Seasons of Reading

Every fall, when the school buses begin their appointed rounds and the very uttermost edges of the maple leaves begin to curl, I’m pulled into a scene from a beloved book – a college campus and a narrative arc that spans a generation’s worth of sorrow and rejoicing.  I’m pulled into the longing for a season’s essence.  For me, it’s Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner, but for C.S. Lewis it was Beatrix Potter’s Squirrel Nutkin:

“It troubled me with what I can only describe as the Idea of Autumn.  It sounds fantastic to say that one can be enamored of a season, but that is something like what happened; and, as before, the experience was one of intense desire.  And one went back to the book, not to gratify the desire (that was impossible – how can one possess Autumn?) but to reawake it.”  (Surprised by Joy)

And so it is for me:

With Anna Karenina and the towering trees and frosty air of her vast land in winter;

With the heavy southern heat and a slammed screen door in To Kill a Mockingbird;

With a mid-western spring viewed through an open window as John Ames ponders his own mortality and the wonder of his young son chasing a ball in Gilead.

I don’t have nearly enough time to re-read all these books every year, but I really don’t need to because they have done their work, left their impression, and been joined by countless images from other worlds, other authors, other observant and well-portrayed characters in novels (Jan Karon beautifully paints both scenes and seasons); read-alouds with my boys (Cynthia Rylant takes her beloved characters through snow, mud, and tall green grass!); and memoirs (Sue Hubbell’s A Country Year is a fixture on my night stand).

My enjoyment of every season is heightened by reading about its beauty.

As the squirrels start hiding their acorns, as my canning shelves begin filling up in the furnace room, and as the geese begin practice maneuvers over the pond, I’m wondering:

What books cause you to be “enamored of a season?”

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16 thoughts on “Seasons of Reading”

  1. Speaking of C.S. Lewis, I have been fascinated by his use of seasons as symbolism. In “Prince Caspian” the end of summer was noted as a time of sorrow. In “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” winter is a season of oppression and enslavement.

    In Spring, I am often reminded of Lewis’s description of Spring coming to Narnia with Aslan’s return.

    Thank you for sharing!


  2. This past summer I made a commitment to read the classics which I admit a majority I have not read. I am currently readng Pride and Predjudice. On my list to read, Wuthering Heights, Sense and Sensibility, Anna Karenina, Jane Eyre, Emma and many more.

    Of the books that have had a profound effect on me are those of the saints before us, from the mission fields. I call them mentoring books.

    Thanks for sharing this community!


    1. Good for you. Like you, I missed a lot of the classics in high school and college, so have tried to catch up since. Right now I’m diving into Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton. And, yes, some of my most profound influences have been books and authors.


  3. Anne of Green Gables would have to top my list of books that cause me to be “enamored of a season”! Great post! Thanks for sharing it at Booknificent Thursday this week!


  4. Wow! I’ve never paid attention to the mention of seasons in books, but I shall from now on. I love to read, so you have given me much to ponder when I read my next book. Thank you for linking up at The Loft. You bring beautiful words to our little group.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, you are so right – To Kill a Mockingbird smacks of Summer.

    For me, Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea also describe the seasons well.

    Thank you for sharing at The Loft. I love the way you weave books into our topic!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A bit late, but this is such a great post! Thank you for lining it up at the Loft!
    I think some of my favorite books, for all seasons, are the Anne of Green Gables books. All of the seasons are covered, and I love Anne’s wording when she talks about them!


  7. In “To Kill a Mockingbird” – when they’re walking home in their costumes – that captures a thread of Autumn! I love Beatrix Potter. I read my first Karan book this year – and it was so lovely I read another! I am intrigued by A Country Year! Two of my most dear memories are of the Autumn, the crunching of leaves – and a squirrel foraging for winter!

    Liked by 1 person

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