A Spring Reading List

Wednesday, 23 March 2016


I love reading on a theme. A small selection of books which fit together nicely is just my cup of tea. As a little Easter gift to you, because you still bother to visit this neglected blog, I have put together a selection of spring reads from my bookshelves. Chosen not necessarily because all the action takes place in spring but because the voice of spring sings loud and hopeful in each.

The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge. 
Much-loved children's classic set in a fairy-tale version of the West Country. I first read it when I was about twelve and have loved it ever since.

Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas.
The lives of the inhabitants of a small Welsh town are described over the course of one spring day in this poem-play.

In the Springtime of the Year by Susan Hill.
A novel about grief set against the background of the changing seasons in the English countryside. Beautiful writing and not a gloomy read at all.

A Room With a View by E.M Forster
Lucy Honeychurch has her senses awakened in a field of violets in Italy.

An Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
Another Italian spring. Delightful.

The Darling Buds of May by H.E Bates
Spring in Kent. Perfick.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Hang spring cleaning!
As an aside, the chapter about Pan 'The Piper at the Gates of Dawn' makes an interesting companion to E.M Forster's short story The Story of a Panic.

Other books which spring to mind (see what I did there) are The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and Chocolat by Joanne Harris which is a very appropriate read right now as the story begins on Shrove Tuesday and ends at Easter.

What have I left out? I'd love to know your favourite springtime read.





30 comments:

  1. My favourite springtime read (or any time read) is The Wind in the Willows. So many people love it for Toad's adventures, but not me. You could take Toad completely out of the book, as far as I'm concerned. Just give me the descriptions of their homes and their meals and their picnics. Lovely.

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  2. I have a CD of Under Milkwood, read by Richard Burton which I adore. I also have a copy of the book which I like to read in my mother's Welsh accent.

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    1. I have the wonderful Richard Burton reading too, and also a more recent recording by Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce and every famous Welsh actor you can think of including Tom Jones (as Mr Waldo). Anthony Hopkins is easily as good as Burton.

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  3. (quietly fuming having just lost all of my comment that I was about to publish)
    I can't be doing with rewriting everything I just wrote, so I'll suffice to say you have chosen perfectly, Richard Burton reads Dylan Thomas delightfully (check out A Child's Christmas in Wales - also awesome for when Winter comes), and I can wholeheartedly recommend Cold Comfort Farm (Stella Gibbons) and Scoop (Evelyn Waugh) - both hilarious, both have been banned from my holiday reads by my husband as I have a habit of crying (shrieking) with laughter….

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  4. I'd not come across anyone who reads according to the time of year before I found your blog. The next book I read depends on what mood I'm in (and on what's in my bedside pile). I love A Room with a View. Another good springtime book could be Notwithstanding by Louis de Bernieres which is funny, moving and insightful.

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  5. Do love HE Bates - all that food!

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  6. What a great list for spring... Some I've read, others I intend to - and there are a few I've yet to come across. There are some perennial favourites ('Chocolat', 'The Darling Buds of May', 'The Secret Garden') but I like the sound of 'The Little White Horse' very much.
    Have you read 'Elizabeth and her German Garden'? I thought it was quite obscure when I found it on my mum's bookshelf but according to Wikipedia it's very popular.

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    1. Haven't read yet Sarah but I think I heard a reading of it on Woman's Hour years ago.

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  7. I love your blog,please don't stop writing although it's infrequent.

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  8. oh how I love the little white horse, and Chocolat. Love the film version of that too xx

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  9. Great news! A Susan Hill I hadn't heard of. I always pull Through the Kitchen Window down at this time of year, as you probably know. I don't think I've ever read Wind in the Willows all the way through.

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  10. I could have written Lucille's comment....a Susan Hill I hadn't heard of either...love the sound of it too. Thanks for the very interesting Easter gift x

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  11. Anonymous7:32 pm GMT

    Thanks for some great ideas. Not a whole book but I have always loved the description of the end of winter/ coming of Spring in the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.

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  12. I feel 'Four Hedges' by Clare Leighton brings a spring-like fervour to gardening endeavours even if you only look at the pictures.

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  13. Darling buds of May needs to be read outside, in a summerhouse, or lolling in a deckchair, so I can hear the bees buzzing and see the flowers blossoming. Lion, Witch Wardrobe is a glorious book for the Easter weekend with its wonderful resurrection theme. I do not know that Susan Hill. Will check out my library. Thanks again for the reviews x

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  14. Wholeheartedly concur with seasonal reading, and with all of the above. I would add My Uncle Silas, much of which is garden-related. Also, Susan Hill's 'The Magic Apple Tree' which covers all four seasons, but Spring is a favourite (together with Autumn) and there are chapters for each season on food, the garden, festivals and wildlife.

