Spring readingInstagram/@rachel_en_su_tinta

Spring can mean a thousand things. As the sun begins to yawn and stretch after long months of hibernation, the days turn longer and the weather becomes warmer. No longer do our fingers freeze on our daily dog walks and no longer do we need scarves wrapped hastily around our numbing faces while we look up to the open sky, all white and bleak. It is somewhat of a liberty to feel our bodies again. We are ready to be reminded of something other than the cold, for once, and the traumatic daily rise of bar charts and scatter graphs filmed in far off press conferences. This year, in particular, I think it’s fair to say that those days have been sorely missed.

Spring is about changing the way you see the world. So, while we wait for the trees to finally turn green again, here are some possible additions to your library that will do just that.

'Lost Children Archive' by Valeria LuiselliInstagram/@theguywiththebook

‘Lost Children Archive’ by Valeria Luiselli

Valeria Luiselli’s English-language debut Lost Children Archive follows a couple of language documenters, each desperately attempting to grapple with their slowly disintegrating relationship, as they navigate their way from New York to the US-Mexico border. In doing so, one hopes to document the rising refugee crisis, the other Apachería, the original homeland of the Apache peoples. Luiselli’s prose is dreamlike, simultaneously meditative and piercingly awakening, winding through the almost alien landscape of the American South with a resounding restlessness. The novel is at once haunted and haunting. It finds ridden by the spectre of omnipresent violence, parental desperation, and a cruel immigration system that refuses to see even the youngest of its charges as fully human.

“How far are we willing to go, it seems to ask, before we realise that we cannot just sit back and do nothing? How long will it take before we see that history repeats itself?”

For a topic so often sensationalised, it brings a startling clarity to what is, it reminds us, a very real crisis. It is a novel about innocence and violence, about humanisation and dehumanisation – most of all, about the deliberately violent act of forgetting, when we subject it upon those who suffer the most. How far are we willing to go, it seems to ask, before we realise that we cannot just sit back and do nothing? How long will it take before we see that history repeats itself?

‘Him, Me and Muhammad Ali’ by Ranja Jarrar

‘Him, Me and Muhammad Ali’ by Ranja JarrarTwitter/@anna_hundert

Ranja Jarrar’s collection of short stories is, first and foremost, a breath of fresh air. Her writing swings from light playfulness to devastating poeticism, touching upon the lives of Muslim men and women across the globe in a myriad of narratives that never lose her trademark wit and friendly introspection. A holiday apartment manager reconciles with her childhood best friend; a young girl is abruptly kidnapped and brought up to live in a commune; a college graduate, freshly disowned by her father, debates on whether to marry her deadbeat boyfriend, the looming curve of a child on the way. Jarrar’s stories are hopeful, bitter, joyous, tragic – and most of all, definitively human. Her stories grapple with life in all its unpredictable glory, no matter how ambitious, no matter how intimate.

‘A Sorrow Beyond Dreams’ by Peter Handke

‘A Sorrow Beyond Dreams’ by Peter HandkeTwitter/@RajivRunthala

Written as a response to his mother’s sudden death, A Sorrow Beyond Dreams commemorates the intricacies of the life of Peter Handke’s mother. Navigating through the landmines of mid-20th Century Austria, this book recreates a resounding portrait of a woman who was never truly allowed to live. Regret melts into memories. Life is divided into snapshots of what had once been. Handke eloquently stutters with each anecdote, making no pretences of closure or moralisation, and instead leaving us with a devastating portrait of what it is like to lose someone. “Someday I shall write about all this in greater detail,” he tells us, and yet we seem to understand that this, while an admirable thought, may be impossible. There is, the text mutters, no real ‘afterwards’ with grief but only an acceptance of it, which only comes about through the painful act of remembering. It is a tough novel to read, and most undoubtedly requires the right headspace to be tackled. It is, however, an incredibly important one.

‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ by Gabriel García Márquez

‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ by Gabriel García MárquezInstagram/@booked.and.shelved

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” So begins the trans-generational epic that came to define the Latin American ‘boom’ of the 1960s, spurring on the career of García Márquez and placing the magical realist genre on the map. One Hundred Years of Solitude is, famously, not a sensible novel, and it takes great pride in that. As reason and logic become incomprehensible and time loses meaning, characters merge into one another without so much as the bat of an eyelid. Nothing seems to make sense, and why should it? As the Buendía family makes their way through the tumult of Colombia’s 19th and 20th Centuries, stranded in the incomprehensible paradise of the town of Macondo, their lives stretch out with a cavernous yawn, and we, the reader, are subject to the endless nonsensicalities. A world unravels before our eyes that cannot be believed – and yet we are invited to take comfort in it. In our own reality, so unravelled itself by what had previously been thought impossible, can we not understand this better than anything?