Hi one and all, welcome to another discussion post aka ‘Emma babbles to try to work out her own opinion on the subject at hand and then asks what you think when she can’t make her mind up’.
This subject at hand is something that I am finding unavoidable at this time of year due to the changing of the seasons from Summer to Autumn, or Fall for any of you US folk. With Autumn comes the excuses to dig out that knitwear and those scarves and go crunching through golden leaves. It also brings out all the love for pumpkin spice latte (I have been known to indulge in the past)… which is to say, there’s something of an Autumn ~aesthetic~ on the Internet, and that has even extended into the book community. Much like Summer seemingly heralds the resurgence of fun, contemporary reads on many a reader’s TBR, and Winter sees readers snuggling down with something more slow-paced or a chunky, long fantasy tome, Autumn marks that transitional period which is reflected in a lot of bookworms’ reading choices.
Autumn also brings October which brings Halloween and, for many, they try to sneak in a spooky read or two, in the spirit of All Hallows Eve. As someone who doesn’t much go in for Halloween parties, nor horror as a genre, this has never really affected my TBR choices all that much, though it is fun to watch recommendation videos from Booktubers for fun scary reads. (One year maybe I’ll be brave enough to dip my toes into the murky waters of horror, but 2017 is probably not that year!)
This has led me to a realisation… I don’t really read seasonally.
I don’t know how much of this is down to summer being unreliable (I live in the UK, we get maybe two weeks of glorious weather, interspersed with rain and wind in no discernible pattern) so I never change up my reading for that specifically anyway. Likewise, as I am no longer in education, summer no longer marks the end of a long, exhausting academic year for me. I used to read fun, fluffy contemporary during the summer months, or lose myself in a fantasy during Christmas break, largely to give my brain a rest from the harder and more complicated things I was reading during the school year. Now I get to pick and choose what I read and when, so I can ‘give my brain a rest’ whenever I like – oh, the freedom!
As my leisure reading no longer serves as ‘taking a break’ from required reading, I can dictate what I read and when – I don’t need to loosely schedule in more ‘fun’ reads for when I have a break from school near holidays e.g. October half-term, Christmas, and Easter. Don’t get me wrong, I still like to try to get to, say, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens in December, but it’s not really a tradition ingrained in my yearly reading. I don’t read my favourite book every Christmas or make a point to join in a Little Women readalong or anything.
In fact, I’d go so far as saying I read seasonally inappropriate reads – one summer I was on a beach, in Spain, in glorious sunshine, reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula… because that’s just how I roll, apparently. I just felt like reading a story about a vampire lurking around spooky graveyards in Whitby whilst I was sunning it up on the Costa del Sol, and, no, I don’t know why I’m like that.
Thanks to the book community online, my reading tastes have changed too – I’ve been more unashamed about the sheer amount of young-adult fantasy I now read. However, with my reading tastes changing, it’s now pretty rare for me to pick up a contemporary, so filling an entire summer with these sorts of stories just wouldn’t happen – I would run out of stories I actually wanted to read. Likewise, I seem to be struggling lately to read anything that’s not fantasy in some way, or at least has fantastical elements (i.e. Exit West), so that rather limits my reading choices if I wanted to be seasonal with my TBRs.
Don’t get me wrong – I do love the fact that the year shifting towards darker nights and shittier weather gives me the perfect excuse to stay inside with a cup of tea and a book all night without being judged for it too much. But as for what I’m reading? Don’t expect it to be seasonally appropriate.
How about you – do you pick certain books based on the season? Do you read more contemporary in summer than at any other time of year? Do you read more chunky, fantasy-based tomes mostly during winter? Do you pick out Halloween reads? Please do let me know in the comments below because I’m actually really curious about this one!