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10 Best Light Academia Books to add to your reading list

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Need a ray of light in this dismal piece of reality called the world?

Light academia books irradiate so much hope, optimism, and inspiration.

Reading them evokes the feeling as if you were to unpack a long-awaited present.

When you do the unwrapping, the beams of warmth touch your hair while your heart is pounding so hard with excitement.

Can you decipher between the light academia book and the dark academia one, btw?

Let’s try to do that.

Light Academia vs. Dark Academia in Literature

Both romanticize the will to learn and embody the passion for discovery.

However, light academia is a milder, lighter “sister” of dark academia. The phrase “light academia” was coined not so long ago, in 2019, on Tumblr.

If we go to extremes –

  • Light academia: an optimistic learner is surrounded by friends; they are playing with the kite and watching it catch the wind in the sunshine.
  • Dark academia: a haunted learner is cornered by fear and misery in the room, where gloominess is the only thing that survived.

Light academia aesthetic books adhere to joyful and luminous plotlines (that typically result in a happy, sometimes bittersweet ending) as opposed to the melancholic atmosphere of Gothicism in dark academia stories.

The latter often portray tragedies and point to self-search, which is likely to be tarnished with harsh self-criticism.

In contrast, light academia narratives bloom with self-care, emotional positivity, and outdoor happiness.

Below, we’re sharing the best light academia books to read if you’re tired of the heaviness of dark academia novels.

Top 10 Light Academia Books

If you can imagine yourself lying on a lawn with Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” in your hand or the Greek islands from “The Iliad” in front of your eyes, these ten light academia stories are undeniably for you.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women

Where would our list be without this classic historical romance novel?

The pages just fly by as Louisa May Alcott doles out to you the lives of the four sisters:

Jo – daring-and-principled scribbler

Meg – responsible-and-romantic beauty

Amy – ambitious-and-artistic manipulator

Beth – pious-and-shy pianist

They rely on each other and share the hope that their father will return from war.

There’s so much friendship and support in them, though being such diverse characters – get this inspirational copy.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle

With the most intense intimacy, Jeannette Walls tells you an autobiographical story.

Discover how she learned to be resistant and resilient against all the odds, growing up in a very uncommon family but feeling support from her siblings.

The family’s charisma can’t leave you indifferent. Check the book’s price.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice

Did you know that this novel has over 17 movie adaptations and that it was written by a 21-year-old?

Some parts of the book came from Jane Austen’s personal experience, especially the relationship between the two sisters in “Pride and Prejudice” – Jane and Elizabeth.

When a wealthy gentleman, Mr. Darcy, comes into play, you can feel flirting unfold as he meets intelligent and spirited Elizabeth with the wittiest sense of humor you could imagine.

Catch your copy.

Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson

Meet Me at the Museum

It’s a spell-binder-book to save those who are skeptical about second chances in love.

You learn both characters – Anders, a curator of the Danish museum, and Tina, a farmer’s wife from England – through letters between them.

Let the story mesmerize you with its lyrical reflections and impress you with an archaeological discovery. Here’s the Amazon link.

Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger

Nine Stories

Curious how it feels to balance between light academia and dark academia?

This collection of nine short stories is exactly a reader’s tightrope to try oneself at balancing.

Each one is a paradox and a combination of ironic, enthralling, and soul-crushing elements (Salinger’s exceptional at this trick).

Find them here.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles

It’s one of the greatest adaptations of classic tales from Greek mythology modernized for a contemporary reader.

As the narrator is Patroclus, he’s in the spotlight of this novel, even though he tells much about Achilles.

Tenderness in their friendship eventually grows into a more romantic relationship, with its sincerity and appreciation.

View the copy of this powerfully-written retelling.

If it has captured your heart already, you might peer into our list of books like “The Song of Achilles.”

Lovely War by Julie Berry

Lovely War

Have you ever read beautiful, hopeful stories of love during WWI narrated by Greek gods?

Aphrodite has to prove to Ares that love has powers stronger than those of war.

Buy “Lovely War” and enjoy a unique a-story-inside-a-story perspective.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden

Even if you don’t believe in magic, this enchanting children’s novel will cause you some doubts.

Join Mary Lennox in this book, follow her discoveries of the enigmatic garden, as well as friendship and bonds with nature, and let her cheer you up, even if it’s your worst day ever.

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

To the Lighthouse

The story is actually based on the author’s life.

The Woolfs also had eight kids, while the protagonists, Mrs. and Mr. Ramsey, are copies of Virginia’s parents.

And they did have a summer vacation on the coast like the Ramseys.

Grab this masterpiece and use its breathtaking descriptive power to contemplate the meanings of family, self-expression, and male/female roles.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

The Midnight Library

What if you were offered a chance to change your life? Would you take it?

Nora gets an opportunity to alter her far-from-being-perfect life.

She takes books from the shelves in the midnight library and tries on different lives she could have.

Schedule a visit to “The Midnight Library,” feel its magical realism, and think over the philosophical implications of choice.

Enliven Yourself With Light Academia Books

When wars and despair fill up your newsfeed so much that you want to scream;

When the coldness and murkiness of the weather make your bones and brain ache;

When your day is a tad overwrought with pain; or when you don’t want to face the monsters (either inside or outside ones)…

Let one of the above light academia books become “the soother of every sorrow” (that’s how Cassandra described her sister, Jane Austin).


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