5 Spring Book Flights
Ever had a tasting flight of something, probably at a brewery or restaurant? Wine, beer, spirits, maybe even cheese? Basically the concept is you get several different portions of something, and taste them all back to back. By tasting them together, you really get a feel for their differences and are better able to pinpoint nuanced tasting notes in each individual one, while appreciating them together as a whole. This usually enhances the experience of tasting, and elevates your observation of the distinctness of flavors and awareness of how they work together to give you a fuller view of the range in flavor.
Books can do the same thing; by reading a group of books together it can really expand the depth and breadth of a topic for you, and broaden the scope of your view on a subject. This can be as straightforward as reading all of a specific author's works, or choosing a really niche area, like Beat Poets, but it also works well in plenty of other varied combinations.
This spring I started thinking (inspired by Anne!) about all the moods the season inspires and how to create book flights to cater to them, and these are what I came up with. The groupings are designed to have books that are fabulous on their own, but combined really give a lush, broad view of a subject. The dynamic interplay between books set around a central theme is the sweet spot!
Italy + rejuvenation
- A Room With a View | E.M. Forster
- The Enchanted April | Elizabeth Von Arnim
- Under the Tuscan Sun | Frances Mayes
Spring is so classically tied to rejuvenation and rebirth, what better topic to delve into than personal growth and lush springy settings in beautiful, magical Italy? Start with A Room With A View, set in the early 1900's and soak in Forster's warm writing style and Lucy's self discovery. Plus, there's a gorgeous, super famous kiss on a wildflower covered hill in Italy that is just fabulous. Move into the 1920's and follow four women on their separate paths to discovering themselves and transforming their lives while they vacation in an Italian castle together in The Enchanted April. Finally, pick up Under the Tuscan Sun and watch a modern woman buy a villa in Tuscany and restore it as she rebuilds her life. Bonus: ALL of these are great movies, too!
We love Paris In the Springtime
- A Moveable Feast | Ernest Hemingway
- The Paris Wife | Paula McLain
- My Life in France | Julia Child
Ugh I miss Paris, especially in the spring; it's uniquely magical! Start off with Hemingway's chronicling of his years in Paris as a young author and hanging out at café's and exploring the city with other literary giants like Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, and Gertrude Stein. Follow up with McLain's fictionalized account of Hemingway and is his first wife Hadley during their Paris years, and bask in the the spring of Jazz Age Paris. Finish off with Julia Child's memoir about her own experience of being a wife in Paris, and how that led her to discover cooking and become the famous chef we all know her as. Child's writing is shocking, warm, and humorous, and just a complete delight to read as she recounts her personal journey through French cooking.
America : Journey + discovery
- On the Road | Jack Kerouac
- Travels with Charley | John Steinbeck
- Blue Highways | William Least Heat-Moon
Maybe spring has got you dreaming about spring break, with sunshine and road trips; inspiring some serious wanderlust. If that sounds like you, pick these up and travel through America with some amazing authors. Start with Kerouac's classic to explore the side of late 1940's America filled with jazz, drugs, and poets, before switching gears into Steinbeck's cross country adventures with his pet poodle and his quieter observations about what people are like throughout the country circa 1962. Finally, finish with a more modern travelogue in Blue Highways, and journey into what small town America looked like in the 1980's.
Books, Books, Books
The King's English | Betsy Burton
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry | Gabrielle Zevin
The Invisible Library | Genevieve Cogman
For some, spring weather means flowers and brunch and bookstores and the approaching season of summer beach reads. If you're craving the world of books, dive into this flight. Start with The King's English for an amazing look at what it's like to own and operate a real life bookstore. After that, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry will sweep you into the fictional story of a bookstore owner, and fill you up with the power of books, and the wonder of reading in this feel-good novel. Finally, twist into the fantasy side of the bookish world with The Invisible Library and join Irene in her quest for a stolen book in an alternative London. Bonus: this is a series, so if you love it, there are several more!
Flowers, Bees, + Bursting Spring
- The Secret Garden | Frances Hodgson Burnett
- Elizabeth and Her German Garden | Elizabeth Von Arnim
- Merry Hall | Beverly Nichols
If you're like Rikki, your favorite part of spring is gardens and flowers and bees and baby chicks and watching the earth literally renew its self with twisting vines and fields of wildflowers. If that's your mood, start off with Burnett's classic and watch young Mary learn to keep her secret garden and absolutely revel in the coming of spring and the awakening of herself. Follow up with Elizabeth von Arnim in her musical semi-autobiographical work about navigating friendships and learning to tend and enjoy her own garden in late 1800's Germany. Finally, dive into a non-fiction account of the restoration of a house and garden in post-war England with sassy, high spirited Beverly Nichols. Riotously funny and peppered with interactions absolutely dripping with classic English sarcasm, this book is too much fun and a definite high note to end on!
Which one would you like to try out? And any ideas for book flights of your own? We'd sincerely love to hear!