discussions · shanti

Seasonal Reading: a rambly discussion

Hey Virtually Readers! I know you missed me last week. But school is over (YAS) and I have seven weeks to write blog posts for you (okay I’ll probably do other things). There are loots of things lined up, including craft tutorials and reviews and pictures and it’s going to be awesome. But to kick things off, lets talk about seasonal reading, because it’s SUMMERTIME (in the Northern Hemisphere at least.) (Don’t forget though: it’s always a season of reading)

seasonal reading.jpg

This week I read lots of ‘light’ novels. These include the first three Geek Girl novels and Dreamology. I have lots of other contemporaries lined up (once I finish Seraphina) including The Unexpected Everything, Something Real and The Young Widow’s Club. All of these books have serious themes, but are mostly pretty light. I’m reading them because they’re enjoyable and after four months of doing lots of brain engaging things at school, I’m ready for some summery books.

BUT DOES SUCH A THING EXIST???????

Sorry. That was maybe a little dramatic. I’m not trying to write a post that unnecessarily sensationalises things so people will share it on Facebook (or am I?). Still, the question remains: are different books suited to different times of year? I mean, obviously, there are no laws governing when you read.  But is it possible to blanket generalise a book as a ‘winter’ one when every person has different connotations as to what that season means?

It seems to me that publishers, at least, have some awareness of this. You may have noticed that HEAPS AND HEAPS of YA books are being published in May. To me, it seems that this is because publishers know that most teenagers start their school holidays in June—when they’ll have lots of time to read all the books that were published in May. All of these major publishers have headquarters in the US, where June= summer (and teenagers having holidays and maybe jobs and money also). So I’m going to conduct a wee analysis, just looking at the novels that were published on May 3rd. (from this list). I’m going to define ‘summery’ book as a contemporary romance (no suicide, drugs, or other darker topics) or any other book that is focused on romance (just from the blurb) or has summer in the title or the blurb (as the main time setting) . I’m going to compare this to the books published six months ago on November 3rd (from this list), with the same criteria.

May 3rd:

YA Published: 33

‘Summer’ in the title: 2

Fits my Summer Criteria: 13

November 3rd:

YA Published: 15
‘Summer’ in the title: 0

Fits my Summer criteria: 3

Okay, so this is fairly unscientific (if I saw words like ‘brutality’ ‘murder’ or ‘violence’ I didn’t even read the whole blurb), I just made up the analysis on the spot, but it’s clearly very obvious that publishers want us to think of reading seasonally (but subtly! They want you to buy books all year round, after all.) As I explained above, the phenomenon of wanting to read different things at different times is true at least for me—but probably other people as well.

But is this a true phenomenon, or one created by publishers? Without doing some actual study and trying to get lots of data, I can’t really separate the two. I feel like the summer one is maybe more pronounced, because summer break has a very definite start, while winter is different for everyone and in different places spring comes at different times.  It might be the middle of winter where you are, but you feels stressed and want to read a summery book. Still, there’s something to be said for reading about the same season you’re in—and there’s certainly lots of recently published YA that is summery.

The question that is really here, I guess, is whether your mood is linked to the season. And that’s super complicated and psychological. Sometimes the seasons of your life match up to the actual seasons, but often they don’t. I read different things at different times. Right now I’m right into light books set in summer, but next week it might be high fantasy. The good thing is that, as I said earlier, there are no laws governing this. You can read what you want when you want.

Do I start too many sentences with ‘but’? What do you associate with summertime? (I’m maybe the only one who thinks ‘spontaneous research’) And do you believe in seasonal reading? Tell me in the comments.

 

 

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14 thoughts on “Seasonal Reading: a rambly discussion

  1. This is an interesting idea, and I thought your mini-analysis was especially interesting! I’d never even thought about that. At least for me, though, I don’t think “seasonal reading” as you’ve framed it isn’t a thing for me. I am more likely to pick up the murder and drugs and terribleness books all the time—I don’t really like contemporaries, so it’s very rare that the specfic I pick up really has any seasonal themes. When it comes to reading certain books in summer, though, I do think that there are some habits I continue with, like reading old favorites of mine or purposely going out of my comfort zone. Those are the patterns I’ve noticed lately, anyway!

