Friday, April 10, 2020

By Emilyn Linden

It’s been a challenging time for all of us, whether we’re self-isolating at home or an essential worker going to our job every day. One thing that’s been uplifting for me is finally seeing some sun on most days. My reading habits are often seasonal, and in the spring I tend to pick up a few gardening books, a couple romance novels, a horror novel or two (can’t handle them in the middle of winter) and a few of my usual science fiction or fantasy novels.

I think lots of people are seasonal readers (though the 'rona might be throwing people off) and are reaching for their comfort reads right now, whether that be murder mysteries, horror, romance or women’s fiction. I realize my go-to spring reads are not the same as everyone else’s. Feel free to shoot us an email at to ask for some suggestions. Tell us what type of book you’re looking for and an author or two you love and we’ll get back to you with some titles or authors to try.

Get out and garden

I’m a more enthusiastic than skilled gardener, but I do enjoy picking up a gardening book or two every spring to look at pretty pictures of other people’s gardens that turned out better than mine.

  • Building Raised Beds by Fern Marshall Bradley is put out by Storey Publishing, which releases many quality materials. This book is meant for beginning gardeners, so if you’ve been meaning to get into gardening and want to know about the benefits of raised beds, this is a great place to start.
  • I’m of the opinion that plants should be able to take care of themselves (which maybe is why I’m not so successful). If you, too, are of that mindset, you probably want to take a look at Low-Maintenance Vegetable Gardening by Clare Matthews.
  • Finally, if you’re working with a small space, take a look at these titles that focus on vertical gardening. You don’t need a ton of space for a bumper crop of tomatoes, zucchini or even lettuce.

Spring into romance

I am VERY picky about which romance novels I read. I need humor and wit. Here are a couple great ones for similar readers.

  • The Honey Badger Chronicles by Shelley Laurenston, starting with Hot and Badgered are definitely ridiculous, but they also relate some wonderful stories of people learning how to overcome their differences and make relationships work.
  • Courtney Milan writes some fun historical romances featuring sarcastic, witty, characters with dry senses of humor. The Suffragette Scandal features a woman newspaper owner who infuriates the patriarchy - especially one man in particular whom she turns down. They don’t appreciate her success teaming up with a rogue to thwart said spurned guy in his attempts to ruin her paper.

Bring on the horror

You might want to skip my favorite horror novels right now since I tend to go for zombies. 

  • My all-time favorite zombie thrillers are the Newsflesh series by Mira Grant. The first one is Feed. The world is a very different place after the combined cures for the common cold and cancer are causing the dead to rise. Bloggers were the first to get the news out, which saved lives and changed the news ecosystem forever.
  • I haven’t gotten my hands on it yet since it was just released a couple days ago, but my planned horror read for this spring is The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Vampire Slaying by Grady Hendrix. Hendrix does a wonderful job of writing strong, resilient characters and incorporating humor into his horror novels. Really looking forward to getting my hands on this one.

Out of this world

I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy since I find that many of the newer books in these genres incorporate romance and mystery, two of my other favorite genres. I also love it when the author creates a believable and fully fleshed-out world.

  • One series I’m making my way through slowly (the books are massive and also popular, so the hold lists can be long) is the Expanse series by James S.A. Corey. The first book is Leviathan Wakes. One of the reasons I have to wait so long for each book is that I’m listening to the audio version. Jefferson Mays does a PHENOMENAL job narrating this series. Totally worth the wait if you like audio.
  • I’m also slowly making my way through Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series. The first is The Way of Kings. Sanderson’s world building is fascinating and his characters are three dimensional with flaws, strengths and weaknesses.
  • One of the hazards of working at a library is that your reading list is longer than the time you have to actually read. Right now I’m looking forward to picking up How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason and Wanderers by Chuck Wendig.

Emilyn Linden is a librarian at FDL Public Library. She has resigned herself to knowing that the holds lines for the books she just recommended are likely to grow.