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)
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.
YA Published: 33
‘Summer’ in the title: 2
Fits my Summer Criteria: 13
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.