The calendar says that spring has sprung, but looking outside... spring has definitively not sprung. At least not where I am — New York City. The winds are still bitterly curb, all the curbs still have those charming puddles of melted slush, and everyone is feeling a healthy dose of late March cabin fever. If you, like me, are more than ready for flower and picnics and denim jackets, then here are a few books to read if you're anxious for spring to get here.
After all, spring is an underrated season for reading. People like the cozy, indoor reading of fall and winter, or the beachy, lightweight reading of summer, but I'd like to throw spring in the mix as a valid fourth option. Firstly, there are a lot of great books coming out this spring. Secondly, the whole world is coming back to life! The snow (or rather, the melted and refrozen slush) is gone. People are wearing flattering clothing again. You can sit outside with a book and make eyes at all the sad, single people who've been trapped inside all winter long. What better time for a rejuvenating read?
So if you're so ready for spring, here are a few books that'll give you a head start on flowers, warm weather, and springtime romance:
1. 'All Creatures Great and Small' by James Herriot
James Herriot's famous memoir covers every season, but it'll inspire you to actually go outside this spring, and perhaps touch an animal of some kind. Herriot recounts the funny, adorable, and bittersweet stories from his time as a veterinarian in rural England. He treats every kind of animal, from work horses to a pampered pekingese, and perfectly captures the beauty of the Yorkshire countryside.
2. 'Kabu-Kabu' by Nnedi Okorafor
There's something magical about the spring—even though it manages to arrive on schedule nearly every year. Kabu-Kabu captures the magic of the everyday, with a series of wildly inventive, fantastical short stories from Nnedi Okorafor. There's a story in here for everyone, dealing with everything from humor to romance to monsters. And each story is just long enough to read outside before you get cold.
3. 'A Walk in the Woods' by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson is the fun history professor of the literary world (the one who totally lets you eat pizza in class), and A Walk in the Woods is his hilarious, occasionally educational account of hiking the Appalachian Trail. It's the most entertaining virtual hike you'll ever take, and it might even inspire you to take a real hike when the weather warms up.
4. 'H is for Hawk' by Helen Macdonald
Want to greet spring as aggressively as possible? Get a pet hawk. Actually, you probably don't want to get a pet hawk, because Helen Macdonald's brilliant, heart-wrenching memoir makes it very clear that hawks are a big commitment. Her tale of hawking to work through grief is equal parts funny and poignant, and you'll definitely want to spend some quality time with your local fowl once you're finished.
5. 'A Room with a View' by E. M. Forster
Leaving winter and entering spring is kind of like leaving stuffy old Edwardian England for sexy, intense Italy. In A Room with a View, a young Englishwoman must choose between her morally repressed life in England and the allure of personal freedoms and warm weather in Italy (it's about fifty degrees inside my house right now and I know which I'd choose).
6. 'Here Comes the Sun' by Nicole Y. Dennis-Benn
If the title Here Comes the Sun conjures up images of sunny resort beaches and turquoise seas... you're half right. Nicole Dennis-Benn's novel is set in Jamaica, but it digs into the political and emotional realities at work behind "paradise." In Here Comes the Sun, Margot struggles to send her sister to school and navigate her own sexuality while facing down a threat that could destroy her entire community: a new hotel.
7. 'Anne of Green Gables' by L.M. Montgomery
No one does spring like Anne of Green Gables. Anne Shirley is just a straight up delight. She appreciates every aspect of life, she loves nature, and she understands the power of puffed sleeves as a fashion statement. If Anne of Green Gables doesn't make you feel like you're frolicking through a flowery field on Prince Edward Island, nothing will.
8. 'Swamplandia' by Karen Russell
Nothing says spring like alligators, right? Swamplandia! is a weird, quasi-magical novel set in the humid swamps of Florida, where the Bigtree family runs their gator-based theme park. The adventures of Ava Bigtree, a young gator wrestler, will bring an absurd ray of sunshine to the tail end of winter.
9. 'The Language of Flowers' by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Victoria Jones can only communicate through the Victorian language of flowers. This is the premise of The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh's gorgeous first novel. After a traumatic childhood in the foster care system, Victoria is left with nothing but her extensive knowledge of flower symbolism and a will to survive. It's the perfect spring-time read, both for the floral themes and for the story of one woman's rebirth.