It’s the first day of summer! Ever since we were kids, there’s been this nebulous concept of “summer reading.” As though reading during the summer months should be fundamentally different than the reading you do the rest of the year. Dating back to the school year, when you could ditch the boring school reading for anything you wanted, and sometimes win prizes at the local library for reading a certain number of books on your own time, we still carry this term “summer reading” with us long into adulthood.
There are lists of the best books to read in the summer, recommendations for beach reading, and books to bring on your summer vacation. Most of the books on these lists tend toward the “fluffy” and “light”–the dreaded “chick lit.” Because we all need a mental vacation by the time summer rolls around.
But who says that needs to be the case? I think of summer as a time to read in the park, to sit at an outdoor cafe with a coffee (or a beer) and a book while killing time before dinner plans, and to yes, read on vacation. But I still read in bed, I still read curled up on the couch, and I still primarily read on the subway to and from work every day. My reading habits don’t change drastically in the summer, so why should my reading material change?
I do have a very hefty “to-read” list at the moment, and I’m already worrying about which book(s) I should bring with me on vacation to Florida over the Fourth of July long weekend. I’m looking forward to reading on the plane, lying on the beach, and by the hotel pool. But instead of bringing the latest in the “Confessions of a Shopaholic” series (is that a series?), I’m going to use that time to tuck into one of the longer novels that have been sitting on my shelf for months (I’m looking at you, Freedom) or maybe the new issue of The Paris Review that arrived in my mailbox this weekend. Or maybe I’ll start the second Hunger Games book…the possibilities are boundless, and maybe that’s my concept of summer reading–the possibilities can stretch as long as the hours of natural reading light.
What does summer reading mean for you?
*image via Bookshelf Porn