March 26, 2012

What Are Your Favorite Books for Spring?

I spent the better part of a lazy weekend in bed reading Come to the Edge. It was one of those rare I-can’t-put-it-down books with the added appeal of being about first love, complete with riding on bicycle handlebars and romantic trips out of town.

I felt inspired to hunker down into someone else’s world: on Thursday evening, I overheard a group of three women at a bar drinking Miller Life High and discussing Jane Eyre at their first book club meeting. And then on Friday night, at a dinner party uptown where we ate off plates on our laps, I met a fellow whose book club was also reading Jane Eyre. He had just seen Jane carried from the bed of Helen Burns in the gray light of morning.

Winter is my favorite reading season: it calls for mysteries, the Gothic, Barbara Pym, and soothing childhood favorites. Fall comes next with its crisp back-to-school feeling, and summer is juicy, with paperback pages greasy with sunscreen. But what kind of reading season is spring? What books feel right in spring? Farm life? Paris? I’m ready for something new, ready to fall into a new favorite and another world. What are your favorite books for spring? Let’s get another ultimate reading list going!

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  • Melissa @ Hilltop Hausfrau: OMG you know I love this topic!

    I only have a second inbetween morning drudgery but I have a standout spring fave:

    “On the Banks of Plum Creek” by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

    Have great week, Sarah!6 years ago

  • Cadi: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle. Transports a girl to the Loire for French country life and highjinks.6 years ago

  • Bekah: Oh, I love Melissa’s choice! I would add The Secret Garden, by Francis Hodgsen Burnett, any books by Kate Morton, and yes, books on gardening, farming, and travel. Spring is about possibilities!6 years ago

  • Katie @ cakes, tea and dreams: Oh, definitely The Secret Garden. (And my book club is reading Jane Eyre too!)

    I’m reading An Irish Country Doctor and loving it so far. And yes, Paris reading sounds delightful in the spring. I’d also recommend I Capture the Castle, the Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall, the Melendy books (The Saturdays et al.) by Elizabeth Enright, Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, and Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos.6 years ago

  • Kody: I’m rereading “Little, Big” by John Crowley. If you want to be beautifully transported to another place, and where Spring features large, this is the perfect place to start.6 years ago

  • Beth {Southern Bluestocking}: Winter is my favorite reading season too–I hunker down in books thicker than my palm and escape the surrounding drear. Spring is tricky for me–I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully, as I still have 400 pages to go) to read Bleak House this month, and the beautiful weather and the uncanny urge to clean and organize and realign my life is getting in the way of my normally voracious reading appetite. I’d agree with the previous posters about books about travel and growing, and so suggest the addition of anything by Frances Mayes to the reading list. And instead of fighting my urge to remake/reorganize life, I’m embracing it by reading books like The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking (which I won here, yay!) and In Defense of Food.6 years ago

  • Tall Girl: Again, the Secret Garden! and also Watership Down. A new(er) one, 5 Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris (whose Chocolat is also a good transition from winter to spring read).

    @Beth – Iยดm also reading In Defense of Food, such an interesting one!6 years ago

  • Crystal: Oooh! Books! One of my favorite subjects! Definitely France: Like Cadi said A Year in Provence but also Words in a French Life-Kristin Espinasse and Paris to the Moon-Adam Gopnick. Might as well go to England too: all the Miss Read books. Katie’s got the right idea with Elizabeth Enright too! I still have my battered middle school copy of the Four Story Mistake. Also, Charms for the Easy Life-Kay Gibbons somehow seems right for spring. And of course, Jane Austen is seasonless!6 years ago

  • Cate: I almost always read I Capture the Castle some time in the spring. And like Bekah said, anything by Katie Morton is wonderful, and an excellent spring read.

    I just finished The Lost Girls, and I loved that, it’s a travel memoir, and it fits into spring quite well- fueling dreams, specifically wanderlust-filled ones.

    …I’m getting soo many ideas of what I want to read next from everyone, hooray!6 years ago

  • Alexis: I’ve been trying to get some Spring books going myself! I have “The Paris Wife” in my list, which looks like a nice one. I always think light and happy stories are perfect for springtime :). And I’m going to have to check out “Come to the Edge” now, thank you for sharing!6 years ago

  • Wine Harlots: Thanks for the link-love!

    I’m in Southern California, so I love classic noir. Anything by Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett is perfect for a blustery spring day.6 years ago

  • EB: I never really thought about reading as seasonal. I love this idea. I’ll have to ponder it though (in between chapters of The Handmaids Tale).6 years ago

  • Cass: Oooh Katie had some beautiful suggestions! I would add the Tea House on Mulberry Street for a light spring read. I love the idea of seasons for books – The Thirteenth Tale would most definitely be a winter read – I’ll have to keep this idea in mind when selecting my next book!
    Ps. I found your site not long ago and I absolutely adore it, the things you write about really resonate with me and get me thinking. I think it’s just perfect ๐Ÿ™‚6 years ago

  • Arena: The Wind in the Willows! It is perfect for spring, I nearly read it every year. My mother read it to me when I was little and I sometimes can still hear her voice reading me the words.6 years ago

  • Karen: I never thought of reading seasonally (except for light reading on the beach in summer!).
    I think The Great Gatsby would be a good spring read (or anytime read for me!).
    Alexis, do read A Paris Wife.6 years ago

  • SarahJ: i wholeheartedly agree w/ the secret garden. also, what about cold comfort farm? maybe a room w/ a view?6 years ago

  • Catherine: I can’t believe I’m going to recommend a sports book but it is so much more than that: The Art of Fielding. Absolutely amazing and I know nothing about baseball!

