Five Books to Transport You to Different Countries This Summer!

Unfortunately, many of our summer plans have been postponed or canceled due to the current pandemic that looms over the world. Although you can no longer travel overseas to places you’ve dreamt of all year, you can still enjoy your summer and travel by snuggling up with a good book. Here is a list of five books that can transport you to a different country. These books will take you from traditional tea ceremonies in Japan to the Andes Mountains in Chile, the city of lights (Paris), and much more! No need to buy expensive tickets, or leave  your home; just curl up on your couch, sip on some tea, and allow your imagination to go on an international journey. 

The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende (Chile):

The first country you’ll visit is Chile. Isabel Allende’s House of Spirits dives into both the essence of Chilean culture and the history that has built Chile into the nation it is today. It is an unforgettable and epic novel that brought fame to Allende. In the novel, she elegantly weaves in her personal experiences, politics, and the power of love, magic, and fate. The main characters—the Trueba family— take you on a journey through the political and social disruption that took place in the 1970s, which continues to influence the social and political climate that currently exists in Chile. This is a story of magical realism and history that will allow you to envision the breathtaking landscapes of the Andes mountain staring back at you, and learn about the idiosyncrasies of Chilean culture and society. 

Memoirs of a Geisha is one of my favorites. Arthur Golden takes you on an exciting adventure that passes through many regions in Japan. From a small, cold fishing town to Kyoto (the infamous Geisha district of Japan) and the beautiful islands near Okinawa. We get to experience how Japan was during World War II.

At the age of nine, Chiyo and her sister were taken to Kyoto, only to be separated from one another. While Chiyo’s unique blue-grey eyes led her to fall under the hands of the “mother” geisha, her sister did not have the same fate and was sold elsewhere and disappeared from the story. Golden describes the sacrifices Chiyo makes to build a life for herself in the solitary world of the Geisha. Golden teaches us some about the Japanese culture, the reality of what a Geisha symbolizes, and the multiple accomplishments and duties that they must fulfill to maintain their beauty, elegance, and status. This is a novel of unconditional love, beauty, and truth; it will take you on an unforgettable journey.  

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (Japan):

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (France): 

Who doesn’t love the city of lights? For me, freshly baked baguettes and croissants you can enjoy from a boulangerie are hard to beat. Going up the Eiffel Tour and being consumed by the view while enjoying a wonderful meal makes for a great vacation. This is what All the Light We Cannot See evokes. 

Anthony Doerr takes you to Paris during World War II, and he traces the lives of two characters from completely different backgrounds. Marie-Laure lives in Paris with her father, a locksmith for the Museum of Natural History.  Sadly and unexpectedly, she becomes blind at a young age; however, her father helps her overcome that obstacle and teaches her how to navigate the city independently. In 1940, Marie-Laure and her father flee to Saint-Malo due to the challenges brought on by the German occupation. In parallel, Doerr also gives us a peek into 8-year-old Werner Pfennig’s life. He lives with his sister, Jutta, at an orphanage in Germany. It is a beautiful novel that gives us a taste of French life during WWII and showcases the loving friendship developed among two very different children, who ultimately find comfort, solidarity, and love within one another in such a painful time. 

The next destination on our travel list is Italy with Under the Tuscan Sun. Frances Mayes opens the door and pushes us through to dig into Italian traditions and amazing Italian cuisine. Mayes tells us about the efforts to renovate an abandoned villa in the Tuscan countryside.

The book is packed with Mayes’s Italian recipes and gardening advice. It takes us to the vineyard near her garden, the nearby hill towns, and the lively markets filled with enchanting people. She is so lyrical and poetic throughout the book that you can close your eyes and feel like you are by her side, watching her navigate her Italian village.

Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes (Italy): 

A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks (United Kingdom):

Our final destination is London, home of Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, and so much more. In A Week in December, Sebastian Faulker explores the holidays in 2017 London.

For seven days, Faulk tracks the intersecting lives of seven people. The novel points to how the lives of seven very different people are strongly intertwined. Some obstacles the characters face are terrorism, the internet (and how it is taking over human relations), greed, and unconditional love. Enjoy this satirical novel which gives us a private tour of modern-day London!

We hope these books can inspire you to travel using your imagination! We know in stressful times, there is nothing better than preparing some tea and diving into a world completely different from our own! Find them all at DiscoverBooks.com

17 Book Quotes to Celebrate Summer

The Summer Solstice officially marks the beginning of summer on June 20, 2020. It is the longest day of the year as the north pole is at its greatest tilt towards the sun. On this day, the sun travels its longest path through the sky in the Northern Hemisphere, making it the day with the most sunlight. Beaches opening, flowers blooming, and grasshoppers chirping are all comforting signs that summer has arrived.

Although this year is much different with COVID-19 weighing heavy on many us, here are some of the best summertime quotes to elevate your mood. Whether you’re in need of a trip down memory lane of what summer once was or in search of the perfect quotes for Instagram captions, you’ll appreciate these catchy lines about the season.

“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.”

Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and Tib

“Summertime. It was a song. It was a season. I wondered if that season would ever live inside of me.”

Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Last Night I Sang to the Monster

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

F.Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

“Do what we can, summer will have its flies.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“In the summer, the days were long, stretching into each other. Out of school, everything was on pause and yet happening at the same time, this collection of weeks when anything was possible.”

Sarah Dessen, Along for the Ride

“Summer, after all, is a time when wonderful things can happen to quiet people. For those few months, you’re not required to be who everyone thinks you are, and that cut-grass smell in the air and the chance to dive into the deep end of a pool give you a courage you don’t have the rest of the year. You can be grateful and easy, with no eyes on you, and no past. Summer just opens the door and lets you out.”

Deb Caletti, Honey, Baby, Sweetheart

“Summer romances end for all kinds of reasons. But when all is said and done, they have one thing in common: They are shooting stars-a spectacular moment of light in the heavens, a fleeting glimpse of eternity. And in a flash, they’re gone.”

Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

“I fell for her in summer, my lovely summer girl, from summer she is made, my lovely summer girl, I’d love to spend a winter with my lovely summer girl, but I’m never warm enough for my lovely summer girl, it’s summer when she smiles, I’m laughing like a child, it’s the summer of our lives; we’ll contain it for a while she holds the heat, the breeze of summer in the circle of her hand I’d be happy with this summer if it’s all we ever had.”

Maggie Stiefvater, Shiver

“Summers had a logic all their own and they always brought something out in me. Summer was supposed to be about freedom and youth and no school and possibilities and adventure and exploration. Summer was a book of hope. That’s why I loved and hated summers. Because they made me want to believe.”

Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

” Shall I compare thee to a summers day? Though art more lovely and more temperate: rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, and summer’s lease hath all too short a date;”

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18

Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.

Jenny Han, The Summer I Turned Pretty

“Early June, the world of leaf and blade and flowers explode and every sunset is different.

John Steinbeck, The Winter Of Our Discontent

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me, those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language,”

Henry James, In An International Episode

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.”

Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

“It is easy to forget now, how effervescent and free we all felt that summer. Everything fades: the shimmer of gold over White Cove; the laughter in the night air; the lavender early morning light on the faces of skyscrapers, which had suddenly become so heroically tall. Every dawn seemed to promise fresh miracles, among other joys that are in short supply these days.”

Anna Godbersen, Bright Young Things

“One benefit of Summer was that each day we had more light to read by.”

Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle

” A good swimming pool could do that – make the rest of the world seem possibly insignificant, as far away as the surface of the moon”

Emma Straub, The Vacationers

5 Beach Reads You’ll Love This Summer

This summer, many of us wish we were heading to the beach to soak up the sun, swim in the ocean or pool, and read a good book. This year, beaches and pools across the country may not open for business. The corona virus may keep us in our backyards for longer than we had hoped this summer, but it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy “beachy” reads. At least we can imagine sitting on the beach.

Below is a list of books that will make you feel like you’re at the beach even if you’re not physically there. So, grab a comfortable seat, put on some sunscreen, and dive into one of these novels. You might just smell the saltwater.

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

This book is one of my personal favorites and is also the first of a three-part series. Jenny Han’s summer series is definitely one for a younger crowd, but I’d recommend anyone to read it for the nostalgia of being a teenager again.

In this novel, Belly Conklin spends every summer at a beach house with her mom, her mom’s closest friend, Susannah, and Susannah’s children, Jeremiah and Conrad. Belly eagerly awaits each summer more than the last. It’s the only three months of the year that matter to her.

