I have never understood why so many outlets proclaim summer as the ideal time to read. Beach reads! Vacation reads! Long lazy days in the sun to read! I’ve never found any of this to be true. By far, fall is the best season for reading (and a lot of other things).
Summer is simply too busy to be conducive to reading. The days are longer, so there’s more pressure to take care of those outdoor chores, go for a run, or have friends over for an evening barbecue. Even when you’re on vacation, you’re usually so busy doing other stuff that all the books you brought sit in the luggage, untouched. Maybe you can read on the plane or in the car (not for me, I get carsick), but even that’s iffy when you have kids or partners that want your attention.
But now, finally, summer is over. (It’s not my favorite season, so pardon the negativity.) The cooler air is coming, everything feels clear and clean again, and my desire to stockpile books for winter is rising. (I’m like a bear or a squirrel this time of year, gathering all of my books for the long hibernation.) Why does fall trounce summer in the reading sweepstakes? Here are my reasons:
Back to school time makes me want to buckle down.
I love back to school time. Even though I’m no longer in school and don’t have any kids, this time of year still makes me want to grab some school supplies and load up a bag with books. I always get a strong urge to read the classics, probably the result of conditioning during my school years. (September means Dickens!) September just makes me want to power through as many books as I can.
Shorter days = More (guilt-free) reading time.
During the summer, I feel guilty for reading if the sun is out. There’s so much to be done around our property! By the time the work is done and the sun’s gone down, it’s late and I’m tired. Come fall, though, the days get shorter, the projects are mostly finished, anyway, and I’m forced to head indoors earlier. Since I have no choice, I can read guilt-free!
There are fewer competing demands on my time.
Winter brings the holidays and all that entails. Spring is busy getting the yard and property in order and dealing with winter’s neglect. Summer is all busy all the time. Fall is the only time of year when there’s just not much going on. Well, that and late January into February, after the holidays but before spring.
The snacks and beverages are superior.
I like to eat and drink while reading and fall treats are superior. (I’m not a big ice cream or frozen drink person, so summer’s kind of ho-hum for me.) Pumpkin spice everything! Warm beverages like hot cocoa and tea are bearable again. Halloween brings out nostalgic candies. Bakeries put out all kinds of yummy muffins and cookies. Yeah, it’s not a great season for losing weight, but it’s a great season for reading and munching.
I can read outdoors again!
I love sitting on my porch and reading. In the summer it’s too hot and muggy, and winter is too cold. But fall is just right. I even rig up some party lights so I can read after dark huddled under a blanket or in an oversized sweater.
…Or make things cozy indoors.
If I don’t want to be outside, I can turn on my fairy lights, put in my fireplace DVD, light some candles, and snuggle up inside to read. Yeah, I could do this in the summer, too, but there’s something about the roar of the air conditioner that renders the fireplace DVD ridiculous. Plus, I can’t turn on the fairy lights until close to bedtime because the sun is still up.
A ton of new books come out.
Publishers release books by the boatload to capitalize on the Christmas season. While it’s a great time for bestsellers in all categories, it’s also a great time for coffee table books, collector’s editions, boxed sets, cookbooks, graphic novels, and other less traditional types of books that make great gifts. These are often huge and can occupy a lot of fall nights.
…And I can catch up on the summer releases I missed.
I usually miss out on most of the summer books because the hold queues at the library are miles long. (I don’t buy many books, preferring to borrow and not overcrowd my house. YMMV.) All those beach readers gobble up the new releases. But when fall comes? They return them in droves and now it’s my turn!
There’s no better time to read all those gothic, horror, or ghostly tales you’ve been storing up.
Even if you toss out the month of October, when scary reading is a given, the longer, darker nights make the entire fall season the perfect time to read all that creepy stuff you’ve saved up. Ghosts, witches, gothic tales of madness, Cthulhu inspired works, and all other forms of weirdness are on tap. Non-fiction is on the docket, too, if you like “true” ghost stories, accounts of the Salem with trials, true crime, or any other scary real world stuff.
It’s somehow all tied up in my childhood.
As a kid with no driver’s license, I used to ride my bike to the library. This was always easier in the fall when the weather was nicest. Spring was often rainy, summer was too hot and humid, and winter was too cold or icy. I’d take the longest way possible to prolong the enjoyment, then spend hours wandering the shelves, picking the perfect mix of books. Then I’d ride home (the long way, again) with my bike basket bursting with books. (And occasionally an overflow pile tucked under one arm. Not the safest, I admit, but a bookworm’s gotta do what a bookworm’s gotta do.)
I remember those fall bike trips, and the subsequent pile of books placed next to my bed for easy reach on cool nights. (Far easier to read by flashlight under the covers after “lights out” when it’s cool and you’re not sweating to death under the sheets.) All of that, plus the back to school vibe, just takes me back to a simpler, happier time when fall was the best season for books. As far as I’m concerned, it always will be.
(Image by dh_creative)