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.