I’m feeling more sane today, guys! Thanks for all of your encouraging comments in my last post. The great* thing about pregnancy is that every day is different. The past few days I have had a hard time believing this baby would ever come out. But today I am more hopeful–still impatient, but hopeful.
I watched a Ted Talk by renowned midwife, Ina May Gaskin, about how we should stop making birth out to be a scary thing. She pointed out that humans are the only creatures on earth who doubt their ability to give birth. Which is why I plan on pretending I am a horse or a lioness in the hospital room. My birth team will love it. But really, it’s true. Why do we doubt what our bodies were made to do?
But I’m not here to talk about birth today. I want to talk about books!
Do you think of books as seasonal? I wouldn’t say that I do, but then I find myself holding off reading certain books for fall (Dracula) or winter (certain lengthier novels or Dickens). Summer reading lists are usually filled with lighter novels or re-reads. And spring? Spring is for inspiring ideas, getting out of ruts, and uplifting stories.
Here are the ten books for spring I think would make an ideal reading list:
1) The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
And now is the moment I realize that the first book on my inspiring and uplifting books list is one that deals primarily with the theme of death. But this book is far from depressing. Told from two perspectives, this book takes place in Paris and is about an observant, middle-aged concierge and a brilliant twelve-year-old tenant who has made plans to end her life on her thirteenth birthday. The two believe themselves to be misunderstood, until a wealthy tenant moves in and causes them to cross paths, and a surprising friendship is born. It’s charming and thought-provoking and just the thing for your reading stack, I know it.
2) Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
Everyone has read this book by now, right? If you’ve only seen the movie, that doesn’t count at all. Don’t even get me started on the movie.
The book, though…the book. The best way to convince you to read this book would be to tell you all the best parts, and I won’t do that because I’m not that kind of person. But this is a book for everyone, and falls under both the “inspiring” and “uplifting” categories so perfect for this season. It’s the true story of an Olympic athlete who serves in the Army Air Force during WWII. After his plane is shot down over the Pacific Ocean, a chain of events occurs that would be totally unbelievable as a fictional story. You will be moved at every turn, and the ending will make you want to sit in silence for a few hours before possibly considering moving on with everyday life. You don’t have to love WWII history to love this book. You just have to love a good story. And this is one of the best.
I’ve talked about both of these books many times before on Jeneric Generation (here and here, for starters), so I won’t beat a dead horse. But these books on personal style, living every moment to the fullest, organizing your day-to-day routine in a meaningful way, and loving your home, provide perfect motivation to get your spring cleaning underway and give you a fresh outlook on life.
5) The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
I haven’t read this book since I was a young girl, but it was one of the first books I thought of for my spring book list. Yes, this book is about a garden and springtime and enjoying the outdoors, but it is also a children’s book, which I think is a necessary category for all adults to engage in every once in a while. It’s a story of friendship between two lonely children, and the hope they find in an unusual garden.
6) The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
A study of four kinds of human love: affection, friendship, erotic love, and the love of God. “Love” means so many different things in our world today. Lewis’s reflections on these four types of love are so insightful and helpful in categorizing our thoughts on such a broad subject. One of my favorite Lewis quotes comes from this book:
“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”
I know. And there’s more where that came from. Have your highlighter ready.
7) My Life in France by Julia Child
I didn’t mean for such a strong French theme to evolve through this list, but so be it. This memoir by the wonderful Julia Child documents her move to France and the journey it leads her on–a journey of loving and learning to cook French food, and sharing that love and enthusiasm with her fellow Americans. If you like food or France or determined women who live life to the fullest, then you will love this book.
8) The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection by Robert Farrar Capon
I also didn’t mean for a food theme to emerge in this list, but what is Springtime without a little inspiration to try new things in the kitchen? Not only is this one of my favorite books about food, it is one of my favorite books in general. It is written by an Episcopalian priest and chef–the perfect combination for thoughtful reflections on homecooked food.
The majority of this book is devoted to a single recipe: lamb for eight persons four times. Now if that doesn’t make you want to head to the library right now, I don’t know what will. The recipe takes so long because he inserts so many antidotes about whatever else comes to mind–like how amazing and complex the onion is (there is an entire, wonderful, chapter on the onion). You will laugh out loud, poke the person nearest to you repeatedly until they agree to listen to another delightful paragraph, and run to the kitchen to see for yourself what magical things can happen in such a small room.
9) An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler