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The Cat's Cradle: 7 books to read under a tree

Spring has begun and there hasn’t been a better time to find a good book to read. Spring and literature have been interconnected throughout literary history. Look to the sonnets of William Shakespeare, particularly “Sonnet 98” which evokes an image of Spring, love and nature. OU carries on this tradition of Spring and Literature with the Spring Literary Festival.


Spring has often been associated with rejuvenation and the revival of a dormant world. After a winter that has reflected a certain social freeze that has occurred in the last year, Spring comes as a welcome and warm surprise. Nature, love and magic exists in the world during Spring, and the literature that captures this feeling. 

Their Eyes Were Watching God” is Zora Neale Hurston’s Southern Love story that follows Janie as she discovers love and the trials that come with it. Spring permeates the novel, with a sense of renewal being a reoccurring theme, with the novel bookended by the ever-changing Janie. While a particular passage about flowers and bees that captures the heart of Spring itself.

While discussing Southern literature, one can’t ignore the play “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” A Southern drama taking place in the entirety of a Plantation home, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” ties deeply into the identity of men, the meaning of family and trust. Told in three acts, the drama is perfect to read in an evening in the park.

For those with the free time and the passion to learn, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” is the perfect novel for spring. Taking place in a fictional Columbian Village, the masterwork of the Magical realist genre follows three generations of the Buendía family, from the first moments they discover ice to the train that brings the World to the village. Filled with descriptions of nature, magic and travel, Gabriel García Marquez's novel is a true South American Classic and beloved by all

From this, we can split into two camps of Spring literature, for the magical and realist in all readers. Cormac McCarthy’s “All the Pretty Horses” being the latter of these two. It is a realist tale that follows two young vaqueros as they travel into Mexico for fortune. Beautifully written with loving detail about horses and nature, “All the Pretty Horses” is a perfect cowboy book. 

For the magical readers among us, Larissa Lai’s “Salt Fish Girl” is a perfect Speculative novel in about love and nature. Following the trials of several generations of a Chinese family, Larissa Lai’s novel ties creationism and cloning to the smelliest of nature's fruits, the durian

Turning to Russia we have the Speculative novels of Arkady and Boris Strugatsky that have gained a new life in the critical analysis of the late Ursula K. Le Guin, and her introduction the novel “Roadside Picnic.” A novel about Earth’s brief contact with an Alien civilization that is summed up as a casual picnic, tying nature to the larger universe itself. 

To round out Spring we have the excellent Detective novel “The Big Sleep.” The first Philip Marlowe book is the perfect beach book. With strong prose, short chapters and a plot that keeps you guessing till the end, Raymond Chandler’s novel challenges the conception of “human nature” as life thrives in a concrete jungle.

Spring is the perfect time to pick up a book again and read something new. The Little Professor is the best local shop to find books. Everything recommended here can be found or ordered at the bookstore.

Benjamin Ervin is a senior studying English literature and writing at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Benjamin know by emailing him be425014@ohio.edu.

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