    A couple of other beauties I’ve read recently: The Language of Flowers, The Dovekeepers (!), and When She Woke. They’ve been very hard acts to follow but I’m looking forward to seeing everyone else’s list.6 years ago

  • Alison: I like to re-read “The Train to Estelline” after a hard winter of Gothic reading ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a cheerful book about a likable school teacher in the turn of the century. It’s got romance and snappy dialogue and picnics with fried chicken. All and all, a great read when you’re in the park on a mild spring day!6 years ago

  • Ashlie: I’ve been craving Anne of Green Gables, and the end of spring bleeding into summer is the perfect time to read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.6 years ago

  • It’s so funny–I don’t know why I think of reading as seasonal. I guess I think of almost as everything as being best when it’s in tune with the seasons! ๐Ÿ™‚

    So many great new-to-me suggestions here! I can’t wait to load up my Amazon wish list. Yes to The Secret Garden, I Capture the Castle, and A Tree Grows in Brooklynโ€“โ€“and would you believe that I have The Wind in the Willows on my bedside table right now? Must be a sign. ๐Ÿ˜‰6 years ago

  • Sasha: This is such a great question, as the book that immediately came to mind is one of my favourite children’s book called “Three Friends Find Spring.” Did anyone else read that? But as for Spring adult books, maybe “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” or perhaps short stories from Capote? I do love Alexander McCall Smith’s “44 Scotland Street” series, which is very lighthearted, so that might be good! Looking forward to seeing more great suggestions!6 years ago

  • Casey: Having just spent a lovely girls’ day visiting Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House in Concord, I’ve been thinking literary thoughts today! Hands down, my favorite spring reading is the Anne of Green Gables series. They belong in the category of children’s books that only become better and reveal more layers of beauty with age. I’m re-reading the whole series (AGAIN) before I turn 30 in July.6 years ago

  • Liza in Ann Arbor: The Paris Wife! It was the best book I’ve read in a long time, all about Hadley and Ernest Hemingway and the early Paris years. Told from her point of view, you won’t much like Ernest (as a person) after this one, but it’s gripping. Also recently read Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence, a much loved classic.6 years ago

  • LondonDiva: Crystal – I have the Miss Read books in a stack of books bought last summer at a huge used book sale – will have to get to them this Spring! I Capture the Castle is always fun to read, as is anything by Kate Morton. Loved The Thirteenth Tale, too. Basically, no matter what the season, if I’ve got a book in my hands, I’m happy!6 years ago

  • jj: I too love reading with the seasons. The springtime book that has most creatively transitioned me from winter into summer is Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver. In fact I think it’s one of the best rather-unheard-of books ever. Strong and vibrant women, awakening and growth, luscious prose and delightful meditations on that connection between the natural world and ourselves, renewal. LOVE it. My favorite winter read, meanwhile, is Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, for a more just and beautiful portrait of winter I’ve never seen.6 years ago

  • Jace: I’ve been re-reading “Jane of Lantern Hill” by L. M. Montgomery every spring since I was ten years old ๐Ÿ™‚ Somehow it never gets old; every year it’s new again! It always gets me in the mood for spring cleaning and nature walks and reconnecting with people and spaces with a new appreciation – a perfect sentiment for spring. I love the author’s descriptions: whether she’s describing a pantry, a cupboard, a fern, a flower, or a velvety kitten, they’re impossibly beautiful, fey things, fresh and sweet. I love all of her books but this is my favourite for springtime reading!6 years ago

  • Angela: Enchanted April of course!6 years ago

  • Sasha: Just wanted to share that a friend just gave me “Cheat and Charmer” by Elizabeth Frank, and it seems to be the perfect Spring read!6 years ago

  • Crystal: LondonDiva, I have one word for you: Jealous!! All this Miss Read’s waiting for you to discover! I hope you enjoy your travels to Fairacre and Thrush Green and Caxley as much as I did!6 years ago

  • LondonDiva: Crystal – I just Googled the Miss Read books – I now have a mission! I had no idea there were so many of them – and I only have TWO!!! Will have to search for more now!6 years ago

  • Julie: Such a great list! I have “The Dirty Life”, “The Art of Fielding” and “Once Upon a River” on hold at the library right now. I just finished “Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk,” which was weird in a funny way (animal stories mean springtime, no?).6 years ago

  • nicole: “WILD”! by Cheryl Strayed. Amazing, and about rebirth … perfect for spring.6 years ago

  • Carrie Ann: The Language of Flowers was wonderful. I’ve been recommending it to everyone.6 years ago

  • Kerry: I’m rereading Little Women right now–I know a lot of people see it as more of a Winter book, since it starts out with Christmas, but I think it’s actually a great Spring book! I also agree with everyone who’s suggested Anne of Green Gables.

    Thanks for writing such a marvelous site!6 years ago

  • Ashley: I love a good love story for the Spring. Some of my recent favourite reads (not necessarily love stories): The Night Circus, The Girls by Lori Lansens, A Complicated Kindness and Suite Francaise.6 years ago

  • Easing into Spring « Pink of Perfection: […] bright rooms in the rear of a bungalow in Los Angeles. The setting felt like a tropical version of The Secret Garden: just off the street, in the middle of a vibrant neighborhood, was an L-shaped garden curling […]5 years ago

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