But this summer is different. This is the first summer Belly doesn’t just see Jeremiah and Conrad as practically her brothers. Last summer, she was just a girl, but this summer, she’s becoming a witty young woman–and everyone around her is noticing. 

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

If you were looking to get lost in a story about the beautiful island of Mallorca, this might be the story for you. Emma Straub’s novel tells the story of the Post family and their blissful vacation filled with celebration, relaxation, and a bit of generational baggage.

A very relatable family vacation tale, The Vacationers will challenge your opinion of a dysfunctional family with mismatched characters and lots of affairs. Be a fly on the wall as you read this dramatic account of past and present family tensions. It’s filled with familiar characters and countless summer memories.

The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner

One review by Redbook calls this novel an “emotional roller coaster ride that will have you addicted and wanting to read more. This book is truly the perfect literary escape for any season.” Jamie Brenner tells the tale of Marin Bishop, who loses all she has in one day:  a fiancé, a career in New York City, and a loving father. All the loss and hardship turn into a blessing in disguise for Marin, when she and two distant relatives reunite in the heart of Cape Cod.

Her half-sister and grandmother, tell Marin things about her family that will change her forever. Give this book a read if you’re looking for a soul-searching journey to follow along.

The Lake House by Kate Morton

In her fifth novel, Kate Morton covers two different decades beginning in 1933 Cornwall, England, with the Edevane family. After a large party at the estate, the Edevane’s discover their 11-month-old son is missing.

Several decades later, Alice Edevane runs into her past when a young detective comes across the abandoned estate in Cornwall and uncovers the truth of the distant past, becoming enthralled by the mystery.

The Lake House is full of detail, gothic omens, and time-hopping. Prepare yourself to be sucked into the historical drama and mystery.

Girls of Glass by Brianna Labuskes

For a suspenseful summer read, Girls of Glass tells the story of a missing girl and detective Alice Garner, who becomes personally attached to the case when it triggers the memory of her daughter, who was kidnapped and murdered years before.

While uncovering details of the case and attempting to hold back her own judgments of the girl’s mother, Alice soon discovers the deep, dark secrets of the seemingly picture-perfect family.

This novel is sure to keep you on your toes, as Labuskes keeps the mystery a secret until the last few pages of the story. Don’t read ahead!

If you won’t be sitting at a beach or by the pool this summer, we hope these books – or any of your summer reads – can take you there! Let us know which of these end up on your nightstand this summer, and share your favorite summer reads @discoverbooks on social!

11 Books to Glide You Through Spring

After the long, dark, cold winter, spring peers around the corner and beckons us to wake up and reset our lives. It gives us hope for better days. Flowers begin to break through the solid ground and light the world with color. The Earth is renewing itself, and the cycle of life is once again fulfilled. The following books embody the theme of renewal after darkness, breaking through the hard times with the hope of better days. They will help you glide through the spring of life.

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim

The Enchanted April begins in wet, rainy February in England and ends in Italy in spring. It follows four dissatisfied women who dream of change and a holiday in an Italian castle. The women find more than wisteria and solitude as the magic of spring in the Italian countryside awakes their very souls. The question is whether the enchantment will continue when their husbands and lovers pop up to join their adventure.

The Enchanted April was published in 1922, but it isn’t an out-of-date story. It was a best seller in England and the United States. It became a Book-of-the-Month-Club hit. The magic of the story cast its spell on many readers who immediately took off on holiday to Portofino, Italy after reading. It has also been made into a movie and a Broadway play.

Laddie by Gene Stratton-Porter

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Laddie was originally written in 1913. It is a book about families, relationships, nature, and a time when life was simpler. It is based on the author’s own life, and is the story of “little sister” who is the youngest of eleven children. Little sister is born to a wholesome and well-educated Mid-West family that is busy with farm life. She is often lonely and unwanted, but her brother Laddie adores her. Laddie creates a love of nature in her, and nature is where she is happiest. While it is written in third person and little sister’s perspective, it does include intrigue and suspense.

Gene Stratton-Porter was an American author, early naturalist, nature photographer, and one of the first women to form a movie studio and production company, Gene Stratton-Porter Productions, Inc. She wrote several best-selling novels and received columns in national magazines, such as McCall’s. Her works were translated into several languages, including Braille.

