Reading the Signs: Classics for Virgo Season
Did you know that planners for 2021 are already on the market? If you answered yes, you’re almost definitely a Virgo. For the rest of us, Virgo season is usually a throw back to our back-to-school days; it’s a time for to-do lists, buckling down after the lazy summer months, and getting organized.
Given that this is a time to get back to basics, Caitlin Landuyt, our astrologically obsessed editor, has looked to the stars and chosen a classic book for each sign. We hope you’ll enjoy spending one of these final days of summer with a book we know you’ll love.
Looking for more suggestions? Check our recs for Cancer, Gemini, and Leo seasons!
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Aries, you relentlessly optimistic, constantly striving, hard-headed little goat, this is the coming-of-age story for you. No matter how many obstacles are placed in his path, Milkman is committed to his quest for gold and flight. Honestly, what hero’s quest doesn’t have appeal for an Aries? They are our best warriors in search of adventure, and if the prize may well stay out of reach forever? Well, all the better. Pick up this masterful novel, Aries, and set your sights on your own quest for the fall. Summer’s over and it’s time to buckle down, and while I might not suggest trying to learn to fly, I’m sure you’ll settle on something perfect.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice could easily have been called Snap Judgements One Holds Onto for Far Longer Than One Ought and that is Taurus territory, my friend. One dude doesn’t dance with you at a ball and you decide he’s the devil incarnate? Someone has a gossipy mother (Mrs. Bennett was obviously a Gemini) and you decide you need to panic over finding her cute? Honestly if Elizabeth and Darcy had been any other signs the book would’ve been a lot shorter. So curl up and revisit this old favorite, Taurus. If it wasn’t for you, this story could’ve been a short piece in a society newsletter. You supplied all the drama this time, and are responsible for the true love happy ending, because we all know that ole Taurus stubborn streak makes for lasting romance.
My Ántonia by Willa Cather
Oh my word, this guy will just not leave our dynamic, free-spirited Gemini Queen ALONE. Truly it’s astounding. Yet Ántonia, who really is the embodiment of peak Gemini power, holds firm. Like any good Gemini she cannot help but be incredibly attractive to those around her. She’s so fun! She’s so free! She’s so in love with life! But that *clap* is *clap* not *clap* your *clap* fire *clap* to *clap* steal! This is a great lesson for all of us—we all have Gemini power we can tap into—but, Gemini, make this your Virgo season affirmation.
Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
Torn between love and obligations, oh Cancer, you poor darling. Man tries to sublimate his best self and marry the woman he’s fond of to make society happy. Man falls madly in love with passionate, proud Italian man. Man must make a choice. This is a total worst-case scenario for Cancers, but they’ve also probably thought through it over-and-over again, so I daresay they’ll be more prepared for this roller coaster ride than the rest of us. Cancer, prepare to feel deeply for our main character. I won’t promise you that you won’t get your heart ripped out, but I will promise you that it’s worth it.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Heathcliff and Catherine. Sigh. Star-crossed lions just roaring around the moors, taking down all the other characters in their path as though they are gazelles at a watering hole. This is Leo pride and ferocity turned up to the nth degree. And no, it’s totally not healthy, but you can’t deny the passion. Leos, pick up this classic when you want to feel powerful, but also want to warn yourself about what to happen when your passions are unchecked. We’re coming out of your season so you’re probably feeling yourself (which is great!) but just remember that there can sometimes be too much of a good thing.
Room with a View by E.M. Forster
If you are ever feeling confused about what the appropriate thing to do in a given situation is, look for a Virgo. Actually, just take a stab at what you think it might be. If you’re right, someone will shoot you a proud look. If you’re wrong, someone will look aghast and immediately pull you aside and explain what you did wrong. In both cases, this someone is a Virgo. Lucy, wonderful little baby Virgo that she is, knows all about what society expects from her. And, whenever she deviates from that path, she is shocked—not only by whatever pulled her away from doing the “right thing,” but by herself. How could this have happened! Virgo, pick this one up as a birthday treat. Because you’re not just prim and proper; you’re also kind and sensitive and caring. So let yourself go a little! Eat an extra slice of cake! Wish for something a little indulgent when you blow out your candles! And maybe, just maybe, kiss someone you’re not supposed to.*
*But only after appropriately quarantining—COVID is still real. I know you know this, Virgo, all of you guys have been on us about the masks from the beginning.
