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Classics In The Summer

A photograph of two sets of two classics resting on the grass in the sunshine

For a good few years now – at least three, I’d say – as the sun makes its way higher in the sky and the days warm up, I get a strong urge to read classics, particularly Victorian and late Georgian. It always happens around late April to May and sort of finishes in July at the time the sun’s decent becomes noticeable.

There are certain factors that come into play – the classics I feel most drawn to are ones that for one reason or another I relate to happy, sunny days. Austen gets a big look in; aside from Persuasion, which is full of windy strolls by the sea and which I first read when ill with a cold, all her books I associate with summer. I read Pride And Prejudice in February, but it was a sunny February and there is a lot of summer in the book. I read Sense And Sensibility in April of the same year; Sanditon in July.

Dickens gets a glance or two – usually, on further consideration, I don’t see it as appropriate. My thoughts of Great Expectations in relation to summer rest firmly in the fun chapter of rocking chairs and parental mishaps – I forget exactly what happens, I just know I loved it. But the book in general wouldn’t be a great choice.

Bronte… the windy moors, general trauma, and pathetic fallacy don’t make them good choices. Though for some reason Daphne Du Maurier appeals. I would approach another Hardy with trepidation but would approach it nonetheless.

A lot of it rests on the idea of re-reading; if I read a book I hadn’t read before, who’s to say it would fit the weather?

Actually, re-reading is another part of it – re-reading always seems a good idea come summer. Summer always feels like a holiday even if it isn’t, children off school for weeks being a reminder of your own childhood summer holidays; the possibilities, the feeling that you’ve lots of time during which you can do whatever you want. In terms of books, re-reading feels more of a holiday than reading new books, with less effort required and thus more relaxation promised.

But I’m yet to get round to reading classics or re-reading anything in the summer. A couple of years ago I made a point of sitting outside one early morning with a coffee and Elizabeth Bennet and it was lovely for the time it took to read two chapters. I never got round to carrying on. Last summer I spent early mornings in the garden reading new books. I think it’s the ‘another day’ problem; I can always do it another day. But that day hasn’t come yet.

Do you favour certain genres at certain times of the year?



May 15, 2017, 7:16 pm

Normally I would say no, but I do have one I’m saving for the coming hot days of summer, based on its title alone.


May 15, 2017, 11:16 pm

I know many people read differently according to the season but this has never been my approach. I just read what I feel like at the time


May 16, 2017, 5:29 pm

My reading doesn’t generally change that much over summer. I still love my fantasy and historical fiction, but I do tend to read lighter, shorter classics (like children’s classics) and more adventurous crime/thrillers.



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