Stratton-Porter was estimated to have had 50 million readers around the world. She used her position and income as a well-known author to support the conservation of Limberlost Swamp and other wetlands in the state of Indiana. All Stratton-Porter’s books are focused on nature and bring a breath of fresh air. They are perfect for a spring time refresh.

Our Spoons Came From Woolworths by Barbara Comyns

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Our Spoons Came From Woolworths is an eye-catching title that begs one to read it. Written in first person, it becomes a quiet life chat between you and the author, perhaps over a cup of tea. The most intimate parts of a woman’s emotional life are shared as if between friends.

It is not autobiographical. Comyns does tell real-life scenarios, including that of childbirth in 1930 at a public hospital. There are so few depictions of childbirth in books that it is almost mesmerizing to read. So why is it in my spring book category? Spring comes after the winter, and this book is all about the cycles of life and life decisions. Finally, it comes around to the new life and hope of a better life.

The story begins with two young bohemian lovers (in London 1930) who marry against the family’s wishes. Sophia, the wife, winds you through life in poverty. The loyalty of Sophia to Charles – a selfish young artist – will anger and enrage at times, but overall the intimate details of Sophia’s mind and heart are will keep one reading.

It’s a story of choices, consequences, and overcoming life’s difficulties. In the end, spring will come as Sophia grows inexperience. The endearing parts of her personality will leave you wanting a second chat over tea- even if Great Warty (Sophia’s pet newt) comes along.

Rose In Bloom by Louisa May Alcott

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Rose In Bloom is the sequel to Eight Cousins with Rose Campbell and the male cousins at the courting age. In true Louisa May Alcott style, her feminine heroine is not a sappy mindless girl just waiting to be married off. In this story, Rose, an heiress to a large fortune, has her own ideas about love, marriage, money, and family. She is an independent young woman who believes all are equal. Luckily, she is wise about people and sees through the games people will play to get a hold of her fortune, including her aunts.

The aunts want to see the money kept in the family, so they want Rose to marry one of her cousins. This turns into quite the challenge, and true colors are revealed. In the end, love conquers all and three weddings are scheduled.

Why is it in my spring reading list? Well, spring is all about new beginnings and love. This is a story about both. Each character is at a new beginning in their life, and romance is bound to happen. The symbolism of “Rose” also stands out as a topic of spring. The rose represents beauty, strength, independence, and protection (thorns). All these are possessed by Rose Campbell. It is a delightful coming of age story in a long-gone era of romance.

 A Room with A View by E.M. Forster

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Spring weather is so unpredictable – rainy and cold one day and sunny and warm the next. It’s unlike the social norms of early 1900s England where the norms are predictable and understood by all.

A Room With A View begins with two English women, Lucy and her chaperone Charlotte, traveling to Florence, Italy. Lucy is middle-class, and her life is all mapped out for her including her betrothal to Cecil. However, the interesting people she meets in Italy and their adventures together begin to stir questions about the uptight British ways. Her experiences at the Pension Bertolini might be brief, but just like spring they seem to bring the unexpected at every turn.

Lucy and a fellow guest at Pension Bertolini, George, witness a murder in the streets of Italy, and it changes their lives. This event sets in motion an eventual romantic experience between the two, and Charlotte whisks Lucy back to England to avoid further encounters.

However, when fate steps in George ends up in England – in the same neighborhood as Lucy. She is pushed to discover her own heart rather than the planned marriage laid before her. Will Lucy break past the social norms of the day? What will be the consequences of such unexpected actions?

A Room With A View takes you on a journey through three countries: Italy, Greece, and England. It ranges from the upper-middle-class Edwardian norms to the looser Italian and Greek philosophies of the day. Comedy, murder, romance are all wrapped up into one book that, like spring, brings the unexpected at every turn.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden is one of the most well-known English children’s classics. It is loved by old and young alike. It is the story of renewal, growth, and turbulent family relationships. It was written in 1911 but has endured the test of time.

It begins as Mary, a new orphan born in India to a British family, is shipped back to England to live with her recluse uncle at Misselthwaite Manor in Yorkshire. The contrast between India and England is enough to depress anyone, but Mary has much more to overcome than the weather. She is a spoiled, rude, stubborn child, and no one has time for her tantrums. As the story continues, she begins to change. She softens as she focuses on the difficulties of others.

