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15 Best Books that feels like a Studio Ghibli movie

If you're a fan of Studio Ghibli's enchanting animations and are looking to dive into stories that mirror the whimsy, magic, and heartwarming spirit of their films, we've curated a list of 15 incredible books that will transport you to worlds filled with wonder, adventure, and the extraordinary.

These tales, like a Ghibli movie, promise to captivate your imagination and leave you with a sense of awe and longing for the extraordinary.

Have you read any of these and do you agree with this list? What are some books you would add to this list?

Affiliate Disclaimer: This post features Amazon affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links.

Venture into the world of a tiny second-hand bookshop and join a young man and a talking tabby cat on a quest to rescue imprisoned and mistreated books. With magical adventures and heartfelt missions, this tale captures the power of literature and friendship.

My favourite quote from the book:

''A book that sits on a shelf is nothing but a bundle of paper. Unless it is opened, a book possessing great power or an epic story is a mere scrap of paper. But a book that has been cherished and loved, filled with human thoughts, has been endowed with a soul.''

― Sōsuke Natsukawa, Il gatto che voleva salvare i libri

Explore a mysterious world beneath the waves as a young girl's journey to uncover ancient legends leads her to unexpected truths. With a blend of enchantment and intrigue, this novel mirrors the captivating storytelling of Ghibli.

My favourite quote from the book:

“Stories are both an escape from the truths of the world and the only way to see them clearly.”

― Axie Oh, The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea

Step into an abandoned general store where letters hold the keys to life-changing moments. Join a group of delinquents on a night of discovery, magic, and heartwarming encounters that will forever alter their lives.

My favourite quote from the book:

“The modest wrinkles and the slackness of her skin were a matter of course. Proof she'd seized the reins in life. Nothing to be ashamed of.”

― Keigo Higashino, The Miracles of the Namiya General Store

Embark on a coming-of-age journey with a young witch as she navigates life, friendship, and magical abilities. This charming tale captures the essence of finding one's place in the world, reminiscent of Ghibli's themes.

My favourite quote from the book:

“those who complain too much can't hear nice noises.”

― Eiko Kadono, Kiki's Delivery Service

Indulge in a collection of short stories that blend the ordinary with the mystical. From whimsical adventures to heartfelt connections, these tales evoke the sense of wonder Ghibli is known for.

My favourite quote from the book:

“Shut up, you insufferable shitweasel,”

― Travis Baldree, Legends & Lattes

Immerse yourself in the magical world of Russian folklore, where myths come alive and young Vasya's journey to embrace her powers mirrors Ghibli's themes of self-discovery.

My favourite quote from the book:

“It is a cruel task, to frighten people in God’s name.”

― Katherine Arden, The Bear and the Nightingale

Join a curious young boy on a whimsical adventure as he investigates the appearance of penguins in his town. This story captures the enchanting blend of curiosity and magic that Ghibli often portrays.

My favourite quote from the book:

“No matter how fun something is, it always has an end.”

― Tomihiko Morimi, Penguin Highway

Experience a heartwarming tale of acceptance, friendship, and the extraordinary as a man's encounters with magical beings transform his perspective. The story echoes Ghibli's ability to merge the fantastical with the heartwarming.

My favourite quote from the book:

“Hate is loud, but I think you'll learn it's because it's only a few people shouting, desperate to be heard. You might not ever be able to change their minds, but so long as your remember you're not alone, you will overcome.”

― T.J. Klune, The House in the Cerulean Sea

Dive into a world of wizards, dragons, and exploration as Ghibli's themes of wonder and adventure come alive in this timeless series.

My favourite quote from the book:

“It's a rare gift, to know where you need to be, before you've been to all the places you don't need to be.”

― Ursula K. Le Guin, Tales from Earthsea

Delve into a future where a tea monk explores solace and understanding, reflecting Ghibli's blend of the fantastical and introspective in this unique tale.

My favourite quote from the book:

“You keep asking why your work is not enough, and I don’t know how to answer that, because it is enough to exist in the world and marvel at it. You don’t need to justify that, or earn it. You are allowed to just live.”

― Becky Chambers, A Psalm for the Wild-Built

Experience a tale of magic, transformation, and friendship in a moving castle that evokes the same charm and wonder that Ghibli is renowned for.

My favourite quote from the book:

“I'm going up to my room now, where I may die.”

― Diana Wynne Jones, Howl’s Moving Castle

Uncover the mysteries of a castle that holds the hopes of its inhabitants, weaving magic and self-discovery together in a narrative reminiscent of Ghibli's allure.

My favourite quote from the book:

“You're battling every single day, aren't you?”

― Mizuki Tsujimura, Lonely Castle in the Mirror

Venture beneath the streets of London into a hidden world filled with dark magic and unexpected connections. This novel echoes Ghibli's fascination with hidden realms and captivating storytelling.

My favourite quote from the book:

“I mean, maybe I am crazy. I mean, maybe. But if this is all there is, then I don't want to be sane.”

― Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere

Immerse yourself in a magical journey through hidden alleys during an unforgettable summer, capturing Ghibli's ability to infuse the everyday with wonder and charm.

My favourite quote from the book:

“Time, Kazu. Time is the same for everyone. Men, women, young people, old people—everyone. A day is a day. An hour is an hour. Time is the one thing applied impartially to all humans, and to every living creature.”

― Sachiko Kashiwaba, Temple Alley Summer

Explore a poignant coming-of-age story set in Tokyo, delving into complex human emotions and evoking the same depth and introspection that Ghibli films often encompass.

My favourite quote from the book:

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”

― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood


If you enjoyed these book recommendations, check out the rest of my Fiction/Literature book lists on my blog —

These 15 books offer a diverse range of enchanting tales, each capturing the charm, wonder, and emotional depth that are the hallmarks of a Studio Ghibli movie.

Whether you're seeking magical adventures, heartwarming connections, or journeys of self-discovery, these novels promise to evoke the same emotions that Ghibli's timeless films have masterfully invoked over the years.

Embrace the magic of literature and embark on these captivating journeys that will transport you to extraordinary worlds.


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