Oh, isn’t it lovely outside with all the leaves turning various shades of burnt amber and the sky being a beautiful azure blue and the sun still shining even though it is very nearly October? How I love the changing seasons. England might be a rubbish place to live a lot of the time as it does rain considerably more than in other places (except for Scotland, and Seattle, apparently) but one thing it does do well is clearly delineating between seasons. In our green and pleasant land you know when it’s Autumn, and then when it’s Winter, and then when it’s Spring, and then when it’s Summer. I find this reassuring. I enjoy structure. This is why I work in an office.
I also like reading seasonally. There are certain books that evoke a particular season for me, perhaps because the first time I read them was during that time of year, perhaps because the action is set in that season, or perhaps just because they give me the feeling I associate with certain months. Some I have discovered fairly recently, and will be re-reading at the same time next year, others are old favourites that I always pull out for a comfort read, year after year.
There’s nothing like curling up with Jane Eyre beside my mum’s fire while the wind and rain lash against her lovely French windows and I am all safe inside, reading about Thornfield and the wild moors and Jane hearing Rochester’s cry on the wind… there is also nothing like sitting outside in the summer with the sun on my back and the delicious smell of roses in the air, reading about Emma matchmaking amongst the shrubbery. When I read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie I can smell pencil shavings and feel the excitement of a new school term, and imagine walking to school through the park, kicking up the golden leaves….it is pure autumn to me. And The Secret Garden is my ultimate spring book; the time of year when all is coming alive again, when hope springs eternal, when the sun is back and new plans are made, the story of Mary and Colin and their transformation from surly sickly things into healthy robust funloving children is wonderful and always gives me a real feeling of being revived after a long, cold and often dull winter.
Some of my favourite seasonal reads:
Persuasion by Jane Austen
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
Unless by Carol Shields
The Brimming Cup by Dorothy Canfield
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Possession by A S Byatt
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim
Illyrian Spring by Ann Bridge
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
Emma by Jane Austen
The Go Between by L P Hartley
Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald
Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
Do you have any books that you associate with certain seasons? Comfort reads that you return to at the same time of the year, every year? Or is it just me? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
**Edited to add, for all interested parties: The Children’s Book is progressing well…nearly 200 pages in and I am enjoying it immensely! Just a shame there are another 400 pages to go!**