Eventually, she finds a walled garden which is always kept locked. If this isn’t mysterious enough, there are the constant sounds of sobbing within the vast mansion. No servants will engage in her queries, and she is left to unravel both mysteries herself. Like spring itself, the unexpected cultivates ground which had been neglected but is alive with possibilities.

This charming tale is full of innocence and childhood ideals, yet it tackles complicated family relationships, loss, and overcoming life’s difficulties. It is truly about the hope of spring in the middle of the dark winter.

The Darling Buds of May by H.E. Bates

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The title of this book is taken from William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? / Thou art more lovely and more temperate: / Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, / And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Published in 1958, The Darling Buds of May is the first of five Larkin novels. Sticking with the spring theme, this is another book about the unexpected and transformation of its characters. The book is set in Kent and is about the Larkin family’s different way of living. They like to live the “good life,” but they don’t believe in the normal grind of life. They sell odds and ends, strawberries, and farm animals to make a living. The key concept of the book is Pa’s disbelief in taxes.

When Mr. Charlton, a timid tax clerk comes on the scene, schemes are hatched to move him away from their finances. He also seems to provide an escape from a sticky situation their daughter created.

The Larkin way isn’t pure and exactly wholesome, but it is a celebration of family, food, and getting back to nature. The book introduces the reader to the Brigadier, Miss Pilchester, and Angela Snow – all important characters in the story. The ending sets the stage for the rest of the book series with a celebration and wedding announcement.

“Bates, speaking of how he was inspired to create the Larkins, recalled the real junkyard that he often passed near his home in Kent; and he remembered seeing a family — a father, mother and many children, sucking at ice-creams and eating crisps in a ramshackle lorry that had been recently painted a violent electric blue”. (Wikipedia)

Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim

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Elizabeth and Her German Garden is a semi-autobiographical novel of the author’s life. Elizabeth von Arnim (1866–1941) was born Mary Annette Beauchamp. By marriage, she became Gräfin (Countess) von Arnim-Schlagenthin and by a second marriage, Countess Russell. The novel, which is written in the late 1800s in Germany, gives a glimpse of the life of a countess.

Elizabeth didn’t care for city life or the limelight. She much preferred the country. The story is a year-long diary of her efforts to reclaim a neglected estate garden. The process of rebirth and renewal of the grounds is captivating as she captures the horticulture and plants of the day. Her garden is her solace, strength, and refuge from life.

Elizabeth refers to her husband throughout the book as “the Man of Wrath,” and her children are called after the month they were born – April, May, and June. Even though the story is really about her passion for gardening, the book is full of details of life and the constraints on women of the time. 

The story is full of humor, friendship, nature, and the culture of the period. It is both endearing and sweet. It isn’t necessary to be a gardener to enjoy the humor and wit of the story. It will leave one wishing for the solitude of a garden though. (A little side note for Downton Abbey fans, Molesley gave Anna a copy of the book in the second episode of season two.)

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

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As a flower must fight to push through the solid ground in the spring, the main character, Victoria Jones, must push past the hard world in which she was raised. As she slowly learns to let others in, we see the layers of beauty in her open to reveal the inner vessel of her human soul. This is a story of redemption, forgiveness, and hope beyond all hope.

Victoria has been raised in the foster care system and is being “emancipated” on her 18th birthday. This freedom leaves her with no one and nowhere to go. She reaches back and remembers the language of flowers taught her by a foster mother. She uses the old-fashioned meaning of flowers to bless the lives of others while refusing happiness for herself.

This story will break your heart several times, yet a sense of hope prevails at every turn. It is a true testimony of those who break past the abuse of childhood and reach for a higher ground – looking always to help others. The biggest question throughout the book is “will Victoria allow herself to be loved?”

“In The Language of Flowers, Victoria learns about this language as a young girl from her prospective adoptive mother Elizabeth. Elizabeth tells her that years ago, people communicated through flowers; and if a man gave a young lady a bouquet of flowers, she would race home and try to decode it like a secret message. So he would have to choose his flowers carefully.” (Vanessa Diffenbaugh) The author includes a chart with the meaning of flowers should the reader want to share a flower with a friend.

