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A Summer Person, A Winter Reader

A screenshot from the Sims, of a person in a coat reading on the beach

Most people who know me (and that includes you all) know that I dislike winter very much. I said this in my second castle update post, I often remark on it on Twitter, and my choice of book at any one time may be decided by which plot sounds like it spends more of its time on summer months. (I should note that I term late autumn ‘winter’ as well as the official months.)

However I’ve recently come to realise that where reading itself is concerned, winter is my ‘thing’. I find I am far more excited by the idea of reading in winter, I tend to be better at selecting books that work better in that certain order I’ve chosen, and I think I’m more proactive in reading my own books, too. Certainly the thought that the year is almost over and I’ve little time comes into play – because if I’m reading books I’m not enjoying I’ll inevitably take longer over them and thus shorten the count – but it is mostly down to that excitement I listed first.

One thing about summer that is an issue for me – I don’t like being inside. It’s not an issue in general, it’s better defined as a personal preference, but where reading is concerned it’s problematic. I can take a book outside. I can read in a park, or on the patio, but enjoying summer necessitates lots of time travelling and I can’t read whilst in the car. Of course I couldn’t if I was driving, nobody can unless it’s an audiobook, but I suffer from travel sickness so bad that I often send texts in short form, which as a rule I don’t like. I also can’t really read whilst walking. The man I once passed who was walking down a main road with his eyes on a copy of Anchee Min’s The Last Empress may have thought it worthwhile (and the book was a great choice) but I’m keen on the idea of safety coming before the concept of making the most of one’s time.

All that rambling to say I don’t read much in the summer because I like the sunny weather too much. Especially given that us Brits have to make the most of every sunny day because we never know when we’ll next be graced with one.

So I wonder if my excitement over winter reading choices is the result, a forced feeling if you will, of being stuck inside. I’m not stuck inside, I can go out if I wish, but I don’t enjoy it and I’m very much aware of all the time ‘wasted’ during summer. Not having to ‘worry’ about the weather being nice enough means that my attention is focused on the book. It means that I know I’m likely to finish the book soon. It means that I know I’ve much reading time ahead of me. By extension I suppose this is why I pick better books as a whole – I’m attuned to my preferences as well as that end-of-year ‘rush’. And, okay I admit it, Christmas books are a whole lot of fun and there are no holidays in the summer that warrant their own themed books. Unless you’re in Australasia where Christmas is in summer.

I also wonder if the fact my birthday falls in winter, Fireworks night falls in winter, my anniversary – and its resulting holiday – falls in winter, and that Christmas thing falls in winter (here) plays a role as well. There is much to look forward to, and many potential book gifts at this time, too.

In winter its cold, there’s little sunlight, and I’m forced to wear layers of clothing. I’ve never been a jumper person. But in winter I just feel this freedom to read what I like, the validation to read fun Christmas books, and for some reason Medieval fiction is better during winter too. I don’t know why that last one is so, maybe a feeling of superiority arising from being a 21st century person with access to central heating and hot water bottles?

Do you find you’re a ‘better’ or ‘happier’ reader during a certain season?



November 25, 2013, 12:37 pm

I think similar to you I feel far less guilty about reading in Autumn/Winter. When the weathers cold it feels okay to stay in and read while in Summer I feel like I should be out enjoying it. This Summer though I was much better about the fact I could be enjoying the sun in my garden with a good book too!

Tanya Patrice

November 25, 2013, 3:13 pm

I’m the same way. Summer is spent doing stuff and going out and enjoying the warmth and long days. Winter – it gets dark so early and my energy for doing outdoor things wane. I also am more comfortable sitting around for long stretches just reading.


November 25, 2013, 3:27 pm

I’m a different reader in different seasons (and boy am I with you in hating winter), but I’m not convinced that this is productive; I think it’s merely anecdotal. To illustrate (!) let me tell you the story of how I read To the Lighthouse. I was 22, it was summer, and I had oral comprehensive exams over all of western literature coming up (we could eliminate two periods, so I eliminated medieval and early American). I had not been succesful at getting interested in reading To the Lighthouse until the hot July day when I took it out to the apartment swimming pool. I love to swim, but I don’t remember getting in the water as much as usual that afternoon. I read the book straight through and loved it. That not only taught me that what I think of as the best atmosphere for reading isn’t always the best, but that I should persevere, because something I don’t like much at first could turn out to be a great book, and I have to find a way to appreciate it.

Rebecca @ Love at First Book

November 26, 2013, 2:21 pm

I don’t get how people like winter! I want to be in the sun, in the pool, on my porch reading!!!

Christine @Buckling Bookshelves

November 26, 2013, 3:25 pm

I love summer and I really love going to the beach. There is only so much time I can spend at the beach though because I don’t live close enough to just go for the day or the weekend. I tend to spend more time indoors in summer than I feel I *should*, so when winter comes, it’s like the pressure is off, lol. I can curl up with a good book without feeling like I’m missing out on anything. And there is something so cosy about being inside during fall and winter, even though outside can be frigid!

As for squeezing in more reading time during travelling (or walking, or whatever), I really have to advocate for the audiobook. If you’re not used to them, it might take some time to figure out which genres you enjoy listening to. I personally don’t care for novels on audio because having one narrator trying to bring an entire cast of characters to life doesn’t usually work for me. But I actually found I prefer memoir, non-fiction, and humor books in this format. I also love listening while doing house or yard work and it makes the experience so much more enjoyable! I only wish I had tried them sooner! I try not to focus on quantity, but it’s also really helped me read more books when I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to find the time.

Andrew Blackman

November 26, 2013, 5:35 pm

I’d never really thought about it before. I certainly hate winter, and find that in summer I have more energy for everything, reading included. But in winter I go to bed earlier and read more in the evenings. So all in all, it probably comes out even. I don’t track my reading accurately enough to know for sure, though. Interesting post!

Jenny @ Reading the End

November 27, 2013, 3:35 am

I’ve no idea how (or if) my reading changes with the seasons. I know that during winter, I am more attached to the snuggly ideal of reading — this idea that I will cuddle up in my blankets with a lovely book and a cup of hot chocolate, and read it cover to cover. In reality that’s not a thing I do incredibly often, but I love the idea of that kind of reading when the weather is wretched.


November 27, 2013, 9:32 pm

I am such a season person too with a lot of things reading including. However, in summer i Read less than the rest of the year in general. It’s usually because Im so busy with my son and getting stuff done it seems to be in the background a little.


December 1, 2013, 3:04 pm

I definitely read more in Winter, I like snuggling up and reading on cold evenings. At the moment I am enjoying Winter, but once Christmas passes it will outstretch it’s use and I’ll want Spring to arrive early.



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