May Sunshine Light Your Day…

A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.
— St. Francis of Assisi

When November arrives in the Pacific Northwest, it brings deep darkness and rain. Most of us living here actually like the rain and understand Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s advice: “The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.” But that doesn’t mean we don’t long for sunshine on those long, dark, wintery days. One of my favorite things to do in winter, on a dark and dreary day, is to read a book that takes place in sunnier climates. I love to immerse myself in the written sunlight, and then look up to be startled by the dark contrast outside my window.

As I was looking through the books on my bookshelves this weekend, I was amazed at how many fit that sunshine description. I decided to put a list together of books I can read on very gray days…my own little journey south in search of sunshine.

My Sunshine choices:

People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.
— Anton Chekhov

(Click on the beautiful painting above to learn more about the artist, LaShun Beal.)
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10 thoughts on “May Sunshine Light Your Day…

  1. Kay

    What a nice post, Robin! We lived in Beaverton, Oregon for 3 years and moved there actually on the day that the time changed in the fall. Wow. What a difference in climate from our central Texas. We managed for 3 years and then came home. My husband just could not take the cloudy skies. He is a sunshine boy for sure.

    I hope you have many sunny days even through the rain of winter!

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  2. Nymeth

    I love the expression “written sunshine” 🙂

    Those are some great choices, Robin! I’m especially curious about Malinche and about The General in His Labyrinth (not only because it’s Gabo, but because it was mentioned in Looking for Alaska).

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  3. Gentle Reader

    I like where I live, but one of the things that gets to me is the interminable sunshine! So I need the opposite–books about real weather! Maybe you can suggest some for me 🙂

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  4. Robin

    Thanks, Kay. You definitely understand that gray factor if you spent time in Beaverton! We do get sunshine every once in a while in the winter, but, as welcome as it is, it feels awfully week. I’ve heard recently that there are a lot of people in this area that test very low on Vitamin D. Yup.

    Thanks, Nymeth. I’m just finishing Malinche and am liking it very much! I’m also curious about The General in his Labyrinth, and looking forward to reading another Gabo!

    Gentle Reader, you do have the opposite problem! I definitely need seasons (having grown up where there are four of them!). Your question is terrific — a list of books about real weather! We should open up the discussion to our blogging friends! But here are a couple of books that immediately came to mind: the mystery books by Aaron Elkins and/or Earl Emerson; Ivan Doig’s The Sea Runners (what a powerful tale); and The Good Rain, by Timothy Egan; and Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson.

    Thanks, J. Danger!

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  5. Bookfool

    I think you’ll find The General in His Labyrinth is a bit on the gloomy side. I didn’t make it through that one. We’ve had two rainy days, now. I’m especially enjoying the rain because we’ve had weeks and weeks of bright, painful sunlight. It’s lovely, but sometimes you just want cloud cover! It was storming here, earlier — scary, noisy storm — and I’m glad that part’s over.

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  6. Bellezza

    The weather there seems very much like that in Illinois, but we do not get quite as much rain I think. When I lived in Europe, it seemed to rain from October to May. It is good to keep up one’s hope!

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  7. Robin

    Bookfool, thanks for the heads up on The General in his Labyrinth. Gloomy doesn’t sound terribly inviting, so I’ll try to start it when we have a little longer daylight (or even a bit of sunshine)!

    Bellezza, I agree with you — “it is good to keep up one’s hope.” Reading does that for us, doesn’t it.

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  8. Gentle Reader

    Oooh, that’s a great list of “weather” books, I’m taking note! I haven’t read any of them except Snow Falling on Cedars, which I enjoyed…I’m going to think about it and come up with some more…let’s talk more about this later 🙂

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