New Hampshire by Robert Frost
Has New Hampshire ever had a better champion than Robert Frost? You read these poems and you imagine this magical Christmas land, full of quiet snow, and sympathetic fir trees, and stone walls that hold centuries worth of secrets. And I’m not saying that doesn’t exist in New Hampshire, but it’s also the state of drive-through liquor sales and tax-free shopping for Massachusseans (Massachussites? Both seem wrong, but I am no Virgo, so forgive me). And that’s why this book is a Libra. Because Frost paints New Hampshire in all its icy glory, as beautiful and romantic as can be, and you know what, bless him for it. Librans, jump in to this collection to be transported. After all, summer’s almost over, and we have the holidays to look forward to.
The Original Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Oh, my word, there is so so so much to unpack here. It seems so simple: man creates monster, monster goes rogue, monster gives into his inherent evil, fight to the death. Scorpio, I know you’re already shaking your head. Of course it isn’t that simple! What makes a monster monstrous? What right does man have to play meddle in creation? And, at the end of the day, who IS the true monster here? Scorpios are gleefully rubbing their hands together. Get into this one, Scorpio, its sting is right up your alley.
The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes by Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes, the great wandering poet warrior! How could this book not be a Sagittarius? This collection contains multitudes and touches on themes of justice, oppression, the meaning of art, and exploration. Sagittarians! It ticks all of your boxes! And, my beloved centaurs, it’s a poetry collection, so you can read a few and meditate on them for days, or jump around in it and find your own path through, or have a dose of that Sagittarian intense focus like that time when you read all about the history of the steam engine in one afternoon on a whim and read it cover to cover. Embrace it! This season, this classic is your oyster.
Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes is the most brilliant detective of his or any day. And at this point my Capricorns don’t need to read on because they already know this is the classic for them. But let me explain for the rest of us. Sherlock’s superpower is logic. He unravels even the most unfathomable mysteries by looking only to the cold, hard facts and applying his unmatched mental acumen. This is fantastic if you need a case solved. But if you’re John Watson sometimes it’s a liiiiitle bit annoying because it comes with a pretty solid dose of condescension. Listen, it’s not his fault. Capricorns genuinely don’t understand why we can’t see the world the way they do through their little sea goat eyes. He’s just trying to help. Capricorns, turn to this classic and test your wits against the master. If anyone can beat him to the chase, it’s you.
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Interesting fact: when I was going through this list I realized that almost every Russian classic is an Aquarius. And the behemoth epic about Napoleon’s 1812 invasion of Russia is the king of the Aquarian classics. Characters from all walks of life who not only show the reader the effects of war throughout society but are also so well-drawn and engaging that they become some of the most beloved figures in literature? Come on. Pierre Bezukhov’s quest for spiritual fulfillment alone is enough to keep Aquarians enthralled for days. Aquarius! Make Virgo season the season you read War and Peace, all 18999900000 pages of it (rough estimate). Humanity is counting on you!
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
The Brontë family home is a nest of Pisceans. I stand by what I said about Wuthering Heights, but it for sure has a Pisces moon or something. Emily and Charlotte are out there living on the windswept moors, with their kind but eccentric father, and a brother whose melancholia and addictive personality made him erratic and paranoid. Is this already sounding a little bit like a poem a Pisces wrote in seventh grade? Of course it is. Jane Eyre is the most sensationalist classic I can think of. There are crooked trees being struck by lightning, people struck blind, and a literal madwoman in the attic. Pisces, turn to this perennial favorite for inspiration for your own creative endeavors, or just to lose yourself in a world tailor made for you.