting your local bookstore and exploring the classics section! You can also browse online retailers or used bookshops for vintage editions of classic novels or your favorite modern books.
When it comes to curating your light academia bookshelf, it’s essential to choose books that you’ll enjoy reading.
Consider organizing your books by genre or author to create a cohesive and visually pleasing bookshelf display.
The opposite of light academia
While light academia focuses on positive emotions and romanticized ideals, dark academia offers a more dark and introspective take on the academic lifestyle.
Dark academia is characterized by a focus on darker themes, such as death, tragedy, gothic architecture, and dark colors.
While light academia celebrates natural light and joyful emotions, dark academia prefers dimly lit spaces and darker emotions.
Some popular dark academia books include Ninth House by Leigh Bardogo, Wilder Girls by Rory Power, and The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe. These books explore dark themes surrounding human existence.
Did you find your favorite light academia book recommendations?
These types of books are classic pieces of literature that celebrate learning, emotions, and relationships.
By curating your light academia bookshelf, you can create a cozy and stimulating space in your home that celebrates the love of learning and the arts. Light academia book recommendations offer readers a chance to explore classic literature and new modern books that have stood the test of time.
Whether you’re a lifelong bookworm or just starting your literary journey, light academia books are sure to captivate and inspire. So go ahead, pick up a classic novel, find a cozy spot, and immerse yourself in the beauty of light academia.