Books to read outside this spring

3 min read

Having spent all winter indoors, wrapped in blankets, it’s time to select a good book and head outside for some refreshing springtime reading. Whether you like reading in a cafe courtyard, your own garden or on a park bench, we’ve selected some adventurous, romantic and thought-provoking reads for you to enjoy this April.

1. Persuasion – Jane Austen (1817)

Jane Austen's Persuasion

 

‘...hoping that she was to be blessed with a second spring of youth and beauty.’

To marry for love or financial security – that is the question.
Faced with family financial pressures, Austen’s protagonist Anne Elliot becomes the victim of misplaced persuasion. However, from an autumn of conflicted feelings there rises a spring of new hope and second chances.

Moving and mature, romantic and sincere, Austen’s final novel is stylistically different to her other works. Combining social comedy with sober reflection, it is a charming yet satirical springtime read.

 

 2. Fair Stood the Wind for France – H. E. Bates (1944)

Fair Stood the Wind for France by H. E. Bates‘Fair stood the wind for France,

When we our sails advance...’

Injury, refuge, romance and adventure combine to create a simply written but beautiful tale. While laced with pain and uncertainty, Bates also brings a taste of romance and adventure to his novel. 

The story follows John Frankland, a pilot injured after a forced landing in Occupied France. Through exquisite descriptions, Bates tells of struggle and tragedy, but also of love, loyalty, adventure and hope.

Shop vintage H.E.Bates

 

3. Shirley – Charlotte Bronte (1849)

“Love is real...the sweetest and yet the bitterest thing we know.”

Shirley, an exploration of gender binaries and social ideologies. Set in Yorkshire’s Spen Valley during the industrial revolution, it imagines the true meaning of female freedom and independence.

As an unromantic social commentary, the novel is an ambitious literary feat. Its two literary heroines contrastingly, but profoundly, represent female independence and oppression in Victorian society.

Shop Charlotte Bronte's Shirley

 

 

4. Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe (1719)

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

“It is never too late to be wise.”

Robinson Crusoe, the tale of a castaway stranded on a desert island. Defoe’s sense of realism and adventure are brilliantly crafted, interwoven with his profound exploration of human loneliness, existence and survival.

Life and death, adventure and tragedy. An existence bound by the passage of time. Readers share in Crusoe's adventures and trials as his island prison becomes his unspoiled paradise.

 Shop Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe

 

 

5. Torrents of Spring – Ernest Hemingway (1926)

The Torrents of Spring by Ernest Hemingway‘Spring would soon be here.’

 

Filled with humour and wit,Torrents of Spring is one of Hemingway’s less familiar works. With its satirical bite, it is both intellectual and ludicrous a brilliant parody of conventional fiction.  

Set in the Michigan springtime, Hemingway’s novel is a declaration of his literary independence.  It offers a glimpse into his early writing, which although severe in it’s parodies (of Sherwood Anderson’s novelDark Laughter in particular) is a wonderfully realistic and humorous narrative.

Shop vintage Ernest Hemingway

 

 6. Cider with Rosie – Laurie Lee (1959)

Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee"Bees blew like cake-crumbs through the golden air...”

 

A charming and sophisticated story, reminiscent of times gone by. Laurie Lee’s poignant memoir beautifully captures the joys and trials of 1920’s village life. Set against the backdrop of war, in the idyllic village of Slad, his writing paints a picture of a place on the verge of change. 

Both tangible and nostalgic, Lee’s novel blends together darkness and light, realism and romance. With its rich pastoral setting and intriguing characters, it is an endearing and ideal April read. 

Shop vintage Laurie Lee

 

7. Silmarillion – J. R. R. Tolkein (1977)

The Silmarillion by Tolkien

“Farewell sweet earth and northern sky…”

Combining factual details and mythology,Silmarillion provides a complex cosmology of Tolkein’s fictional universe. Although unlike Tolkein’s other works, it is an undeniably epic narrative. 

Tolkein’s mastery of language and mythological detail can only be admired.Silmarillion shares an intense and elaborate mythology a deep dive into Tolkein’s mysterious world.

 

Shop vintage Tolkien

 

 

8. Virgil, The Pastoral Poems (1949)

The Pastoral Poems by Virgil ‘...stay here, between the rivers that you know so well...’ 

 

Most of us know Virgil for his most famous work -The Aeneid. Less well-known are his pastoral poems which vividly capture visions of country life and lover’s’ romances. 

Through Virgil’s work, the pastoral became a poetic genre in its own right. Both epic and humble, his ‘rural’ poems vividly intertwine romance with nature and are perfect for lovers of outdoor reading.

 Shop vintage Virgil

 

  

 

    

In summary 

Whether you read outside often or have never tried it, the coming of spring provides the perfect opportunity to venture out of doors with a good book. 

Choosing your next read can be tricky, but we hope that with this list to guide you, you’ll discover a book that you haven’t read, or perhaps even heard of, before.  


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