Thursday, December 4, 2014

Confessions of a Seasonal Reader

December has dawned. The air outside stings with the sharp, snowy winds of winter, and the air inside sings with the subtle scent of softly-lit pine. It is time to pull my coat out of the closet, start studying for finals, and most of all immerse myself in this holiday-themed book.

If I had written this post in September, I may have opened with a description of leathery leaves, crisp apples, and the coursing anticipation that accompanies the arrival of autumn. I would have listed the atmospheric books I was reading to get myself in the mood for fall and the horror novels on my pre-Halloween reading list.

If I had written this post in June, I would have complained about 90-degree heat and angry red mosquito bites that make me want to crawl out of my own skin. But I would have consoled myself with thoughts of lighthearted novels featuring summer camps, road trips, and adorable romances.

Why? Because I am very much a seasonal reader, a firm believer that certain books are meant to be read during certain months.

I have no rational explanation for this dearly-held belief system. In fact, until now, I never truly thought about why the calendar dictates my reading choices so strictly or when I started caring that my reading matched the season. It was as if I inherently knew that gorgeously written ghost stories were for October and clever rom-coms were for July.

Now that I have stopped to ponder the reasons for my reading habits, I suppose the best answer can be summed up into one word: mood. Just as some feel the desire to travel to the beach during the summer, I feel a compulsion to read about the beach. The weather puts me in the mood to read a certain type of that book, and the more beach reads I consume, the more I fall into the feeling of summer.

My seasonal reading has created its share of problems over the years. I have been known to place a book on hold at the library and proceed to check its status five times a day, telling myself it needs to get to me before the time to read it expires.

However, my seasonal reading has also taught me a valuable lesson about the importance of challenging strictly-held reading habits and trying something new. Occasionally—just occasionally—I will find myself picking up an out-of-season novel. And instead of feeling entirely wrong, it feels refreshing. When I read Second Chance Summer last December, its sunny setting sliced through the icy Indiana winter, creating a shimmering escape that made the story exceptionally memorable. When I read The Vanishing Season, a story set against an expanse of pure white snow, it took the edge off of the encroaching June heat that I was already beginning to resent.

In all likelihood, I will always be a seasonal reader—I do not think my reading habits will change, and I do not think I want them to. But if there is one thing being a seasonal reader has taught me, it is to be willing to try something out of the ordinary. This December, I challenge you to challenge your reading habits—whether that means reading one novel straight through if you tend to flit between titles, reading a fantasy if you are exclusively a contemporary fan, or reading a summer story if you like to keep books confined to particular months. No matter how deeply set in your ways you may be, switching things up can refresh and rejuvenate—and even change your reading habits for 2015.

Let's discuss: are you a seasonal reader? If so, when and why did you become a seasonal reader? Either way, do your reading compulsions ever create complications for you? And have you ever tried reading out of your comfort zone?

9 comments:

  1. I legitimately have a post similar to this drafted up but yours is just brilliant! <3

    I never used to be that much of a seasonal reader. I would read all over the place. And to be honest, it's also easy to allow myself to be pushed into reading books that my friends are currently reading, you know? But the thing is, most of them are from the other side of the hemisphere from me so if they're reading seasonally appropriate books, it means that I'm reading the complete opposite to my own weather (though granted, aus is in a constant state of summer so all those summer reads work year round haha).

    BUT for some reason, just as Summer turned this year, I've been craving a good summer romance for the beach. I've never felt this sensation before. And I kind of like it:P You're so right, I think reading with the season just really adds to the experience, you know? Everything feels a little more realistic. FAB POST, MY DEAR! <3

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  2. I've never been a seasonal reader. I just read whatever I want to at the time. I'm thinking maybe I should be though, just a little. Not to extremes, it sounds too hard :P But I think that might be my goal, to read a summer book this season (yes, it's summer here)

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  3. Honestly, I'm not really a seasonal reader, but more like a seasonal MOOD reader. If in the winter, I'm looking at the snow and I want to cozy up with a book to match with the season, I'll read it. But when I feel like I miss summer then I love reading a summer beach romance. I guess in a way I'm similar to your style of reading, but I won't necessarily say I only read winter books during the winter and vice versa. Though the book My True Love Gave To Me is on hold and happens to look like it will come right in time for the holiday season!

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  4. Being a seasonal reader this reason is going to be a little hard, since I'll be in Mexico with SUNSHINE. Reading a winter book might be odd :P But then, hey, it would bring Christmas over to Mexico for me!

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  5. Really enjoyed 'True Love' this season though to be honest, I don't make much note of seasonal reading throughout the year and each Christmas season I do make a mental note to read more holiday reads, then never do. Someday!

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  6. I'm not a seasonal reader really...I did try and read some Halloween-type reads this Fall, but overall, I tend to just read whatever sounds good. I do think it can be fun to read a book here and there that fits the season though.

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  7. I have the fortune of not being much of a seasonal reader. Sure, it's nice to read a Christmas book or two in the winter, but it's not a requirement for me. Thanks for sharing Emily, and, as always, beautifully written post! <3

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  8. I don't exclusively seasonal read... But I do love it! Most books I consider to be fairly season neutral so it doesn't matter when I pick them up. But I've saved 'My True Love Gave To Me' for Christmas time cause I can't resist such a christmassy opportunity!! I was actually gonna read 'The Summer I Turned Pretty' at the start of december but I'd eaten a mince pie that day and I'd put up decorations so I just couldn't bring myself to pull away from all that winter wonder...
    Also! I find it way easier to read a summer book in winter than a winter book in summer! Is that just me?
    Great blog! I love love loved it :D Keep up the good work x

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  9. I'm not a seasonal reader by habit, but the cover of My True Love Gave to Me caught my eye because that was the one book I saved for the right seasonal mood! I bought it when it was still fall, but decided to wait until the first snow to read it, which made me even more excited for the wait! As soon as I woke up and spotted snow, I told my roomies to turn on the Christmas music, made a cup of hot chocolate, and snuggled in bed with the book! It was magical! I do have to admit that the way you described being a seasonal reader is a little romantic, which I love
    - Barbara @ My Bibliophile Mind

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