I go through this ever year, but: yes, there is still snow on the ground; yes, it is below freezing outside; and yes, “spring” never seems to really arrive in Michigan until sometime in mid-April (or, if you’re last year, mid-May, when winter decided to give spring a miss and headed straight into summer).
But despite all that, YES! It is time to make my spring 2015 reading list! Woo! *cue fireworks!* *there go the cheerleaders!* *the crowd roars!*
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, I typically create a new “reading list” for myself every three months – those three months just so happen to correspond with the seasons. March-May is spring, June-August is summer, September-November is fall, and December-February is winter. Duh.
I started following a seasonal reading list soon after graduating from college in 2009, and since then, I’ve very much enjoyed this method of organizing my reading life. Besides the four times a year I actually write the lists, I never have a “what-am-I-going-to-read-next???” moment. And because of that, I’m less likely to a) be tempted by trendy books, and b) let too much time lag between books. Lord knows, what with grad school and all, I have a hard enough time finding spare moments to read for fun nowadays, the last thing I need is for a bout of indecision that allows me to get sucked in ‘Downton Abbey’ again.
Plus, creating a list of what I want to read in the upcoming three months allows me to be more deliberate with my reading choices. I’m constantly cross-checking the various lists that I follow, from lists of major award winners, to other fun reading lists that I’ve saved. By planning ahead, I’m able to make sure that my reading choices are balanced and I’m working on hitting my goals. The order in which I read these books often changes, and sometimes I add books near the end if it looks like I’ll have enough time in the month, but during the past year, I’ve been fairly accurate with how many books I can read in a three-month period. Right now, that’s around 9-10 books. Not the best record if I’m going for stretch goals, but it’s fairly realistic given my work schedule + class schedule + homework + general life.
All that is a lot of explanation for my new list … woo! I always get excited when I create a new list. It’s like new beginnings, you know? And after February just kicked everyone in the ass, and reminded me why this part of winter always sucks, we need some new beginnings around here. New beginnings, new life, a new-found sense of optimism … it’s what spring is all about.
These are the books I’m planning on reading this spring:
In the Woods – Tana French: This book has been sitting on my shelf for awhile, and I’ve heard rave things about it. Plus, I need something that I can move onto fast, since I am currently book-less.
Yes Please – Amy Poehler: It’s Amy Poehler … no explanation needed. There’s still a lot of buzz around this book, but this is one I actually want to read, so I think now is as good a time as any. I just hope I can snag a copy from my library.
Out of Africa – Isak Dinesen: This is a classic I haven’t gotten to yet, and I’m a little excited to see what it’s all about (haven’t seen the movie yet … maybe this will inspire me?).
Penelope Fitzgerald – Hermoine Lee: This in keeping with my goal to read at least a few “new releases” this year, and even though this was published in 2014, I think it counts. This was the one book I’ve wanted to read the most out of all the “best-of” lists I’ve scanned so far.
Music for Chameleons – Truman Capote: This is part of my Favorites Project, in which I re-read one of my favorite books twice a year. I’ve read In Cold Blood by Truman Capote for this project as well, but this slim volume was the book that convinced me that Truman Capote was way more than just Breakfast at Tiffany’s. His most underrated book, by far, but I think his most beautiful.
The Sandman series – Neil Gaiman: Truth: I have never read Neil Gaiman. *commence stoning* It’s not that I doubt he’s awesome, it’s just I’ve never gotten around to it. Well, this is me “getting around” to reading The Sandman series, which I’ve been wanting to do – very badly – for awhile now. I’m very excited.
Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton: This is part of my Revisiting the Classics Project, in which I re-visit a “classic” that I read years and years ago … but never particularly liked. These are mostly books I read in high school, when perhaps my teenage brain was not mature enough to appreciate them. A lot of the time, this project has shown me that my initial impressions still ring true today, but I think it’s good to give non-favorite classics another shot, if only to better appreciate why they earned this title in the first place.
Bring Up the Bodies – Hilary Mantel: This was another book I specifically wanted to read this year, mainly because I was so blown away by Wolf Hall last year. This is the second installment of the Thomas Cromwell trilogy Mantel has started, and it won the Booker Prize, so really, I would be doing a disservice to myself if I didn’t read this book. This should be nice after reading Ethan Frome, especially if I still don’t like it.
The Executioner’s Song – Norman Mailer: And before anyone thinks I’m prejudiced against male writers, I’m going to throw in perhaps the most famous book by a very famous, very male, very white, author. I’ve never read Norman Mailer before, so this should be interesting. Plus, this book is high on my lists for “best nonfiction” reads, and lately, I’ve been super into novels. Gotta spread the love.
And finally, I recently bought Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman and I’ve decided that I’m going to slowly work my way through that very long lyrical poem throughout the spring. I’m going to have to look at this book again and make a real plan – something regarding page goals per week, or something – but I’d much rather do it this way than try reading it all at once. It just … wouldn’t work. Especially given this is my last semester of graduate school, and so I anticipate being busy and distracted.