The Book Nook: My Spring Reading

by Lori Walker
published in Reading

I think spring might be my favorite season for reading. (Though I will say fall is a close second.) I get to read outside where the air is crisp and full of possibilities and promise. It’s white wine and rosé season—at last. And after the long and miserable winter, full of seasonal depression, my spring reading is truly fulfilling. 

I’ve been doing a bit of rereading like I shared last month, but I’ve been reading plenty of new and new-to-me books. As a result, I had a hard time picking one great book to talk about this month, so I thought I’d share three books that have been dominating my spring reading. These are the three books that I am juggling as they compete for my precious time, attention, and affection. I hope something catches your eye.

Spring Reading List

Seek You: A Journey through American Loneliness by Kristen Radtke

Initially, I had planned for this May Book Nook post to be solely about this book, but I’m still reading it. I’m really not sure how this graphic memoir flew under my radar when it came out last year, but I happened across it last week and immediately knew I needed to read it. 

Radtke initially began her research for this book in 2016. Then, in 2020, the topic became beyond timely. I love her early discussion about the evolution of laughter in the human species and how it fosters connection. I remember an old episode of Seinfeld where Elaine and George are unexpectedly forced to spend time together without Jerry. The next day Jerry asks how it went and Elaine tells him it was pretty meh, except for when they bonded over making fun of Jerry. As someone who loves reading and writing humor, this really rang true for me.

Further, I love her choice to write this as a graphic memoir as opposed to straight prose. The images really participate in getting across her point and her research. Very well done. I can’t wait to keep reading.

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski 

I’ve had a bit of a long-term flirtation with this book. I started reading it last summer and inexplicably set it aside. Then I picked it up again in both the fall and the winter. I may have even mentioned it in a previous column. It’s great, life-changing information, but I’ve been too burnt out to read about burnout.

No more. I finally bought the audiobook and I’ve begun listening to it in 40-minute increments while I go walking a few times a week. Exercise, the book says, is the number one best way of completing the stress cycle. You see, there’s a difference between managing the stressor and the stress, and getting rid of the stressor doesn’t physiology rid our bodies of the stress chemicals. These incomplete stress cycles accumulate over time until something bad happens.

I love their writing style, which blends science and research with pop culture references and easy-to-digest advice. It is geared towards women simply because men and women face different societal expectations and pressures, and (like old heart attack studies completely missed the fact that women can have different symptoms than men) I kind of like knowing that something as important as unlocking the stress cycle is geared toward someone like me.

Animal by Lisa Taddeo

I have this thing where if a book receives a ton of hype, I can’t read it right away. Don’t get me wrong—I’ll totally buy the book, but I just have a hard time reading it. I don’t know if that’s because I can’t process my own thoughts in the midst of all the others swirling about on Bookstagram or maybe it’s a case of wrong book, wrong time. Nonetheless, I pre-ordered this one, the fiction debut of the author who wrote Three Women (which also took me a few starts and stops to read), and promptly set it aside.

I’ve been doing a lot of tweaking with my writing and this book is really jibing with the voice I want to develop for my narrator. She’s edgy, kinda screwed up, but honest and raw. The narrator, Joan, witnesses a pretty horrific act of violence and leaves town. She drives to LA, where she searches for Alice in an effort to make sense of her past.

I love that this is an exploration of female rage and the path back. Still, so often female characters and writers are expected to be a certain way. This novel subverts those expectations. Or maybe it creates new expectations, new ways of being. I am totally digging the vibe of this novel and the journey of this character.

Who knows? Maybe by the time this article is published, I’ll have finished all three of these books. I’d love to think so. They are all so addicting and are speaking to different parts of myself. And isn’t that really why we read in the first place?

Tell us in the comments: What books are on your spring reading list?

Lori Walker is the Operations Maven and Chaos Coordinator at DIY MFA. Though she’s fallen off the wagon as a writer, she’s hoping to return to writing essays (perhaps even a novel!) through her involvement with DIY MFA. She is also Launch Manager, Web Editor, and Podcast Producer for DIY MFA and a Book Coach. She resides in Smalltown, Oklahoma, with her husband and their cat, Joan Didion. You can follow her on Instagram at @LoriTheWriter.

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