Light Academia Book Aesthetic | Classic Reads 🌸🏰💗

Light Academia is a term I hadn’t heard of until recently, which is quite shocking considering Dark Academia is a term that I’ve seen everywhere. In contrast, Light Academia is more emotionally positive, brighter, and focuses on self care and appreciating the little things in life. Some common aspects of this aesthetic include: nature, poetry, learning, architecture, and art.

If you are looking for books that exhibit this theme, here are some quintessential classics that just might capture your heart:

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Though I’ve not personally read Little Women, I just had to include it because the cover is so cute and screams Light Academia to me.

Loosely based on the life of the author and her three sisters, this book is about the March sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy as they learn to navigate the world as young women, each with their own personal moral challenges during and after the Civil War.

Jo is a writer, and Amy studies painting, Beth is described as musical, and Meg is the governess for a wealthy royal family – need I say more?

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The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is another on my list! This book is about an orphan girl, Mary Lennox, who goes to live with her uncle on the Yorkshire Moors (which, if you are like me and don’t know what that is, you can check it out here, it is absolutely stunning!).

There, she finds a magical boy who can talk to animals, and a secret garden that had been forgotten for years. Honestly, this book sounds really cute!

When I went to look it up, a lot of Goodreads reviews were raving about how beautiful the writing is, and how joyous it made them feel. What a perfect book to represent Light Academia! 🤗

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Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – definitely a must-read classic!

The synopsis alone touched my heart: Anne Shirley, an orphan girl, goes to live with the Cuthburt’s – Marilla and her brother, Matthew – on the Green Gables Farm in Avonlea, Prince Edward Island. The pair wanted a boy from the orphanage, but eventually, Anne’s charm wins them over. This book is about all the adventures Anne gets up to at Green Gables.

I might be biased, but I love that this book is set in Canada, and Prince Edward Island is such a beautiful province that so deserves the attention this book gives it!

If anyone has any more recommendations, or has read any of these, I’d love to know your thoughts! 🥰

– Catherine

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Review// The Collector by John Fowles

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Author: John Fowles
Series: Standalone
Genre: Classic
Release Date: May 1963
Book Length: 283 pages 
Publisher: Vintage
Review: 2/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Withdrawn, uneducated and unloved, Frederick collects butterflies and takes photographs. He is obsessed with a beautiful stranger, the art student Miranda. When he wins the pools he buys a remote Sussex house and calmly abducts Miranda, believing she will grow to love him in time.

My Review:

I went into this expecting a thrilling, twisted, gripping story, because that’s what the synopsis made me believe would come of it, but I guess I’m an outlier with this one because despite the book having a pretty high rating overall, it kind of flat-lined for me.

Fredrick is an entomologist – a butterfly collector. He has been watching and following a beautiful young woman by the name of Miranda around town; he fantasizes and dreams about her, and about one day making her his. That day soon comes, as he wins a large sum of money from a football pool and buys a large house with a cellar in a remote area in order to abduct and keep Miranda. The first and last parts of the book are Fredrick’s account of what happened, and the middle is Miranda’s, taken from the diary she kept while being held in the cellar.

The idea of the plot intrigued me more than the execution of it. Though the climax of the book is pretty obvious, it felt so anticlimactic, partially because I knew it was coming from the beginning, and partially because the book just felt that stale. I wanted so badly to care about Miranda, and maybe my rating would have been higher if I did, but most of the time she didn’t even feel like a believable person with real feelings. In most of her diary entries, she would go on and on about an unrequited love for a professor twice her age, and honestly I just did not care for it.

I do feel like I may be missing something here based on the general consensus that other people seem to have about this book, but unfortunately for me personally, it fell short of my expectations.

– Catherine

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Review// Animal Farm by George Orwell

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Author: George Orwell
Series: Standalone
Genre: Classic
Release Date: August 17, 1945
Book Length: 95 pages 
Publisher: Penguin Books
Review: 5/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Mr. Jones of Manor Farm is so lazy and drunken that one day he forgets to feed his livestock. The ensuing rebellion under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Snowball leads to the animals taking over the farm. Vowing to eliminate the terrible inequities of the farmyard, the renamed Animal Farm is organized to benefit all who walk on four legs. But as time passes, the ideals of the rebellion are corrupted, then forgotten. And something new and unexpected emerges…

My Review:

This book was wild – or at least, it was domesticated at first and then got progressively wilder after the animals overthrew human leadership in favour of their own rules:

1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
7. All animals are equal.

