I’m a firm believer in bookish seasons. Everyone has a book they DNF’d because it ‘wasn’t the right time.’ My own reading tastes tend to change with the weather. If I can’t finish a book I think I should be enjoying, I put it aside for a few weeks and pick it up again when the atmosphere changes.
For example, I have a hard time reading horror during the summer. Even if I turn all the lights off and use a book light, it just doesn’t feel right. I need the spookiness that comes with bare trees and dead grass, the inevitable chill that slips through door frames and windows.
Contemporary novels are perfect for the spring. Fantasy reigns during winter. Summer is when my tastes are a little less clean-cut. It changes every year. This past summer I leaned towards historical fiction and essays.
I recently read an interesting article from 2016 that discussed a similar phenomenon with music. A popular streaming platform observed the 100,000 most popular artists on their platform to track how their listeners’ tastes changed with the seasons.
The study found that during the fall, listeners gravitated towards orchestral music, while the summer was dominated by reggae and audiobooks. Winter brought people to Nat King Cole and the Beatles. Spring is the season of Zedd and Wiz Khalifa. It makes me wonder what a similar study of readers would show.
This seasonal reading phenomenon is applicable to authors, too. Two of my favorite authors are V. E. Schwab and Neil Gaiman. I could read their work year-round, but I particularly enjoy it during a good storm.
This is one of the reasons I wasn’t a fan of required reading in high school. When I took AP English Literature, one of the novels we read was Wuthering Heights. It’s one of my favorite classics, but I felt off the entire time we were reading it. It’s clearly a late autumn/early winter book, and we read it during spring.
I like to think everyone has different reading seasons. One person’s fantastical winter might be another person’s season for contemporaries. How does weather affect your reading tastes?