Absent in the Spring by Agatha Christie

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This isn’t your average Agatha Christie book. Christie reveals part of herself in this book and will leave you wanting to know more about the author. Be prepared to be uncomfortable while reading this book. It will lead to self-reflection. The main character is living a busy but trivial life. On the return home from visiting her daughter in Iraq, Joan Scudamore finds herself stranded and alone in a rest house. The train tracks have flooded, and she has nothing but time to reflect on her life.

Joan discovers herself for the first time, and it isn’t a pleasant journey. The book is masterly written weaving present and past in a grand narrative. Spring is a time for planning and reflecting, and this story will leave you analyzing your own life. The veil of truth will be lifted and Joan will return a better person more personally enriched. Are you ready for the journey?

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Prepare yourself for an epic story of living off the land and away from the typical American diet. This is the Kingsolver family’s goal as they move from Arizona to rural Appalachia. They decide to make a one-year goal to live with only what they produce or locally grown food.

Kingsolver is an incredible storyteller even as her family muddles through the task of learning the difficulties of a “simpler” way of life. It is a plea to Americans everywhere to become aware of the drawbacks of the commercial food industry and the myriad of health issues caused by the food we eat.

The topic might seem dry and/or preachy, but let me assure you – you will laugh out loud. Her descriptions of new career choices for unmotivated children will leave you reeling (turkey sperm wrangler, for example). Be warned: there are graphic scenes of heritage turkeys mating – “history in the making” as she describes it.

It’s altogether an enjoyable and educational read. Nothing is lost in the personal narrative of her family’s daily life. Join them through the joys of the first spring harvest of rhubarb to the final apple and potato harvest. Are you ready to take the one year challenge?

9 Book Quotes to Celebrate Spring

Spring is early this year. March 20, 2020 was the earliest spring equinox in 124 years thanks to leap year mathematical magic. Spring equinox marks a day when the Earth is not tilted toward or away from the sun. What is the result? 12 hours of daylight – a completely equal day and night for most of the Earth.

The Earth is awakening under the new daylight and flowers and plants are putting on their best faces to greet us. With everything happening so quickly in our world; and yet, the slowing down of our daily lives and routines, spring is a perfect time to shake off the winter doldrums and take a walk (social distancing rules apply), lie in the fresh spring grass and read a book, or just let the scents of nature stimulate your imagination. Here are some great quotes to put you in the spring mood.

“That is one good thing about this world…there are always sure to be more springs.”

L.M Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

“What a strange thing! to be alive beneath cherry blossoms.”

 Kobayashi Issa

 “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

Margaret AtwoodBluebeard’s Egg

“What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again.”

Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”

Pablo Neruda

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.”

Hal Borland

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

“A little Madness in the Spring Is wholesome even for the King.”

Emily Dickinson

March Birthdays – Authors, Illustrators

March is the signal spring is about to begin. March is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. He was the ancestor of the Roman people through his sons Remus and Romulus. The earliest Roman calendar has it written Martius. It marked the season of festivals and warfare. In the Saxon culture, it was named Lentmonat, marking the lengthening of the days. Whatever the history, there are many things to look forward to in March like St. Patrick’s Day, spring equinox, and Daylight Savings. Here at Discover Books, we would like to pay tribute to the talented authors and illustrators who are lucky enough to have their birthdays in March.

Emily Dickinson paid tribute to the month in her famous poem “Dear March-Come In” which is in the public domain.

Without further ado, the list of authors and illustrators with March birthdays:

Happy Birthday to all those authors and illustrators who illuminate the world with their talents. Help their stories live on by purchasing books at Discoverbooks.com.

Black History Month

The month of February is a time to reflect on the rich history and accomplishments of Americans with African ancestry. It’s a time to reflect on what “Can Be”. (A Reason to Celebrate and Share Our History by Cris Clay) It is a time to stand united and look forward to the future with optimism and hope. This month provides the opportunity of a deep learning experience across different cultures.

Discover Books is pleased to highlight some of the great African-American authors who have left an indelible mark on the history of time. The history is rich and the poetry, stories, and people are unforgettable. Each week this month, we will highlight the great African-American authors and their messages to the world.

Phyllis Wheatley was the first African-American woman to publish a book of poetry. She found her voice and freedom through her poetry. Born in West Africa and sold into slavery at the age of 7 or 8. She was emancipated after publishing her works. Her story is tragic but her words are beautiful. Her life is embedded deep within her writings. Born in 1753 and died in 1784 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Maya Angelou was an American poet, singer, and civil rights activist working with both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry. She has been awarded over 50 honorary degrees. At the inauguration of Bill Clinton, Angelou recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” (1993). This was the first time a poet recited at an inauguration since Robert Frost at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. Born in 1928 and died in 2014.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

“Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.”

