Sunday, March 16, 2014

Spring Reads

Ah, spring.  Sunshine!  Birds, trees, flowers!  More sunshine!  Spring is far and away my favorite season.  I tend to be delusional about it--I'm the person who starts "smelling spring" in late January and I've been on a fiercely reality-denying bud lookout for months.  But this time I'm not making it up--spring is almost here and I couldn't be more thrilled.  Here are a few books that will put us all in a fresh, sunny mood.  Can't you just picture yourself reading these sprawled out on a grassy lawn?   I know I can.
1. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan:  Two of my favorite authors combine to write a great realistic fiction piece about love, champions and coincidences.  The premise: two seventeen year old boys--both named Will Grayson, although their personalities couldn't be more different--meet one night in Chicago and find their very different lives strangely intertwined.  This book has a sizable amount of improbable love, features a bit of the high school experience of a gay teen and culminates in an extremely fabulous musical.  This is a really great book to get you into the fresh spirit of spring.  Will Grayson, Will Grayson reminds that the possibility of new love is always there and that the hope of changing minds can't be lost.
2. The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff:  Through the metaphor of Winnie the Pooh characters, Hoff explains Taoism in an easy to understand, quite attractive package.  Although this book is purely philosophical (you may want to avoid it if you're not into that sort of thing), I found it pretty enlightening.  As a longtime lover of Winnie the Pooh and someone who aspires to be much more zen than I really am, The Tao of Pooh was a fun, easy read and made me want to implement some of the Taoist ideals into my life.  Don't confuse this with self help--it's more of a fiction/non fiction mix that's half Taoism history and digest of practices, half Winnie the Pooh snapshots and lovable dialogues.  If you want to learn something new this spring (and maybe become a little wiser), The Tao of Pooh is a great way to start.
3.  The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder:  This book may be sad, but it's hopeful too.  Sixteen year old Cam has cancer, and, having spent seven years searching for a cure, she's pretty reluctant to try the new one--her family is moving to Promise, Maine for one more try.  Weird things are supposed to happen in Promise, and they do--Cam meets the love of her life, receives a strange envelope and becomes less cynical--she starts to believe in miracles, as the title suggests.  The Probability of Miracles is a lot about finding hope even within the inevitable--I'll compare it to finding joy in spring even when you know winter isn't gone for good.
4. The Joys of Love by Madeleine L'Engle: Even though this book is set during summer, the title says it all--it's about new love and new possibilities, which clearly makes it a spring book too.  It centers on Elizabeth, who's working as a theater intern at a beachside town and has a dashing love, a great group of friends and is working her dream job.  However, her love is not who he seems and when she stands to lose her job, Elizabeth worries that her perfect summer is ruined.  As a theater kid myself, I loved the genuine details and the beautiful friendships she makes--it perfectly captures the theater experience.  Did I mention that The Joys of Love is set in the 40s?  The plot is perfectly classic and the new love, new life message is very spring-y and exciting.
Get happy, everyone!  Spring is in exactly 4 days, 4 hours (Yes, I'm counting.  Of course I'm counting.) and I can't wait.  Read away!

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