It seems that some books are seasonal. It doesn’t feel right to pick up Macbeth in March, or A Christmas Carol in the summer, or Right Ho, Jeeves during finals week. So here are some suggestions for those rainy spring days (for us Houstonites, those days come pretty often).
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. There’s something refreshing about Austen’s writing—maybe it’s her snarky social satire, her playful characters, or the fact that she writes comedies that end in a marriage. Her writing, in short, sounds like spring. I chose Mansfield Park because it’s a lesser-read but more mature novel of Austen’s. The 1999 film is also a classic!
Any Sherlock Holmes story by Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock Holmes shouldn’t be read on sunny days, so a rainy day is perfect to pick up these classic mystery stories. You may say that mysteries are best read in the fall, but spring is often reminiscent, and I remember reading Sherlock Holmes stories with my twin brother on lazy spring afternoons, when playing outside meant getting covered in pollen, so we picked the indoors instead.
Confessions by Augustine. If you haven’t read this yet, run to the bookstore. Confessions is the amazing story of Augustine’s spiritual journey. It is full of repentance and renewal—two spring themes, as spring corresponds with both the confession season of Lent and the renewal and re-birth at Easter. Reading Augustine’s story will give you insight, too, to your own spiritual health. Don’t ask me how it works—but Augustine’s straightforwardness is revitalizing.
Wendell Berry. If you know me well, you probably knew this was coming. Berry’s This Day collection is grouped by year and then organized by date written within that year. So each year progresses from an early Sunday in the year, when spring is just emerging, to a late Sunday, when autumn comes in full force. His ability to describe nature is remarkable, and he still lives on his farm in Kentucky. I’ll leave you with a short excerpt:
At the woods’ edge, suddenly
the air around him was perfumed
with the scent of wild plum flowers.
The whitened trees were accompanied
by several redbuds also in bloom,
equally beautiful, and both
together more beautiful than either
alone. Nothing in the long winter
prepared him to imagine this, a moment
in a thousand years never old.
Wendell Berry, 2011