The Enchanted April is simply that -- enchanted. It's the type of book you read on a lazy afternoon. I read it with a smile on my face the whole time. Von Arnim's novel, about four Englishwomen who spend April in a castle in Italy, makes you fall in love. The prude, spinster-ish lady finds her soft side. Two thirty-somethings reignite their love for their husbands when they invite them to stay at the castle. And a beautiful but pessimistic young English lady discovers that she can indeed fall in love. The Enchanted April is the kind of novel you force people to read, especially to your friends who have become too disillusioned about finding or rekindling romance.
Another recent read which I simply enjoyed is Tove Jansson's The Summer Book. To call this book a novel may be too much of a stretch, for it's composed of several short vignettes. Jansson's novel focuses on Sophia, a precocious 6 year old, and her grandmother. The two stay in a charming and unspoiled island in Finland during the summer.
Summers in Manila are harsh with just one type of weather -- hot. On the other hand, the weather depicted in The Summer Book is anything but predictable, with raging storms one day and cheery sun-kissed days the next. The characters' experiences during their stay in the island are just magical. Sophia and her grandmother build a miniature venice, they study local bugs and worms, and they explore caves, forests, and other landscapes in the island, just to name a few.
Thank heavens that NYRB has decided to publish these titles. I just love them NYRB titles. Clean and readable typefaces, elegant covers, thick book paper. And they look good on the shelf too!
Read these books if:
- Summer is your favorite season.
- You know that summer is not all about going to the beach, getting a tan, or drinking piña colada. It's about catching up on your reading too.
- You'll read anything published by NYRB.