Spring: Bluets by Maggie Nelson 

“This deepest blue, talking, talking, always talking to you.”

Maggie Nelson’s Bluets is one of my favorites due to its unwillingness to belong to any single genre. The poets call it poetry and the essayists call it a lyric essay, but then they will both agree it is neither. It swims between genres, washing up to shores, then sailing out again. Bluets is a story told in fragments, listed from 1 to 240. Fragments thinking, feeling, sensing, and seeing the color blue. 

Spring to me has always been a time of rediscovery and rebirth. A time when I no longer feel packed down, but am finally dredging through it all. Bluets is a journey of healing and growing. It’s the moments right when everything starts to unthaw, and we watch every water droplet take its own path back into the earth. 

Summer: Stranger Care by Sarah Sentilles 

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was sick and you took care of me, I was a prisoner and you visited me, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” 

Sarah Sentilles’ Stranger Care is one of those books you read and then realize you will never be the same again because it has become an intrinsic part of who you are. Stranger Care is said to be “a memoir about loving what isn’t ours.” It is a series of flash essays put together to share the story of Sarah’s love and grief felt while fostering her daughter Coco. I love this memoir because the essays could stand alone, but this story can not be told with a single essay. It shows you how to love bird, whale, tree, moon, child. 

I am a summer baby, so maybe that’s why summer has always felt like home to me. Summer is a time I am able to step away from the nagging responsibilities of school and life to appreciate the small things. Stranger Care is an ode to all of those small things. It’s a story everyone should read if they want to love their world more intimately. To learn how to love the incomprehensible things beyond their world. 


Autumn: Evidence of V by Sheila O’Connor 

“Reform V. Reform her pieces into story. To reform what I have left.” 

Sheila O’Connor’s Evidence of V is a fragmented blend of fact and fiction. It is a novel built around a void. The story of her own discovery of her unknown maternal grandmother who was sentenced to six years in a Minnesota state reform school for the crime of becoming pregnant at 15. O’Connor takes us along with her on this journey, showing us legal documents as if we are researching this history side by side. Evidence of V is a book of contrasts, holding a beautiful blend of truth and imagination alongside a harrowing story of exploitation and erasure.

Autumn is known to be a time when everything changes. Classes start up again; the leaves change, color-painting vastly different landscapes; and all a sudden the cold nips at our ears. Evidence of V feels like autumn. For Sheila, for V, for June, everything is changing. And as the sparsity of facts settle at our feet within the text, a coldness sets in as we realize the heart rendering truth that the rest of V’s story no longer exists. 

Winter: The Unwritten Book by Samantha Hunt

“Then a further quiet beat because their answer isn’t a word, isn’t even an answer but something full of silence, a broken sense that feels like the bellowing hush of empty space the moment after we finish reading a book.”

Samantha Hunt’s The Unwritten Book is unlike any other book I have encountered. It is a genre-bending work of nonfiction exploring ghosts in the broadest sense of the word. Through her essays, Hunt is always looking for clues and patterns, making connections. Like her grandmother, she plays with words, discarding and rearranging definitions. Most importantly, The Unwritten Book is an investigation of her father’s ghost book, an incomplete manuscript he wrote that was found days after he died. 

Winter feels like a time frozen over, where the snow hides everything away from the world. A time when you can dig and dig and dig through feet of snow, uncovering mysteries previously forgotten. This is what The Unwritten Book feels like. Blindly shoving your hand into a snow pile until you feel something, something that you can only infer about because it’s frozen, stuck and out of sight. But also instills a sense of wonder and magic that it deems to exist at all.

Whatever season you choose to start your literary journey in, I think you’ll enjoy these texts!

Meet the blogger:

AUSTIN MALBERG is a current senior at Hamline University, studying Creative Writing and Psychology. Her poems have previously been published in the Fulcrum Journal. Outside of school, she loves to read, play fetch with her cat, and mail letters to her friends and family. 


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