Monday, June 13, 2016

A Re-Post - What the Heck Is a "Summer Read?"

It's been 3 years and 8 days (June 5, 2013) since I posted my take on "summer reads."  I read through my earlier post carefully because I wanted to see if I feel differently now than I did back then.  The answer is a resounding "NO!"  Please take a look and weigh in.  Since I think I'm in the minority, I would love to hear from those of you who disagree with me - and why.  This discussion could be a good one.

Okay, I'm confused (not an unusual state of affairs, I fear).  What the heck is a "summer read?"  Is that a book that you read between June 21 and September 20?  Does that mean if you start a book on September 21 it's now a "fall read?"  What about a book that you start before September 21 but finish after September 20?  I know people who read only a little until summer begins.  My daughter-in-law, Jen, is a school teacher.  She definitely reads during the school year but hits it hard during summer break.  Does that mean that every book she reads during the school hiatus is automatically a "summer read?"

Now that I've been a bit ridiculous, let's look at what most people would consider a "summer read."  I'm talking about books that have uncomplicated, easy-flowing story lines. Maybe the vocabulary is simple.  Maybe there's a lot of dialogue and very little description. Maybe they are books that you can concentrate on in noisy, public places, like beaches or lakes or cruise ships or cafes.  Or maybe not.

Come on, people.  Does anybody read a different type of book in the summer than they do the rest of the year?  I sure don't.  And I don't know anybody who makes that distinction.  I think that most people read what they want to read, regardless of what time of year it is. Yet, right about now, as school is getting out and the weather is warming up, we see the words "summer read" everywhere.  I don't buy it. 

So far since January 1, I have read 6 romances.  And it's only June 4!  I have also read a book written by the mother of a 3-term Iraqi war veteran (Minefields of the Heart) - pretty heavy stuff.  And an excellent, very well-written, deeply emotional redemption story about a young woman who copes with multiple foster homes and a really lousy childhood by studying the meaning of flowers (The Language of Flowers).  Did I consider the time of year before I started any of these books?  I did not.  Does anybody else that I know do that? They do not.  Is it just me (possibly), or are there other people out there that don't make a seasonal distinction when selecting a book?  Let's hear what you have to say.  If I'm wrong, let me have it.  I can take the blows.

EXCEPTION TO THE RULE:  I have to give high school and college students a pass from my diatribe/screed.  It certainly makes sense that a 9-month-per-year student, if he or she reads at all during the summer, is going to read lighter fare.  But students are the only exception.

MEA CULPA:  For those of you who have publicly referred to "summer reads," please accept my apology for being critical.  Your approach is more the norm.  I don't agree with it, but, at the same time, I do think you're espousing the party line.


  1. I don't think I read a different kind of book in the summer but I do sometimes read a different kind of book when I'm on vacation - no matter the time of year. You know the kind - light, frivolous, and kind of mindless.

    1. Interesting. The only time I tie in what book I'm going to read with my whereabouts is when I'm at the dentist. I can't read in the dentist's chair with a hardcover because I have to hold it over my head. It's a matter of weight, not content!