How much is reading considered a seasonal activity?

As the trees lose their leaves, and time rolls into yet another winter, I thought it interesting to explore how much the popularity of genres change with the weather, and whether this affects the timing of publication. However, before tackling such topics, it would be best to establish what seasonal reading truly means: to embrace whatever season is thriving at that current moment through books. Essentially, most readers associate particular genres to each season, or even to a type of weather, which adds another dimension to the reading experience by allowing them to immerse themselves in the atmosphere. Due to the fleeting nature of the seasons, it is worth appreciating each one and its peculiarities to the maximum. Conversely, seasonal reading is equally useful if a reader seeks to escape the dreariness of the winter months by diving into a fun summer novel. Hence, its versatility is what makes it enjoyable and a common way for people to organise their reading all year long; factoring the seasons can help avoid a slump and keep readers engaged in their books. That is the beauty of seasonal reading.  

Although the definition and boundaries of seasonal genres may differ from reader to reader, there is a general consensus of the appropriateness of which novels should be read during a particular season. It does make one wonder whether, by reading a fantasy book in the summer for example, or another book at the wrong time of year, it could affect one’s enjoyment. It is, thus, for this reason that many publishers are very specific when timing a book’s launch date in order to achieve maximum impact on the public and use the seasons’ atmospheres as a marketing strategy to entice readers all over the world. In this sense, some genres are better received in certain seasons. Is this a unique way to promote an upcoming release or is it unfair considering that the southern hemisphere is on the cusp of summer while other nations are cosying up with their new wintery Christmas novels? In any case, these approaches can always be beneficial to readers who are able to embrace nature’s finest moments through the art of literature.


To define winter and the genres that are bound up with it is to push the limits beyond dark fantasies and historical classics up to self-help books. Traditionally, the winter months are associated with a dark, cold atmosphere – a Dickens novel is perfect for this period – and any stormy or snowy setting to enhance the gloominess and melodrama of the plot. As hibernation could be considered socially acceptable this time of year, high fantasy or faraway historical fiction might be ideal for a spot of escapism. On the other end of the spectrum, however, is the non-fiction personal development book that is set to inspire and motivate many new year’s resolutions.

Right around the corner is the birth of spring. This season is typically linked to renewal, hope and new discoveries, which springs to mind a variety of exciting and lyrical genres: coming of age, literary fiction, magical realism, and poetry. Such genres often take their time reflecting on the qualities of life and its endless possibilities, watching the daffodils grow and the birds nesting, which explains why they suit this time of year so well. Equally, much of the young adult genre stems from this theme of passion and freshness, where most aspects of life and relationships are yet to be discovered or explored.

Summer is the season that most have been anticipating all year long, sandy towels and sun cream at the ready. With blistering heat and longer days comes relaxation and instant gratification, meaning that fast-paced thrillers and light romances are the perfect beach reads. Effectively, these genres are ideal distractions from sunburns and excessive sweating, immersing readers into gripping stories and allowing them to romanticise the charm of summer. Likewise, the adventure genre is a good one to fall back on during this period, as it seeks to entertain those readers who wish to be transported from ordinary life to far-off places, having had no luck with holidays this year.

Finally, the home of cosy mysteries, horror, and historical fiction is autumn. A season of transition, autumn enables readers to focus on and appreciate the small changes in nature – whether that be the rain, the leaves, the woodland and vanilla scents – and to incorporate them into the house. Cosying up to the first fire of the year, and with Halloween right around the corner, readers are more inclined to pick up a murder-mystery or a dark academia book to embrace the back-to-school theme. In fact, this time of year screams a walk in the park, trips to the bookstore with a coffee in hand, and cracking open the new terrifying book of the year.


Featured Image: Zoe on Unsplash

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