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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at KU chapter.

I don’t know about you, but I love the spring season. Flowers start to bloom on campus, the air is sweet with the fragrant blossoming trees, and the pleasant breeze finally lifts the lethargy of winter. Maybe it’s the sunshine, maybe it’s the anticipation of summer, but I have always found spring to be an exciting time to try and sort out life: do some spring cleaning, get organized for summer, make plans with friends, and find some new hobbies. Something that I have recently gotten back into is reading. I used to be a bookworm as a kid, however it is a hobby that I lost over time. Sitting down and reading a book requires a certain sacrifice—it’s not like a movie that you can have playing in the background while you do other things, or an album that you can listen to while doing homework, but instead reading requires your undivided attention. In a way it’s a great chance to slow down and settle into the moment, sinking into a story for a little while.

The “tiktokification” of reading might be insulting to the serious reader (and is actively changing the layout of bookstores and literary consumption), but I also think that it has helped draw attention to so many amazing books, and it has reminded so many adults of why they love reading. Spring may be a busy season, but I am going to try and prioritize reading because it is such a fulfilling and enjoyable way to spend free time and study breaks. Here are a few books that I am excited to read this spring!

Mrs. Dalloway—Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf’s writing always reminds me of spring. That wandering, stream-of-conscious style meanders and flows through her lush natural settings and character studies like a gentle breeze, and her use of metaphors and nature in her writing makes it a perfect book to read outside surrounded by flowers and trees.

That isn’t to say that her books are cheery—they often have a strangely somber quality, not something deeply sad but a quiet melancholy. Her books contain themes of change and transience, and she depicts this in the changing of nature and the aging of her characters. I haven’t read many books by Virginia Woolf but I have always been entranced by her style.

To the Lighthouse is my favorite book of hers but I would love to read more of her works. When I was researching her published books, many people ranked Mrs. Dalloway as her best novel. Similar to the Ramsay family in her novel To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway is about the day in the life of a woman named Clarissa Dalloway as she prepares to host a party. As she prepares for guests to arrive, she is swept away by memories and past reconciliations that show how she came to be, how she has changed, and ultimately who she will be. Books that experiment with the perception of time have always been interesting to me, and I am excited to read this novel soon.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous—Ocean Vuong


This one has been on my TBR for so long. I love it when prose becomes poetry, and Ocean Vuong’s novel has earned so much attention for being an intimate and beautiful exploration of storytelling. The novel is told in a series of letters from a son to his mother who is unable to read. The conversations, though one-sided, carry so much weight and gravity. The main character shares things he has always meant to say to his mother and he touches on subjects like race, class, family trauma, and sexuality.

This book sounds like one that will probably make me very emotional and will ruin my day, but I know that the story will be utterly beautiful. Books about family and navigating those relationships are so important, and I love to hear new stories and perspectives on family. I might need tissues close by, but I can’t wait to read this one!

Breasts and Eggs—Mieko Kawakami

This book has been sitting on my shelf for a long time, but I really want to try and read it this spring. Mieko Kawakami is a Japanese author, and she originally published this piece in 2008. She won the Akutagawa prize, a prestigious Japanese literary prize that is awarded to new writers. In 2020 the book was translated to English, and it has received a lot of critical success. I think that reading translated books is so interesting because you are able to access stories that you normally would never be able to—you really feel like you are able to get a new perspective about the world.

Breasts and Eggs is a contemporary fiction that tells the story of three Japanese women as they navigate life, their fears and futures, and the pressures of womanhood and identity. I love reading stories centered around women, and I have heard so many great things about this novel.

Circe—Madeline Miller

One thing about me is that I absolutely love re-reading books and it’s one of the struggles that I have in getting through my TBR—I am always so tempted to re-read my favorites. Circe was one of the first books that I read last summer, and it got me back into reading.

Madeline Miller’s prose is absolutely beautiful and she has the remarkable ability to turn ancient stories and mythologies into novels that feel contemporary and approachable and yet they never lose that epic feel. The language that she uses throughout is reminiscent of Greek epic poetry and yet she makes each of her characters feel real and relatable. I read her first novel, The Song of Achilles, and I thought it was beautiful. Circe is a novel that tells the story of the goddess Circe, the daughter of the Sun God, Helios. She is a peculiar child and is ostracized by her family because they do not believe she is powerful. The novel spans a century (she is immortal after all) and it tells the story of her life and how she came to be the Witch of Aiaia.

I loved Greek mythology as a kid, and this book was so much fun because of the way it references and alludes to all the famous stories. While this book is accessible to those without a knowledge of Greek mythology, I think it is even more enjoyable if you know some of the common stories (like that of Odysseus, Achilles, Icarus, and Medea). This book is one of my favorites, and I really want to re-read it this spring.

Little Women—Louisa May Alcott  

I have always wanted to read this book after watching the 2019 movie retelling with Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, and Eliza Scanlen as the March sisters. This movie is one of my favorites, partially because I am obsessed with all the actresses in the movie, but also because of the poignant story of family, sisterhood, ambition, and art. The movie is so beautiful and although it spans several years, it captures so many beautiful spring moments in the New England countryside. Jo March is an endearing heroine, and this book becomes even more interesting when you consider the autobiographical elements between Louisa May Alcott and Jo.

I remember owning the abridged version of this book when I was younger, but I would really love to return to the book as an adult to see if my perspective on this timeless classic has changed.

With so many good books to read this spring, I don’t know where to start! I am constantly adding books to my mental TBR, but I hope that I can read a few of these novels this semester. Reading is such a wonderful way to slow down and enjoy the present. Happy reading, everyone!

Mallory Wells is a senior studying psychology at the University of Kansas. She is a lover of contemporary fiction, milk tea, and picnics with friends.