Do Your Reading Habits Fluctuate By Season?

Green framed eyeglasses on top of a stack of three books My reading habits have followed a pretty predictable pattern for years now.

Summer

In early summer, I spend too much time outside enjoying the comfortable weather to read much. This period of time doesn’t last long, so I’d generally rather go hiking or do other outdoor activities that will soon become uncomfortable when the first heat wave arrives.

As the temperatures and humidity rise, so does my reading time. Sometimes I’ll go outside to read if I can find a shady spot for that. There’s something refreshing about burying your nose in a book while also catching a stray breeze and hearing the friendly rustle of leaves in the trees.

Horror can be a fun genre to dive into at this time of the year. I also tend to start feeling more interested in history books during the summer for reasons I’ve never figured out.

Autumn

Autumn is gorgeous here once the heat of September melts away. My reading rate slows down once again as it becomes more feasible to spend a lot of time outdoors enjoying the autumn colours and cooler weather.

When I do feel the urge to read, it tends to be science fiction, fantasy, history, or, my personal favourite, ghost stories. The closer we get to Halloween, the more likely it is I’ll want to read something in homage to my favourite holiday. Biographies can be okay in small doses, too, although I tend to stock those titles away for the truly cold days to come.

Winter

To put it generously, I am not a winter person. The cold, dark days here make me feel sad, especially after the winter holidays end and we still have more than three months to go until any semblance of spring weather might appear.

This is the time of year when I read ravenously. I tend to avoid horror and very dark subject matter until I feel happier, but I’ll dive into literally anything else: poetry, the classics, fairy tales, mysteries, science fiction, biographies, history, and even the occasional romance novel! This is also when I tend to reread old favourites.

Spring

This season often gets a slow, muddy start in Ontario, so I like to read anything that reminds me of the warmer days that are sure to follow…eventually.

As the temperatures warm up, my reading rates slow down again because it’s finally warm outside again and I want to enjoy the outdoors before summer arrives.

Books about food and cooking become more interesting to me in early spring, and that only increases over time. Maybe it’s because I’m dreaming of all of the delicious food that will soon be in season?

I also tend to read less fiction during this season, especially anything speculative like science fiction or fantasy. Nonfiction is usually most appealing then, although I curiously don’t feel as compelled to read history books or biographies until cold weather returns.

Do your reading habits shift throughout the year like mine do? If so, what patterns have you noticed?

7 Responses to Do Your Reading Habits Fluctuate By Season?

  1. Our summers are more miserable than our winters, but I can see wanting to hole up with a good book when all outside is dark and harsh!

    I’ve noticed a few things in my reading over the years:
    – The year always starts off strong because I like to kick off the year with some varied, fun reading, usually books I’ve looked forward to but have been saving for the kickoff.
    – There’s a big slump in late spring when the days are so gorgeous I’m busier outside than inside reading
    – I tend to like outdoors adventure books when the days start cooling. Something about the coming briskness of late autumn and early winter just gets my blood pumping!
    – Sometimes I develop a mood for light fantasy during the Christmas season, like Harry Potter or Narnia.

    I also do some season-specific reading..a focus on American lit/history in late June and early July (for Independence Day), April is all about England, I sometimes remember to read something appropriate for Advent/Lent…

  2. I really like the idea of personalized seasonal reading. 🙂 I also get sad during the winter, especially post-holidays, so that’s a great idea to re-read favorites which I think I will start doing!

    My reading mostly comes in two seasons, winter and summer, with spring and fall being more spontaneous. Around Christmas/New Year’s I always get ambitious and start on some challenging books (history, etc), which usually occupies me through January. Towards late spring/early summer, I gravitate back to lighter/funner reading. The last two years, I’ve been doing more buddy reads, so that’s given me a little more consistency.

  3. Lydia,

    I’m impressed by your awareness of what you read at each season! I love your eclectic tastes.

    My reading habits fluctuate more by mood and fatigue than anything else, and I don’t think I follow any predictable patterns. The last few years I have devoted much more of my reading energy to news reporting, which has been heavy and depressing, so I’ve been balancing that material with lighter fiction: mysteries, fantasies, re-readings of old favourites. A friend has been lending me the books from Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series (Chicago wizard-PI meets assorted baddies and takes them down) in exchange for my Ben Aaronvitch Peter Grant books (London wizard-police officer meets assorted baddies and takes them down). Both series are more complex than my snarky summary and both are well worth reading.

    I’m just starting to try some other fare. I have begun Marion Turner’s tome on Geoffrey Chaucer’s life (so far, quite good), but also have Odd Partners , edited by Anne Perry, in case the Turner book proves too weighty to counter-balance these ponderous times. I’m slowly getting back into some poetry (The Tradition, Jericho Brown), too.

    While I share Lydia’s love of Hallowe’en (hey Lydia: how about a post about why you love to celebrate it and how you’ll manage to dose this year), I don’t care for horror. Some nice suspense is fine (Rebecca, for instance), but that’s as scary as I want to go. Lydia, if you can find a copy, I’ll bet you’d enjoy Halloween Poems,/I>
    edited by Myra Cohn Livingston, illustrated by Stephen Gammell.

    I do like a good historical novel and Renaissance drama and SF&F and YA lit and Austen and humour and graphic novels and the Aubrey-Maturin series and and and…

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