The summer season is upon us, and with it, comes one of my favorite bookish traditions: the summer reading lists on all the different books sites.
But as I've scanned through these lists (and bought WAY too many books, lol), it made me wonder what it is about summer that gets us thinking differently about reading? Yes, the kids are out of school, but I would imagine that most of us (if you're not a teacher) don't get summers off. And if you're a stay at home parent, summers are actually even more intense than the school year because you have to occupy your kids ALL DAY LONG EVERY DAY.
For me, summer is still just as busy as any other time. I still have deadlines. I also have the Romance Writers of America conference, which requires a decent amount of preparation and takes me away from my writing for a week. I'm lucky in that I send my kidlet to day camp so I still have my work day, but otherwise, I don't have extra time off.
So why do I still have this idyllic picture in my head that I'm going to be leisurely reading oceanside or something all summer? Lol. I don't know. But for some reason, I still feel the noticeable shift in my head when summer hits. I think I've never fully escaped that mentality of the lazy days of summer from childhood where I could read as much as I wanted (and kill it on those PIzza Hut Book It Read-a-Thon challenges, lol.)
Also, I find it really interesting that there's this whole genre label of "beach reads." I'm still not sure exactly what that means, and sometimes I get annoyed with that label because it's often code for "silly lady's book" which all romance gets lumped into by the non-romance world along with a certain type of women's fiction. (Do dude books ever get labeled beach reads? Dudes go to the beach.) But what does "beach read" mean? If it has a body of water and some sand on the cover, I know they're telling me it's supposed to be a beach read. But does that mean easy read? Fun read? A trashy one? A book that takes place in summer? I don't know.
I think my idea of a perfect summer read includes some or most of the following...
- Takes place in summer or somewhere warm.
- Transports me to a vacation-like location.
- Has a happy ending.
- Is a page-turner and completely engrossing.
The book I blogged about last week, Every Wild Heart by Meg Donohue, fit these criteria. And right now, I'm reading The Dry by Jane Harper and although it's a dark book and I have no idea what the ending will be like, it takes place during a drought in Australia. So it's warm, transports me to somewhere I haven't been, and is a page-turner. Summer read.
I got both of these off Modern Mrs. Darcy's Summer Reading Guide, which is fantastic list, though sadly, doesn't cover the romance genre. I'm still looking for a great summer reading list for romance. (If you know of one, leave a comment!)
But my question for you is, do you change your reading habits and the types of books you read during summer? What do you seek out to read? How does your reading life change (if it does at all)? What's your idea of the perfect summer read?