15 Books To Cure Your Spring Fever

April showers might bring May flowers, but while they're actually happening, they're a major drag. So while you're stuck inside this month, instead of polishing and re-polishing your toes that anticipatory coral (once is enough, you guys), read one of these 15 sweet and happy books. They're guaranteed to brighten your day, raincloud or no, and keep you entertained until spring really does arrive.
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Photo Courtesy of Mariner Books.
The Baron in the Trees, by Italo Calvino
In this enchanting ode to independence and free-thinking, a 12-year-old Baron-to-be says pooh-pooh to his constricting family and decides that he will live out the rest of his life in the trees, never letting his feet touch the ground. Adventures ensue, as they must, and you'll enjoy every minute of them.
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Photo Courtesy of Riverhead Books.
I Was Told There'd Be Cake, by Sloane Crosley
Sloane Crosley is a sass machine. She's also, by the way, brilliant, and her essay collection is charming, witty, and full of things that will, if you too were a child of the '80s (or even if you weren't), strike deep chords of recognition within you: we're talking Oregon Trail, plastic ponies, bad bosses, and worse weddings. Reading this book is like having coffee with your funniest friend, except you can do it without getting out of bed.
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Photo Courtesy of Anchor.
Willful Creatures, by Aimee Bender
Any of Bender's books might do for a rainy day (or a sunny one for that matter), but here we'll recommend Willful Creatures, a story collection that's equal parts goofy, smart-aleck fantasy and deeply felt emotion. Here, you'll find miniature humans kept as pets by larger ones, a Vegas fruit stand that sells mysterious words, a woman trying to collect kisses based on the kisser's hair color, potatoes that are also babies, and other delights.
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Photo Courtesy of St. Martin’s Griffin.
I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
Have you ever dreamed about living in a run-down old English castle? We guessed it, didn’t we? Well then, this book, presented as the journals of one Miss Cassandra Mortmain, who wants to be a writer and who knows all the facts of life but doesn't think much of them, is just the thing to take you there.
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Photo Courtesy of NYRB Classics.
Lucky Jim, by Kingsley Amis
If you like to drink tea while you sit by the rain-spattered window and read, be careful. This book, a hilarious comedy of errors slash love story about a ne'er do well junior professor trying to make it at a provincial university, might just have you spitting with laughter.
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Photo Courtesy of Dell.
The Pushcart War, by Jean Merrill
An age-old battle rages in the streets of New York City: the pushcart peddlers (Morris the Florist and his merry band) versus the big, smelly trucks, who have declared war. It's a classic story of big vs. little guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a righteous fire in your heart. This is a children's novel, sure, but we promise it's a great read for all ages. And, it just recently hit its 50th birthday, so it's officially a classic.
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Photo Courtesy of Harcout.
The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure, by William Goldman
Even funnier than the movie — and with way more in it: "Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles." If that swashbuckling list can't entertain you on a rainy day, we don't know what will.
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Photo Courtesy of Penguin Books.
My Family and Other Animals, by Gerald Durrell
Everyone loves an unconventional family — both in life and in literature — and Durrell's account of his own is a lovely, light-hearted romp you won't soon forget. When Durrell was 10, his English family moved to the Greek island of Corfu, and the experience turned out to be, as Durrell puts it, "rather like living in one of the more flamboyant and slapstick comic operas." Family feuding and hysterics aside, there are also beautiful, transporting passages about the flora and fauna of Corfu, which will have you forgetting all about the rain.
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Photo Courtesy of Dover Publications.
Emma, by Jane Austen
What better time than springtime for a little Jane Austen? Pride and Prejudice is always good, but if you're already a fan, why not branch out a little? Snobbish-but-lovable Emma's matchmaking follies and ill-advised meddling will not only keep you entertained for hours on end, but also remind you that while love may be in the air this time of year, you can't force it to come down wherever you please.
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Photo Courtesy of Knopf.
Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall
Need something to get you out the door and out onto the pavement (or if it's raining right now, the treadmill)? McDougall's bestselling book unpacks the mystery of the Tarahumara Indians, who can run hundreds of miles without taking a break, and advocates joy over all else as the reason for exercise. A story that will have you whipping through pages and some healthy inspiration all in one.
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Photo Courtesy of Faber & Faber.
Skippy Dies, by Paul Murray
Don't be put off by the title — Skippy does die about five pages into the prologue, but not before scrawling a message in jelly doughnut, making it more tragicomic than distressing. Then, after a leap back in time, the rest of the giant rollicking boarding school novel unfolds, filled with hilarious, unpleasant, confusing, beautiful, bonkers, sweet and sultry characters getting into scrapes with all the same descriptors. Ah, to be an adolescent again.
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Photo Courtesy of Penguin Books.
Bridget Jones's Diary, by Helen Fielding
An obvious choice perhaps, but for comfort reading, you just can't beat it. Better than the movie!
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Photo Courtesy of Anchor.
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith
If the rain out there seems like it'll never stop, console yourself with this novel, the first in a series of 15, so you're not likely to finish them all until summer. You'll want to, though: the books follow Precious Ramotswe, the best (and only) private lady detective in Botswana. These crime-solving mysteries are charming and jolly, just like Precious herself. So we'll borrow a line from the agency's own door and tell you: SATISFACTION GUARANTEED FOR ALL PARTIES.
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Photo Courtesy of Three Rivers Press.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and Other Concerns), by Mindy Kaling
If you’re feeling a sassy, hilarious hole in your heart now that The Mindy Project has wrapped up its third season, never fear: Kaling has an entire book filled with stories about her life, her family and her thoughts and observations on just about everything. Now, where's that season 4?
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Photo Courtesy of Knopf.
Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
Okay, okay, so it's about the end of the world via rapid-spreading illness. Not the most uplifting premise, perhaps, but this novel focuses less on the catastrophe and more on its survivors — in particular, a group of traveling bards who believe the world, no matter what shape it's in, still needs Shakespeare, and who are determined to fill that need. A page-by-page beauty, and a testament to keeping on keeping on in the face of anything the world can throw at you.