Summer Reading – Kinda Like Regular Reading

18 Jun

Summer reading = light and fluffy. So say magazines and 3-for-2 posters, right? I don’t really get the connection, though. Isn’t summer usually light already? (And yes, I am including London in that statement. It is simply not as rainy here as I was led to believe.) My only requirements for a beach read is that it be paperback (don’t want to feel too precious about a book when I’m cramming it into a backpack or leaving it propped up on my towel between dips), and that it take up less than 10 percent of my total luggage weight allowance.

I just got back from an Italian holiday. Beaches were involved, but so were mountain drives with 28 hairpin turns. So it wasn’t the most reading-friendly of trips, but one of the books I read was Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. Cheery it’s not, but it’s pretty damn funny in spots, and more importantly, it was a sure bet, since I’d already read and liked Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. When Ryanair is making you pay through the nose for every kilo, you don’t want to kid around with heavyweight tomes or writers you’ve never heard of.

If we need a seasonal hook to promote happier fare, I suggest January, when Christmas is over and it feels like you’ll never see the light of day again. And maybe my new summer reading ritual will involve the backlists of authors who I already like or those books that I never got around to reading but always wanted to. Less risky, perhaps, but usually just as depressing as the rest of the books I read.


10 Responses to “Summer Reading – Kinda Like Regular Reading”

  1. Kathryn Eastman June 18, 2010 at 11:22 am #

    I don’t make much of a distinction between my summer holiday reading and other reading, and I’ve never understood why holiday reading is supposed to be light and fluffy. For many people, it’s the only chance they get for some uninterrupted reading time, instead of having snatched moments at home or reading for half an hour before falling asleep.

    If anything, I’ll save up a book that’s going to need my undivided attention for a holiday, which is one of the few times I can give it just that.

    • Lija June 18, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

      Yes! Summer vacation and Christmas holidays are often the only two times a year when I can really devote a solid amount of time to reading. It’s so nice to really get into a book without having to stop because my tube stop’s come up.

  2. Missanthro-prime June 18, 2010 at 11:44 am #

    I think one reason to have the “light and fluffy” stuff is so there is less chance of you being amerced in the book and blanking out the holiday around you. I for one pretty much managed to skip a whole christmas while reading ‘Gone with the wind’.

    • Lija June 18, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

      Maybe. But the lightest and fluffiest stuff is usually put into the “beach reads” category, so presumably, you don’t need to pay too much attention then.

      I can see if you’re having a major adventure or sightseeing holiday, you might need something a little easier to digest in small pieces. Still though, in every holiday there will come a time when you just have to sit somewhere and wait. And then I really do want to forget that I’m stuck in an airport for six hours or something.

  3. Lauren K. June 18, 2010 at 6:39 pm #

    Why take chances on depressing summer reads when you can just read “The Blue Castle” again and again and again?

    Take that, Mrs. Fredrick Sterling.

    • Lija June 18, 2010 at 7:12 pm #

      Well, there’s more to reading life than Cousin Stickles. Not much, but some.

      And if you read depressing stuff on summer holiday, you can quickly forget your reading troubles with a splash in the pool/lake/ocean and a colourful beverage.

  4. LisaG June 18, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

    I like dark reads year round. But maybe I just have a very pronounced dark side?

    • Lija June 22, 2010 at 9:33 pm #

      And some people like beach reads year round, I’m guessing.

  5. savidgereads June 19, 2010 at 11:20 am #

    I actually think I do read rather seasonally weirdly. I like a darker read for around the fire in the autumn and the winter, tend to try new things in spring (odd I know) and then in the summer hit some of the larger books over the delightful sunny weekends and have escapsim in the midweek. I am planning a Summer themed week soon and will definitley be having to bring in your thoughts Lija as its really interesting.

    • Lija June 22, 2010 at 9:32 pm #

      I don’t think I have any major seasonal reading habits, other than my love of YA around the Christmas holidays, which was definitely born out of the proximity to my childhood bookshelf. I might find something if I look at my reading list after a year, though.

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