Friday, March 18, 2016

Preparing for Spring Reading, not Spring Cleaning

Heartened by the jaunty daffodils (above) that appeared seemingly overnight in my yard, I devised a list of springtime reading to carry me through this most bewitching season.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
The opening of this delightful tale finds Mole fed up with spring cleaning. His escape from those worrisome chores is the start of his many adventures with Rat, Badger, and Toad. 

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
Who of us can resist this captivating story of four women who spend the month on holiday in Italy to escape the grey, rainy days of the English spring. I wrote about it in 2012 here. It is such a lovely movie as well.

Uncle Fred in the Springtime by P.G.Wodehouse
I am ready to read any of the Blandings Castle books no matter what the season. This one concerns a fitness program for the Empress of Blandings (Lord Emsworth's prize pig), romance, money troubles, Mickey Finns, a locked cupboard, and other Wodehouse shenanigans.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
This classic was one that I didn't discover until I was an adult. The story of the (dare I say it?) budding friendship between Mary and Colin, along with Dickon and his affinity for the creatures of the moors, proved to be one that definitely calls for rereading.

The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
Of course there are many, many garden books to choose from - Merry Hall by Beverley Nichols and Onward and Upward in the Garden by Katharine White - but this one by Czech writer Capek is a literate and funny account of his trials and tribulations in making his garden grow. A bonus: The illustrations are by the author's brother Joseph. (See his Gardener's Prayer below in Penny's comments.)

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
I don't know if this one actually takes place in the spring, but it is such a humorous telling of a boating holiday on the Thames that I thought I would include it anyway. It is part travelogue, part history, and All Fun. Just the book to read during a seasonal downpour. 

What books have you unearthed for spring reading?


  1. A wonderful springtime list and some of my all-time favorites.
    We read Karl Capek's "A Gardener's Year" two years ago for the book study group of my garden club and reviewed it during a frigid snowstorm. What a lively discussion we had. I use his "Gardener's Prayer" often in when needing an invocation at large meetings. Love it.

    1. Hi, Penny. I read Mr. Capek's book many years ago and it has stuck with me and I want to reread it. I am not a gardener and only get my hands dirty via other people's experiences. That is why I love the Beverley Nichols books so much. I don't remember Capek's Gardener's Prayer (probably because I am not one) but I will pay special attention to it when I reread the book.

    2. Here it is, Belle. I'm not certain it is in "A Gardener's Year", but, it one I have used and each time I do, someone asks me for it.
      I realize it is taking up a great deal of space, so, you might want to delete it. Penny

      O Lord, grant that in some way
      it may rain every day,
      Say from about midnight until three o'clock
      in the morning,
      But, You see, it must be gentle and warm
      so that it can soak in;
      Grant that at the same time it would not rain on
      campion, alyssum, helianthus, lavendar, and others which
      You in Your infinite wisdom know
      are drought-loving plants-
      I will write their names on a bit of paper
      if you like-
      And grant that the sun may shine
      the whole day long,
      But not everywhere (not, for instance, on the
      gentian, plantain lily, and rhododendron)
      and not too much;
      That there may be plenty of dew and little wind,
      enough worms, no lice and snails, or mildew,
      and that once a week thin liquid manure and guano
      may fall from heaven.

    3. Thanks, Penny. The perfect prayer!

  2. What a terrific list! I've read them all except for Uncle Fred in the Springtime. I'll forgive you your pun, too!

    1. Hi, Joan. Well, spring is just the season to spend time at Blandings Castle. I think the Uncle Fred book is about in the middle of the series. I have read them all except for the last one, 'Sunset at Blandings', because I don't want to think that those characters are gone. Just like I won't read the final Hercule Poirot mystery!

  3. Spring reading is much more fun than spring cleaning! Love your list and have read and enjoyed several of them. At the moment, the only spring-ish book I'm reading is the lovely one you sent me: The Shape of a Year. I'm enjoying it very much, have finished March and am waiting (im)patiently for April.

    1. Hi, Kathy. Glad you are enjoying Jean Hersey's book. Her New England seasons begin a little later than here in the South but that didn't diminish the pleasure of my reading.

  4. Spring reading is MUCH better than spring cleaning. :) And Enchanted April is a perfect book to read in the spring; it's one of my favorites. I don't have a list of spring-reading books, but you've inspired me to start one. :) Happy reading!

    1. Yes, Lark. Spring cleaning is definitely out! Let me know what blooms on your reading list!