I love all of the seasons, but there's just something about spring... especially its fresh days, new life, and the optimism in the air.
Some part of it is probably because I grew up on a farm where spring meant crisp mornings, blossom on the trees, and lambs in the fields.
Now, living in Denmark, spring is what we look forward to all through the dark and drizzly winters (even if they're hygge).
In this post, I've compiled my favourite books that feel like spring for hopeful, optimistic, and rejuvenating reading.
Some of these books are about spring or set in the spring, while others just have spring vibes.
Read on to replenish your spring reading list and find new bookish inspiration for what Tolstoy's Levin calls the time for plans and projects...
The best books with spring vibes to energize you after winter
1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
“Everything is made new in the spring. Springs themselves are always so new, too. No spring is ever just like any other spring. It always has something of its own to be its peculiar sweetness.”
Anne of Green Gables is the perfect feel-good classic to read in spring. This beloved story of an orphan finding her place in the world is about new beginnings, second chances, and noticing the beauty of the world around us.
2. A Country Year: Living the Questions by Sue Hubbell
In this seasonal diary that runs from one spring to the next, Sue Hubbell has crafted a wonderfully peaceful book about living alone yet finding community with wildlife and country folk.
After her thirty-year marriage broke up, Sue Hubbell found herself alone and broke on a small Ozarks farm. However, as she found solace in the natural world, Sue began to understand and share what she cared most about in life.
The result, A Country Year, is a stunning book about life on the land and a woman finding her way in middle age.
3. Things to Look Forward To: 52 Large and Small Joys for Today and Every Day by Sophie Blackall
Big things, small things… one of the secrets of happiness is having things to look forward to.
In Things to Look Forward To, beloved author and Caldecott Award-winning illustrator Sophie Blackall has gathered a collection of joyful everyday magic to reignite our hope and love for the world.
With wisdom and whimsy, the 52 illustrated ideas in this book offer moments of hope, joy, and solace, whether you’re going through hard times or in excited anticipation of new beginnings.
4. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
“Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.”
The Wind in the Willows is one of my favourite books about spring, beginning with Mole spring cleaning his home. (He soon grows exhausted and decides to heed the call of spring and head above ground to enjoy the warm weather.)
What follows is a celebration of Mole's spring fever as he sets forth into the world with Mr. Toad, Badger, and Ratty in one of the most charming pieces of English literature.
5. Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa
“'We were born in order to see and listen to the world.’ It’s a powerful notion, with the potential to subtly reshape our view of everything.”
Sweet Bean Paste, a delightful slice-of-life book, tells the story of Sentaro, a man who dreams of becoming a writer but in fact has a criminal record, drinks too much, and spends his days in a tiny confectionery shop selling sweet bean paste pancakes.
But when he meets Tokui in springtime, an elderly woman with a troubled past, everything changes for both of these memorable characters. It's a wonderfully uplifting story of friendship to read in spring.
6. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
Pick up a copy and escape to a sun-kissed villa on the Italian Riviera with four middle-aged women seeking a change from dreary London.
7. The Walker’s Guide to Outdoor Clues and Signs by Tristan Gooley
In many of the places I've lived, the start of spring means the return of longer walks and hiking. What better time to pick up this beautiful guide to reading the signs and secrets of the natural world?
Tristan Gooley is my go-to recommendation for learning about the natural world as you head out into nature and hear the chatter of birds, notice the rustle of a deer in the forest, or observe a tree shaped by the wind.
Start with The Walker’s Guide to Outdoor Clues and Signs, or browse Tristan's other books to see what appeals most to you.
8. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
“Spring is the time of plans and projects,” ponders Levin in Anna Karenina. In this Russian classic, Leo Tolstoy weaves an intricate labyrinth of connections in 1870s Russia, from high society St Petersburg to the country threshing fields in spring.
Anna Karenina isn't without its darkness, but it's also a book about renewal and rebirth.
I've shared my advice on the best translations of Anna Karenina, but for the short answer, I'm a fan of Rosamund Bartlett's version.
9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Maybe it's the familiarity of the book, or perhaps it's the optimism and freshness of Longbourn, but there's just something about Pride and Prejudice that makes it perfect for spring reading.
Retreat into the book's pages for the first time or the fiftieth and feel your heart defrost after a long winter.
10. A Poem for Every Spring Day by Allie Esiri
"My heart leaps up when I behold / A rainbow in the sky"... If I had to choose a single poet to read in spring, it would be Wordsworth, but it's also the perfect season to explore new writers.
A Poem for Every Spring Day is a charming collection of the best poetry to read in spring, offering a poem for every day of the season from celebrated poets including Maya Angelou, Wendell Berry, Lewis Carroll, and Margaret Atwood.
11. Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher
Rosamunde Pilcher is one of the best authors to read when you're craving comfort and familiarity. This makes her books perfect for cozy evenings in, but Coming Home is also a lovely book to read in spring.
Coming Home is the coming-of-age story of Judith Dunbar, a young girl left behind at a British boarding school in 1935 when her mother and baby sister go off to join her father in Singapore.
At Saint Ursula's, Judith learns about values, friendship, and wealth. But it will be the drama of war, as it wrenches Judith from those she cares about most, that will teach her about courage – and love.
12. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
“Is the spring coming?" he said. "What is it like?"... "It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine...”
The Secret Garden is one of the best sorts of children's stories: a book that is just as wonderful for adults as children, offering an uplifting journey from darkness into light.
For orphaned Mary Lennox, the gardens surrounding her uncle's spooky house on the Yorkshire Moors are her only escape.
When she discovers a secret garden enclosed by walls and locked with a missing key – as well as two unexpected companions – she becomes determined to bring it back to life.
13. Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl
When I find a book published by Milkweed Editions, my heart does a little dance. Late Migrations is Margaret Renkl's unusual, captivating portrait of family and the cycles of joy and grief that are part of all lives in the natural world.
Ringing with rapture and heartache, these essays convey the dignity of bluebirds and rat snakes, monarch butterflies and native bees, and conjure the magic and astonishment to be found in what seems ordinary.
14. The Old Capital by Kawabata Yasunari
I love to read Japanese books in spring. The Old Capital is one of the three novels cited by the Nobel Committee when they awarded Kawabata the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968, as a perfect example of the ethereal and poetic tone characteristic of his prose.
It's the beautifully-written story of Chieko, the adopted daughter of a kimono designer, Takichiro, and his wife, Shige. Set in Kyoto, the old capital of Japan (a title it held for 1,000 years,) Chieko is troubled to discover the true facets of her past.
Complement this with The Sakura Obsession, Naoko Abe's gorgeous non-fiction story of the improbable English eccentric who saved Japan’s beloved cherry blossoms from extinction.
Looking for even more books to read in spring? Enjoy these books about new beginnings, soothing books to remind you of the beauty of life, and cottagecore books to imagine a simple, cozy life in nature.
Enjoy more from me
- Retreat into my new book, Your Life in Bloom: Finding Your Path and Your Courage, Grounded in the Wisdom of Nature.
- I'm also the author of Mountain Song: A Journey to Finding Quiet in the Swiss Alps, a book about my time living alone by the mountains.
- If you love books, are feeling a little lost right now, and would love some gentle comfort and guidance, join The Sanctuary, my seven-day course to rebalance your life.