-Maya Angelou

Langston Hughes used jazz rhythms in his works leading to the art form known as jazz poetry. People’s love for poetry in the 1920s was dwindling, but he was connecting with his audience through the use of easily relatable language, themes, attitudes.

He was one of the main contributors of the Harlem Renaissance, and known for his colorful portrayals of Black life from the 1920s-1960s. Hughes wrote plays, short stories, poetry, and several books. He focused on change and using art to change people’s perspectives and worldviews. Born in 1902 and died in 1967.

“What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun?… Or does it explode?”

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly”

“I’ve known rivers: I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers.”

– Langston Hughes

W.E.B. Du Bois was an activist, sociologist, educator, historian, and prolific writer. He was one of the most influential African American thought leaders of the 20th century. It wasn’t until his college years that he began to see the effects of racism. His thesis, The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade to the United States of America, 1638-1870 remains an authoritative work on the subject. Born in 1868 died in 1963.

“A true and worthy ideal frees and uplifts a people; a false ideal imprisons and lowers.”

“I believe in Liberty for all men; the space to stretch their arms and their souls; the right to breathe and the right to vote, the freedom to choose their friends, enjoy the sunshine and ride on the railroads, uncursed by color; thinking, dreaming, working as they will in the kingdom of God and love.”

“Read some good, heavy, serious books just for discipline: Take yourself in hand and master yourself.”

-W.E.B. Du Bois

Discover Books will continue throughout this month to highlight the contributions of these great writers. Join us on this incredible journey and Let The Stories Live On.

Giving Back

“Discover Books Donates 1,000 Children’s Books to Cecil County Public Library’s Reading Program”

Elkton, MD – Baltimore, MD – January 27, 2020

1000 Books Before Kindergarten is the Cecil County Public Library’s program to develop a life-long love of reading in children. Reading to young children stimulates their brains and helps them develop an active imagination, all of which helps them thrive academically.  According to a study done by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Reading & Literacy Discovery Center, reading to children in the first five years of life gives them an advantage when they get to school.

To help with Cecil County Public Library’s effort to emphasize the importance of reading, a local company, Discover Books is donating 1,000 early age children’s books to Cecil County Public Library.  This donation valued at over $3,000 will be presented to the library’s Executive Director, Morgan Miller by Discover Books’ CEO, Gary Broache.

Mayor Rob Alt, Jacob Young, Emmy award-winning actor and ambassador for Discover Books, Dave Reymann, CFO of Discover Books, and Gary Broache, CEO of Discover Books will lead the ceremony on Monday, January 27, 2020, at 11 am. Cecil County Public Library – Elkton, MD 21921

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“This donation represents our mission to provide gently used, affordable books to consumers, and donations to our literacy partners,” said Broache. “Moreover, it fulfills Discover Books’ goal of helping children and families gain access to books.”

Discover Books began in 2003. Making books affordable and accessible to all is Discover Books’ highest priority. The company accomplishes this through resell, redistribution, and recycling books into other paper products.

Discover Books has a warehouse in Baltimore, MD where company trucks pick up surplus books from thrift stores, bookstores, libraries, and blue book collection boxes throughout the mid-Atlantic area.  “We are committed to our mission and greatly appreciate the loyalty of all our partners,” said Broache. “We are thrilled to be working with the award-winning Cecil County Public Library.”

Visit www.discoverbooks.com for more information and affordable books.

Discover Books, a for-profit company, is one of the largest online used booksellers and sources of literary donations to charitable organizations in North America.  Discover Books collects used books through thrift stores, library partnerships, residential pick-up operations, and book collection boxes across the U.S.  The company resells, donates, or responsibly recycles used books to achieve its mission.  To date, Discover Books has donated more than 12 million books to those in need and has diverted over 700 million pounds of books from landfills.