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  2. My experience definitely agrees with your spontaneous research, and I think your argument on Why makes sense. Though I do think that summer is the only season REALLY catered to by publishers, probably because of the school-break thing you mentioned.

    I personally don’t read seasonally, most of the time. I used to be a hard core classics-only reader, and though there are more summery light classics, you can’t really find one without ANY deep stuff. And I’m a mood reader in general, so I tend to alternate between the light stuff and the intense stuff, depending on what I feel I need. Sometimes it’s just super awesome to sit on the beach under the sun with a lemonade and sunglasses – reading about murder. 🙂

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    1. Summer is more noticeable–but I think the rest of the year, the summer thing is subtle. Spontaneous research ftw. I guess classics are that way because the deep themes last… or maybe classics are just better in general if you’re willing to try them? I don’t know. Yeah, irony on the beach is pretty awesome 🙂

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  3. I am from tropical country as well, so I can’t do seasonal reading otherwise I’d make myself read beach themed book forever. I also don’t get this summer reading book list, however I think publication is a business, so it has to have its own trend to keep things fresh.

    Why light and easy novels are associated with Summer, I have no idea. Maybe because Summer is for vacation and people don’t feel like reading sad dystopian book during their picnic happy days? *shrugs* But I love me some light and easy novels, they’re good cure for bookish hangover 🙂

    Great post as always, Shanti!

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    1. Publication is definitely a business– and as much as I love books, it’s important not to forget that. I guess it’s because a lot of people have holidays in summer, like you said, and for kids it’s between school years so there are no responsibilities. Yeah, they sure are… or for school hangover haha. Thanks Citra.

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  4. I’m kiiiind of not really fussed with seasonal reading. I say “kiiiiind” of all ominously like that, though, because I do get a lot of ARCs, ergo YES I’ve noticed publishers like to be seasonal so I end up being seasonal by default.😂 I think it makes sense that publishers do this though! Like you said, they’re catering to all the teens on holidays who are looking to have fun/relax. ALTHOUGH WHAT ABOUT THOSE OF USE WHO CONSIDER “FUN” TO BE TRAUMATISING BOOKS????? #me 😂 So while I’ll always pick the dark/heavy books, I don’t mind summery reads. Although right now it’s really hard to pick up The Unexpected Everything when I’M FREEZING MY LITTLE FINGERS OFF. So. It’s also because very very awkward when one lives on the opposite side of the world. ;D

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    1. Being concerned with the season probably isn’t the main thing I think when I pick up, say, a summery Morgan Matson book. I think it’s a moe subtle thing inside my head… I do get why publishers do this– and I think it works. #brbheartbrokenforever. Yeah, publishing schedules are different in different places and I can see how that would be confusing.

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  5. This is a difficult topic for me, since as I live in a really tropical country, there really is only three ‘seasons:’ rainy, hot, and hotter (well, there is a ‘cold’ season where you might put on a jacket for an hour before you feel warm enough). But I have noticed all the contemporary YA that comes out in May. It probably is a marketing strategy, at least in the northern hemisphere, to connect with the readers’ current setting more.
    Great post! 🙂

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    1. Yeah, it’s definitely a mistake to assume that seasons around the world are exactly the same as mid-latitude US. The publishers do try to take advantage of that for sure. Thanks Melissa!

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  6. I think I believe in seasonal reading, because when summer comes, I usually pick up more contemporaries than ever, ones I can read on the beach, light reads with a bit of romance, I just love these kind of books when it’s hot outside and everything. It’s so cliché to say that now, isn’t it? Looking back at last summer, it’s really what I did, and I read a whole bunch of contemporaries around that time. However, this year, with The Raven Boys, The Winner’s Curse and other books I want to start, I think I might make an exception on all of those summer-y titles…That being said, I do plan on reading Me Before You as well, and cry, so… ahah. There’s a title I always love to read or re-read during the summer, it’s the Summer series by Jenny Han, so… it’s so cliché, once again 😛

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    1. Yeah, seasons do definitely influence your mood– and that might make you want to read certain things. I’m going to get Me Before You from the library soon and I’m sure I’m going to cry. Light romantic books are so fun! Shar”s read that Jenny Han series and I might try it out some time 🙂

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