Orwell’s Animal Farm is a definitive example of what can happen when the fight for freedom quickly turns to a bloodthirsty hunt for power. Progressing through the story was so interesting, because as the pigs gained power, the other animals started to question the original commandments, and honestly, so did I:

1. Four legs good, two legs, better
2. [Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is inferior].
3. [Only pigs wear clothes].
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.
5. No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.
6. No animal shall kill any other animal [unless they defy the leader].
7. [Pigs are superior].

“Was the original commandment ‘no animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets?’ Maybe? No wait, it can’t be… I don’t remember that.” That is something I thought to myself while reading, and if I couldn’t definitively remember something so small after like 60 pages, how can you expect those who have been brainwashed by propaganda and corruption to distinguish between what is real and what isn’t either? That is why I gave this 5 stars – I felt the ‘aha’ moment many times while reading, and I think the author did an excellent job packing such a powerful story line in such a short book.

-Catherine

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Review// Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

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Author: Julie Murphy
Series: Dumplin #1
Genre: Fiction
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Book Length: 371 pages 
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Review: 4/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

My Review:

Beautiful, he says. Fat, I think. But can’t I be both at the same time?

Finally. Finally I’ve read a book whose movie did it justice (and was maybe even better than the book?) – I really enjoyed this.

Willowdean Dickson, or Dumplin’, as her mom calls her, is a plus-sized Texas teen who decides to compete in the annual Clover City Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant which her mother and former winner of the pageant is running. Will’s initiative sparks other girls who wouldn’t have otherwise to join the pageant as well, which I loved.

Other things I loved:
• Millie! – Millie was one of the girls that Will inspired to also join the pageant. I thought Will was pretty confident in her skin, until I met Millie. I think Will sort of did care what other people thought, but Millie was completely oblivious to anything but her own happiness, kind of like a child, and it was endearing.
• The setting – this book made me want to go to Texas, although I felt like I was already there when reading.
• Bo – I loved the scenes with Bo and Will, I was rooting so hard for them to get together.
• The focus on Will’s relationship with her late aunt – Will was really close to her aunt Lucy, and I thought the way the author portrayed the stages of grief after her loss was done really well.

Things I didn’t like:

• Will and Mitch – Oh my. Where to begin with this? It was really sad and cringe worthy having to read through the parts where Will was leading Mitch on for ¾ of the book! I feel like the truth should have come out way sooner and in a much more mature way than it did.
• How mean Will was to basically everyone – her best friend Ellen, her mom, Mitch… the list can go on. Ellen was supposed to be her best friend, but they didn’t talk for ¾ of the book. She went on and on about how much she missed her, but was too proud to apologize for majority of the book; I almost forgot they were supposed to be best friends.

Being comfortable in your own skin is an uphill battle that I think everyone faces from time to time. Sometimes it is difficult not to let our decisions be affected by what we think others will think of us, or by how we think we will look if we step out of our comfort zone. This book’s message is that anybody can do anything they set their mind to, and that you should live your life based on what makes you happy, not by what others will think is the societal norm for you. Overall a great book with a positive message. Definitely want to read the next book in the series!

-Catherine

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Review// The Road by Cormac McCarthy

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Author: Cormac McCarthy
Series: Standalone
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: September 26, 2006
Book Length: 241 pages 
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Review: 4/5

My Review:

In a post-apocalyptic world where a man and his son struggle to survive, The Road offers a horrifying glimpse into what life is like for the little civilization that is left.

This book follows the man and child as they are walking along the road in search of food, shelter, and supplies to continue their journey. Admittedly, it wasn’t until about the 40% mark that things started to get interesting for me. Up until that point, it didn’t seem like the two were faced with very many dangers aside from the unfortunate living conditions that made it difficult to get through each day. This danger eventually came in the form of people whom the boy referred to as “bad guys” that seemed to be capturing, severing and eating other humans. As they ventured off the road from abandoned house to abandoned house searching for what they needed, I was always curious as to what, if anything, may be lurking in the shadows next.

Although the man and the boy do not speak to each other very much, the conversations they did have pulled at my heart strings. It was evident that in this new world, people were forced to harden in order to maintain any chance of going on, but the true softness of humanity could still be found in the voice of the child. Society had become very ‘every man for himself’, yet it was the boy who always found it in his heart to ask his father to extend a hand and share their food or bring other potential ‘good guys’ along on their journey.

This is undoubtedly a book about survival, but not so much about the act itself as it is about the survival of the defining qualities of human nature: compassion, hope, humility, kindness, and optimism—even when it seems too difficult to carry on.

What’s the bravest thing you ever did?
He spat into the road a bloody phlegm. Getting up this morning, he said.

-Catherine

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