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  15. Anonymous12:29 pm GMT

    I loved Enchanted April, by chance I saw the movie and then managed to find the book here and buy it. An absolutely wonderful read, and a glorious fun movie to watch. I've tried to find a copy to buy but I can't. Jean in Winnipeg

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  16. I love Little White Horse too and the Secret Garden. I have just watched Enchanted April (again) this afternoon and enjoy both the film and the book. I have read Elizabeth and her German Garden which I enjoyed, but doesn't have the magic of Enchanted April. A lovely selection of books for this time of year.
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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  17. An excellent springtime book selection - some of my favorites are in there and some that I haven't read yet. Thank you for sharing, and have a lovely Easter!
    cathy x

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  18. It is always lovely to see you posting, and I often read older posts, especially Not Camping.

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  19. We 'read' Under Milk Wood as a set book at school, at the time that the film came out - 1972. Our class was taken to see the film - on the condition that we averted our eyes at certain scenes!! (I know - a very sheltered education!)

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  20. I love several of those, Sue, and so good to see you opting again. Please, don't give up posting I do so enjoy reading your blog. I am getting slower at posting myself, but when I do, I really like what I've done- the photos especially. So many of my favourite bloggers moving on or falling by the wayside. Hang on in there! Lxx

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  21. Sue, I am very late in reading this post, but wanted to wish you and yours a Happy Easter, while it is still Easter over here. I want to return later on with a proper comment about those books.

    xo

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  22. Some of my favourite books there, although I am another one that has never read right to the end of The Wind in the Willows, I should make an effort to do just that. I first discovered The Darling Buds of May when the television series started and loved the book even more :-)

    My favourite springtime read is 'Through the Kitchen Window' also by Susan Hill.

    It's lovely isn't it, and oh so relaxing to pick up an old favourite, and even though you know the story and the outcome find yourself drifting off into the pages.

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  23. Hey Sue,
    So I thought I'd commented, but it turns out that I didn't. I do that a lot. Same with replying to texts. The Springtime Of The Year is a wonderful book. I read it last year. I'm currently reading Tracey Chevalier's new novel, 'At The Edge Of The Orchard' I'm enjoying it very much.
    Leanne xx

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  24. Loved The Little White Horse many years ago - even if today can barely remember anything about it other than the description of the geraniums!! Not specifically spring, but Under the Greenwood Tree made me notice and appreciate trees in a completely new way...

    First time of commenting even if I've been following for a long time... love your blog which always inspires with its beautiful photos and great recipe ideas!

    Do you do requests for blog posts?! Wondering if you would consider writing about meal planning and organisation, an area I've always struggled with... how to shop efficiently and choose things in season as well as managing to eat everything up before it goes off! Currently only cooking for 2 but having upgraded from 1, even this seems a challenge. Thanks for all your words of wisdom :-)

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    1. Thanks for your comment and for reading. I'm struggling to motivate myself to write anything at the moment I'm afraid, but I'll keep your request in mind. Meanwhile if you look at the labels on my sidebar, there is a 'home economy' one. Click that and you should find quite a lot of posts on meal planning and using up leftovers.

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    2. Thanks for your reply! I have a blog myself and understand about lacking motivation/energy! I am gradually discovering lots of v useful stuff in the archived material, esp under home economy. Why is this kind of stuff not taught in schools? (I know some have home economics, but I didn't, and at any rate I don't think it's usually about being frugal/using things up creatively). I'm learning slowly, but still find simply deciding what to buy hard (and how much of it...), when faced with the bewildering array of a typical supermarket. Thank you again!

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  25. Hi Sue - a little late commenting here (have been away). Have been doing a goodly amount of reading - have read just about everything Ann Cleeves has written. Have read some old timers A Robin Forsythe Missing or murdered from 1929, enjoying Margery Allingham's Albert Campion books, Louise Penny's books set in Canada, have read the Paris Wife and about to read All the Light we cannot see Anthony Doerr. When any light reading required I can always resort to Georgette Heyer. Enjoy your selection. Cheers, Sheridan in Queensland.

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  26. I like the idea of putting together collections of books from the ones I already own. I can imagine this would make a nice instagram challenge!

    If you haven't read The Enchanted April recently, enough to not mind reading it again, it is going to be the book for our very first read-along over at Brocante Home. It would be lovely to 'see' you there!

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