Cozy Literature on BookTok
Jul 20 2023
You might have noticed a sudden surge in BookTok accounts and book clubs specializing in all things cozy. After speaking with some of our beloved cozy book club moderators, I’ve put together a guide that will - hopefully - help you as you start your adventure into the world of cozy literature. Keep reading for some feel-good vibes!
What is cozy literature?While cozy books have been on bookstore shelves for a very long time, it seems like the bookworm community has only recently attributed a new label to the genre - and its popularity has been skyrocketing on social media. Meg from @megstearoom has devoted their accounts to cozy literature, primarily recommending cozy fantasy. While cozy fantasy seems to be a bit more popular amongst BookTok and Bookstagram, cozy mystery and cozy romance have also been getting a significant amount of attention. In a nutshell, cozy literature mainly refers to books that are less intense than regular novels. Cozy books are often written in a lighter and less anxiety-inducing way than an average fantasy, romance, or mystery.In Meg’s words, cozy literature often has “lower stakes.” In the case of cozy fantasy, this would most often mean less violence, graphic details, or sexual content.
More cozy literature knowledgeI had the chance to gather some more “cozy literature” knowledge after speaking with some of our “cozy” moderators - Meg, Jaysen, and Jessica. All three moderators agreed that cozy books feel like a warm hug or like sipping on a warm beverage while sitting by the fire. In other words, cozy books are meant to be a calming and healing experience for the reader.Reading cozy books can be more than just something we do for entertainment or to unwind from a busy day. With less high-strung, intense, and graphic content, cozy books can help reduce anxiety - even more so than regular books!For example, Jaysen mentioned that he had a really stressful month in June, so he loaded up his July TBR with cozy books, knowing that these would help him “de-stress and feel less anxious.” Yet, as with all things, one book may feel cozy for one reader and it might not for another. Thus, cozy literature is more of a personal definition than a universal one.
What does cozy mean to you?The term cozy does not mean the same thing to every reader. A cozy book brings a sense of comfort to the reader, just like a warm hug. It induces far less anxiety for the reader than any other genre -- making the definition so versatile. While multiple universal elements can induce anxiety in a person, there are also more unique and personal factors that will vary from reader to reader. For one person, the mention of death in a book can be easily overlooked, and thus the book would still be considered cozy for this person if included one character's demise. Yet, for another, any mention of death could be quite triggering, defeating cozy literature's purpose. In this sense, the “cozy” genre requires immense care on behalf of readers and book reviewers alike. One person might recommend a book and label it as a “cozy fantasy” or a “cozy romance.” Still, for other readers, these books might result in a very unpleasant experience that is anything but cozy.
Don’t confuse cozy books and comfort booksIt’s easy to mix up “cozy” and “comfort” books, but the two labels represent two drastically different things. Comfort books are the stories that you love to read over and over, finding refuge and calm in the pages. This could be any book from any genre: fantasy, romance, mystery, or non-fiction. A cozy book has lower stakes, induces less anxiety and anxious anticipation, and is a much “lighter” reading experience overall. So, “The Cruel Prince” by Holly Black might be one of your comfort reads, but it doesn’t fit the cozy label since it has plot elements that some readers won’t find very cozy.
Cozy book recommendationsI’ve started a Fable book list rounding up books that fit the “cozy” description. You should make your own list or let me know what books you think I should add!Here are a few books on my list:
- Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree
- The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sandu Mandala
- Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett