In the spring, I chase pure feelings: the sun on my back, the coolness of slipping into the water, the simple pleasures of being outside, being quiet, being golden.
While those are feelings I should always chase, the weather helps. I get definite spring fever. Since freshman year, I've always found a spot and camped out: on my favorite bench, or on a quilt on one of the commons. I'm my best self when I'm soaking up the good weather.
One of my favorite habits this year has just been going and sitting outside, no phone, no distractions unless I take a book. Forcing myself to have some much-needed mindfulness of just people-watching and absorbing my surroundings. When I do take a book, my preferences drift towards books that are sparse — evoking the pared-down, stripped qualities I love in a summer. Bare, simple, and fresh, while still having enough detail to sweep me away for a little while! I'm definitely going to post more of these as I hunger to read them — for a series — but for now, here are some picks to get you started if you're eager for the same feelings.
Novel: Moonglass by Jessi Kirby | Goodreads
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now, I've thought maybe my mother drowned in both. Anna's life is upended when her father accepts a job transfer the summer before her junior year. It's bad enough that she has to leave her friends and her life behind, but her dad is moving them to the beach where her parents first met and fell in love — a place awash in memories that Anna would just as soon leave under the surface. While life on the beach is pretty great, with ocean views and one adorable lifeguard in particular, there are also family secrets that were buried along the shore years ago. And the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide means that nothing — not the sea glass that she collects on the sand and not the truths behind Anna's mother's death — stays buried forever.
I read this book years ago -- when I first started blogging -- and it's one of the books I think about most often. The main character, Anna, is gentle but still vibrant. Her descriptions of the beach capture the sacred sensations of it, connecting it to family and her own coming-of-age, rather than the glorified bits of it that appear in so-called "beach reads." I read Moonglass for the feeling of being on the beach alone at night, or the cyclical nature of revisiting a place and realizing how much you've changed since you've been there last. It's lovely.
Novel: Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson | Goodreads
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Divided by time. Ignited by a spark.
Kansas, 2065. Adri has secured a slot as a Colonist—one of the lucky few handpicked to live on Mars. But weeks before launch, she discovers the journal of a girl who lived in her house over a hundred years ago, and is immediately drawn into the mystery surrounding her fate. While Adri knows she must focus on the mission ahead, she becomes captivated by a life that’s been lost in time…and how it might be inextricably tied to her own.
Oklahoma, 1934. Amidst the fear and uncertainty of the Dust Bowl, Catherine fantasizes about her family’s farmhand, and longs for the immortality promised by a professor at a traveling show called the Electric. But as her family’s situation becomes more dire—and the suffocating dust threatens her sister’s life—Catherine must find the courage to sacrifice everything she loves in order to save the one person she loves most.
England, 1919. In the recovery following the First World War, Lenore struggles with her grief for her brother, a fallen British soldier, and plans to sail to America in pursuit of a childhood friend. But even if she makes it that far, will her friend be the person she remembers, and the one who can bring her back to herself?
While their stories spans thousands of miles and multiple generations, Lenore, Catherine, and Adri’s fates are entwined.
When I wrote my review of this book originally, I noted that it was difficult to go into after having read Tiger Lily-- a complex, aching, gorgeous book that's one of my favorites. They're different: Midnight at the Electric is odd and muted but still has the same haunting lines that remind me why Jodi Lynn Anderson will always own me with her words. Although historical fiction (and to a certain extent, science fiction) elements within this book can make it heavy, the quiet lines make it a stunning and relatively quick read that you could lose yourself in during a few hours tucked away on a quilt outside.
Novel: Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour | Goodreads
Release Date: May 15, 2014
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
A love letter to the craft and romance of film and fate in front of—and behind—the camera from the award-winning author of Hold Still.A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.
I'm relatively certain I've reread this book every spring term at W&L, because it's so perfect for it: a colorful, poignant read that focuses on a passionate girl and an unsolved Hollywood mystery. The main character, Emi, is thoughtful and balanced, but also endlessly romantic about all the beauty around her. It makes for a compelling read, and it has so much sensory detail that wraps you up and doesn't let go. It's soft, detailed, and sensitive while still feeling larger-than-life.