It’s Fall! (Or will be on the 23rd.) The air is crisp, the leaves are turning…
…and where I live, we expect temperatures in the mid-90s. Welcome to Southern California.
The question this week for the Romance Writers Weekly blog hop is if our reading habits change with the season. My answer is “yes and no.” I still read the same books I read throughout the year—romance, mystery, history, SF/Fantasy, the back of cereal boxes—but my pattern of how much I’m reading of each type and themes within those books changes with the passing season.
As I gaze at pictures people post of lush autumn scenes, I’m hankering for a book where folks reach for a sweater because there’s a nip in the air. I reach for a sweater because my local Starbucks, where I escape for some writing peace, has the AC turned up too high. I grew up with turning leaves and cooler weather in September, so books set in the fall bring back those memories. Especially when we experience the Santa Ana winds which blow hot off the desert in October. I tend to pick up Raymond Chandler when those devil winds blow.
“There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.”
— Red Winds, Raymond Chandler, published 1938
I prefer my mysteries cozy rather than hard-boiled, but Chandler’s language is evocative, with the Los Angeles of his time so much a part of the story, the city becomes a character.
When the Santa Anas die down, holiday advertising will be in full swing and I’ll dig into holiday anthologies. Most of these have temperatures far cooler than what I’m experience. And snow. If snow fell on LA, the city would stop. Or wonder if it was a promotion for some new film. But through the end of the year, I’ll dig into those scenes of joy and merriment with a roaring fire and beautiful greenery all about. (Did I mention I’m allergic to evergreens, so we can’t have them in the house?) I have a shelf devoted to the old Signet anthologies I collected over the years, and recent stories grace my reading app on my iPad. If you love those anthologies, too, please leave recommendations in the comments. I’m always looking for something to add to add to the collection.
The rest of the year follows a similar pattern. I always try new-to-me books and authors in January, part of my ritual of a new start and new horizons. Spring brings those pesky allergies back into play as everything blooms, and I turn to cozy mysteries because I don’t need to focus too deeply. Summer is anything goes, and I can’t think of themes or types I favor then.
All of this is subject to change, of course, as a particular series or author might grab my attention and I’ll begin binge reading. That can happen any time of the year, and I’ll read stories set in high summer in January, or Christmas in May. Why? Because we’re readers, and we may have our established patterns, but what we truly desire is that story which sucks you in and you don’t want to let it go. We find one, all bets are off.
What about you? What are your reading habits throughout the year? Any particular themes you favor. Also, as I said above, if you have any recs for holiday stories, leave them in the comments. I’d love to know about them. Then hop on over to Jenna Da Sie to get the scoop on her reading habits.
That’s it for now. Until we meet again, stay safe, stay healthy.