Friday, April 28, 2017

Spring Reading: Favorite Books that Remind Me of Spring

Have you ever read a book that encapsulated the feel of a particular season? 

Of course there are Halloween books or Christmas books that make you think of those holidays and the seasons they are associated with, but what about a random book that just seems to invoke a certain seasonal feeling? For example, Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring always reminds of me of a crisp, golden afternoon in early Autumn. Tolstoy's Anna Karenina makes me think of a grey snowy day in winter (even when at least half of that book is actually set in spring and summer). 

With the weather being as erratic as it has been this year, where it seems like we have moved from winter to a hot summer with very little in between, I have decided to make  a list of my favorite books that always remind me of actual spring: mild weather, misty rain, buds and flowers, new life and fresh beginnings.

Enchanted April1. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim
This one feels like a bit of an obvious cheat, but really, no spring reading list can be complete without what is a quintessentially spring classic. The Enchanted April follows the lives of four English women as they decide to leave behind their dreary London routines and unhappy relationships and rent an Italian castle for the month of April. It's a lighthearted read with beautiful scenery descriptions, likable characters, and a dash of witty dialogue.  

Chalice2. Chalice by Robin McKinley
When the Master of Willowlands dies with no heirs, the king's youngest brother returns from the mysterious and mystic Priesthood of Fire to take up the role of ruler. Mirasol, a beekeeper in the province finds herself thrust into the role of Chalice, which is a mix of adviser to the ruler and emissary of the land itself. Mirasol must deal with a role that she was never prepared for, try to heal a land fractured by the previous ruler's tyranny and abuse, and learn to help a man who is no longer truly human and burns everything that he touches. This is one of my favorite fantasy books, more like a dreamlike fairy tale, with some beautiful writing and a hint of a Beauty & The Beast-esque romance.

3. The Bees by Laline Paul 
Follows the life of Flora 717, a lowly sanitation honeybee, who finds out that she is able to produce offspring which puts her in direct conflict with her hive's queen. I don't read a lot of anthropomorphic novels, but this is a good one. Not only is it a fun read with a slightly sinister dystopian undertone, it's also super informative as well if you ever wanted to know anything about bees.

Kingfisher4. Kingfisher by Patricia McKillip
Everything written by Patricia McKillip is dreamy and illusory, and this novel is no exception. When Pierce, the son of a powerful sorceress, finds out the truth about who his father is, he leaves behind his home in the middle of nowhere and gets caught up in a quest to find a mysterious artifact of an ancient god. This reads like a loving homage to Arthurian legend, set in an interestingly modern fantasy setting that is not in the urban/contemporary sub-genre. With several characters and subplots, this is a strange but pretty fantasy novel that stuck with me a long time after reading it. 

5. To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
To the Lighthouse loves to show up on many "most difficult books to read" lists, but do not be deterred from giving it a try! Virginia Woolf uses nonlinear narrative and stream of consciousness here, but the writing is absolutely wonderful. The novel follows the Ramsay family on their vacations to The Hebrides over a ten year time span. Very nostalgic in tone with lyrical writing and wonderful descriptions, it's not an action-packed novel by any means, but is incredibly atmospheric and feels something like an impressionist painting in book form. 

I Capture the Castle6. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
This is an super charming and romantic bildungsroman that is a great read for adult and young adult readers alike. The novel is told through 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain's journal entries, who is currently living in a dilapidated English castle with her father, stepmother, and older sister. In order to hone her writing skills, Cassandra fills the pages of her journal with descriptions of her current life and how things begin to change when a family of wealthy Americans move into the estate next door. 

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