About CCPL – In 2015, Cecil County Public Library was awarded the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences National Medal, the highest recognition a library can earn.  

https://www.cecil.ebranch.info/kids/1000-books-before-kindergarten

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Reading & Literacy Discovery Center study on early childhood reading. https://www.ksl.com/article/46705121/this-is-your-childs-brain-on-books-scans-show-benefit-of-reading-vs-screen-time?fbclid=IwAR2KiyapwCSLk2uSqf3_BokgYaFxOJIV9mELCNuZTNJ0PxB219vJQDRebooks.com

The Gift of Reading

What does reading do for us? Why is there such an emphasis on reading? Reading envelopes us in words, ideas, mental images that build our intelligence and imagination. It is the foundation for knowledge and education. It opens up all possibilities and hope. Math, science, art are all propped up on the foundation of reading.

So, what happens if you can’t see? In this high-tech world, does it matter? Charlotte Cushman addresses this very issue in her article Celebrate Braille Literacy Month. Cushman’s answer is quite telling and obvious. “Is it important for a sighted child to learn to read because audible books exist?” Point taken. Everyone deserves an opportunity to read the words for themselves. This allows their minds to wrestle with the tone, voice, and emotions of the characters, which helps build empathy as well as imagination.

Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

January is Braille Literacy Month. It is in honor of Louis Braille who was born January 4th, 1809. Who was Louis Braille? He was one of four children of Monique Braille and Simon-Rene Braille. His father was a saddler and Louis would play in his father’s workshop often. When he was three, he had an accident. He was playing with an awl trying to put it through a piece of leather and the tool slipped and hit him in one eye. They couldn’t save the eye. Within a few years, an infection in that eye spread to the good eye and Louis was completely blind. He was five years old.

Braille was lucky enough to attend one of the first schools for the blind in Paris. In 1821, Braille learned of a French Army Captain who had developed a system of communication called night writing. It was done on thick paper with dots and dashes. It allowed soldiers to feel the paper to know the message-no light necessary.

Braille learned the system but felt it was too complicated. By 15, he condensed Barbier’s 12 dots into 6 and found a way to use a 6-dot cell in a fingertip size area. By 1829, he published his system which included symbols for mathematics and music. Braille was offered a professorship where he taught history, geometry, and algebra. He was an accomplished musician as well. He died young at 43 years of age in 1852.

The system wasn’t accepted by academia at first and the blind were forced to learn it on their own. It was a few years after his death that his system was accepted by the Royal Academy and the French government. He became a national hero. (They even exhumed his body to move it to have it buried in the Pantheon in Paris with other national heroes.)

Learning sign language is encouraged at most schools, but it is rare to find a public school encouraging students to learn braille unless they are blind. DiscoverBooks.com invites you this month to discover a new skill, a new idea, or even a new way to serve. Discover more about Louis Braille’s story or decide to learn to read Braille.

Save 10% off your entire order by using coupon code BRAILLE10 at checkout. This coupon is good until 1/31/2020.

Where Did Walt Disney Get His Ideas?

Where did Walt Disney get his ideas? Books of course! He was a creative genius who brought hundreds of stories to life through his animated art. The majority of his movies were based or loosely based on books and historical stories. Great books make great movies. Animation made the stories and characters come alive. He enchanted us all. Disney magic revived stories and fairy tales that might have been forgotten. Disney was drawn by each story’s magic and created his version of it to strike a chord with the inner child in everyone.


Disney’s whole career was about creating magic for his “guests”. Whether it was a movie, t.v show, or theme park, he focused on the magic within the story. He wasn’t just about sitting in front of a screen. He wanted families to spend quality time together. Therefore, every movie produced created a Disney book. His published books were the mechanism to bring about great family read along. Do you remember your first Disney book?

We carry a huge selection of Disney Books at discoverbooks.com where you can Let the Stories Live On.

Disney’s first book, which was The Adventures of Mickey Mouse, was published in 1931. (We carry the 50th Birthday Edition.) Disney continues to publish books to inspire the kid in all of us. Find your childhood favorite and Let the Stories Live On at discoverbooks.com

How many of these books have you read? Did the movie motivate you to read the book or vice versa? How many more books became Disney movies? Can you name them? Find these and many more at discoverbooks.com. The list below is just a sampling of the 100’s of Disney books we have available on our site. Doing a site search will bring up more options. Happy Searching! Let the Stories Live On.

Discover books offers 5- packs of Disney’s Little Golden Books for $5.20. These are perfect gifts for your class or neighborhood children.