We’re back with more seasonal book suggestions. Whether you can finally read a book in the park, or it’s still cold and wet outside, these books are ideal for the reader who needs something short and sweet. Here’s just a few of our recommendations.
The 13 Clocks by James Thurber
Blossoming flowers and blustery days always make me want to take a fast and familiar story out to my front porch. This fairy tale/parable by James Thurber can be read in a few hours—it even has pictures!—but the story will stick with you much longer.
In the first few pages, you may think you can predict what’s going to happen to beautiful Princess Saralinda, her brave suitor Prince Zorn, and her evil uncle, the Duke. However, Thurber’s witty wordplay makes the journey a joy even while you anticipate the happy ending.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Spring is often when my wanderlust hits its peak. If you need to deal with your own cabin fever, try Americanah, which will take you to Nigeria, London, and New Jersey through immigrants’ eyes, which made these places feel new again to me.
Americanah is a love story about two young people in Nigeria who both emigrate to escape the country’s military dictatorship and eventually reunite in Nigeria again. Adichie’s writing is searing and hilarious in turns, and I deeply admire her complex characters and insightful commentary.
If you read her work, you should be able to hold your wanderlust at bay until the weather gets nicer, and you’ll thoroughly enjoy yourself in the meantime.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
Changing how you approach all of life’s problems certainly sounds breezy, right? Your mindset affects how you deal with success, failure, and everything in between. So, if you learn to embrace a growth mindset, coined by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, life certainly becomes breezier. And what better time to abandon a fixed mindset than spring, the season of revitalization?
The premise of a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset is easy enough to understand. It’s basically the difference between “I failed at this particular thing” and “I am a failure as a person.” How you shift your mindset to growth from fixed will take some work. When you know how to identify the signs of a fixed mindset, suddenly you have the power to change, which is the purpose of Dweck’s book.
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
When I think of breezy reads, my go-to suggestions are usually graphic novels. In general, graphic novels are beautifully illustrated and the plot packs a punch. It often takes under an hour to go through them, depending on their length!
I highly recommend The Prince and the Dressmaker. Prince Sebastian is under pressure to find a new bride while also suppressing his biggest secret: he dresses up in daring dresses and goes by the name of Lady Crystallia. He hires Frances, a dressmaker and his best friend, to create all of these outfits. However, both of them know it won’t be long before his parents—and his future bride—discover his secret. They both also know that the longer Frances hides Sebastian’s secret, the more she separates herself from her dream career as a high fashion seamstress.
If you or your child wants something quick, charming, and unique, then pick up this graphic novel.
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
When I started reading The Thief, I thought I was enjoying a thoughtful adventure novel set in a Byzantine-type fictional world full of myths, gods, goddesses, and humans. Then, about 3/4ths of the way through, the author pulled the rug out from under me, and I’ve never been more surprised by a plot twist. At least, until I read the rest of the series and she continued to pull rugs out from under me!
The Thief is the first in The Queen’s Thief series. I don’t know that I’ve read a cleverer, wittier, plot-twistier, more satisfying series in my life. I find it hard to even give an overview because I don’t want to give away the parts that will make you gasp. The books mainly follow the escapades and machinations of the thief, Gen. Though some books are from different characters’ perspectives, the story always comes back to Gen in one way or another.
You can technically read this series out of order, but I’d suggest reading them in order. And please, please, please get to the third book, King of Attolia. It’s in my top five.You will breeze through this series.
The Baby Grand, the Moon in July, and Me by Joyce Annette Barnes
When I want a quick, enjoyable read, I turn to middle-grade fiction, and one of my childhood favorites is The Baby Grand, the Moon in July, and Me by Joyce Annette Barnes. Enjoyable and inspiring, the book tells the story of a girl named Annie who wants to become an astronaut.
As Annie tunes in to watch humans walk on the moon for the first time, her family life becomes more complicated. When her brother buys a baby grand piano on credit and moves out in the wake of their parents’ anger, Annie worries that her family will never be the same. As the summer progresses, Annie turns her worry into action and becomes the change she wants to see.
Karavans by Jennifer Roberson
Karavans explores a group of fictional refugees fleeing their war-torn homeland. They have to pass by a menacing wood full of dark magic and demons in order to get to safety. But what happens if they get too close? With strong nature themes and a magical wood, there’s no better way to bring in the spring than giving this (and the other books in the trilogy) a good read. Sit in the sun and explore this new world—just don’t go into the woods.
And that’s it for now! What are your go-to short reads? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments or via social media.