Happy spring, y’all! One of our favorite springtime activities here at the library is (duh) reading – to be fair, we love reading during every season, but spring reading brings so many new possibilities! The extra hour of sunlight thanks to Daylight Savings Time plus balmier weather means a whole new world of reading opportunities: reading on the porch, at the park, on a hammock, walking around your neighborhood (be careful with this one), under a tree… aren’t you feeling rejuvenated just thinking about it? Since spring is all about sunny skies and nature’s renewal, we’ve rounded up some spring reading picks to indulge in as you take in the new season!
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Meet Ove: he’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time? Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations. Although it may seem odd to start off a springtime reading list with a book about a man in the “late autumn” of his life, so to speak, the sense of new life and renewal in this book is heartwarming and lovely. I particularly enjoyed this as an audiobook.
The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
As you witness nature renew itself and come into full bloom again, maybe you find yourself wanting to know more about how the world at large came to be. For this question, turn to this book, in which Bryson confronts his greatest challenge: to understand—and, if possible, answer—the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, traveling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining.
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
If you’ve not read this classic play, do yourself a favor and just do it. It’s very short, and just about the funniest dang book I’ve ever read. It’s witty language and the new romance in the story makes for a wonderful spring read. The story includes mistaken identities, secret engagements, and lovers entanglements and feels impossible to explain without giving too much away, but I’ll try anyway. Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax are both in love with the same mythical suitor. Jack Worthing has wooed Gwendolen as “Ernest” while Algernon has also posed as “Ernest” to win the heart of Jack’s ward, Cecily. When all four arrive at Jack’s country home on the same weekend the women fight for “Ernest’s” undivided attention and the “Ernests” try to claim their beloveds and pandemonium breaks loose. Only a senile nursemaid and an old, discarded hand-bag can save the day!
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Ok, so if you’re not actually willing to give up winter yet, I’d suggest this book. It takes place at the edge of the Russian wilderness where winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. It tells the story of Vasilisa, who spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil. After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows. And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent. As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed–this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.