Novel Reading for All Seasons

Like most writers, I enjoy reading and I try to read as many different genres as I can. I find it exposes me to different writing styles and different ways of storytelling.

Along the way, I’ve discovered that some books are better read during certain seasons than others. For example, I believe summer is the best time for light-hearted romances while winter is better for thrillers and cozy mysteries. Other times it’s just the feeling you get while you read a certain book that reminds you of certain seasons. Harry Potter, for example, seems at home during the winter. Those lengthy tomes are best read by a blazing fire while sipping a cup of tea.

Below I’ve compiled my list of recommended reading for each season of the year. This is based on my own reading preferences, of course, and the feelings I get while I read these books. You might have your own preferences. (Many thanks to Genie in a Novel for sharing her seasonal favorites on Facebook.)

Summer

Summer of ’69 by Elin Hildebrand. The queen of summer beach reading takes a nostalgic look at the lives of four siblings during one tumultuous summer.

Queen Bee by Dorothea Benton Frank. This last book by Frank takes place off the Carolina coast and boasts some of the most interesting collection of characters and a most satisfying ending that put a smile on my face.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. Imagine taking a trip on a traveling book shop down the Seine in Paris.

The Language of Sycamores by Lisa Wingate. Summer is a transitional time between spring and fall. It only makes sense to follow the narrator’s transition to a new life in a small town.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Hmmm…another book with a beekeeping theme.

Autumn

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman (or any of its sequels). Hoffman’s magic realism seems a perfect fit for the fall.

Dead of Night by Charlaine Harris (or any of its sequels). Fall is the perfect time of year to enjoy a paranormal romance, don’t you think?

Ghost Stories by Edith Wharton. Who knew that Edith Wharton also wrote ghost stories? Her collection isn’t particularly frightening or gory, but it does lend an air of eerie magic.

Little Pretty Things or The Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day. I always think of fall when I read Lori Rader-Day. Maybe because both of these novels have an academic setting that reminds me of this time of year.

The Family Plot by Megan Collins. One of the best mysteries I’ve read in a while with a most unusual family and backstory.

Winter

Harry Potter (any book in the series). Genie in a Novel listed this in her winter selection, and I have to agree. These lengthy titles are easy to get immersed in on a cold, winter morning.

A Stranger is Watching by Mary Higgins Clark (or any of her mysteries). Winter is perfect for burying yourself in a good romantic suspense novel, and Clark is one of the best.

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah. Historical women’s fiction is another genre that is perfect for winter reading.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. You can’t go wrong with a classic.

One by One by Ruth Ware. I read this book by Ware last winter. It only makes sense since the story takes place during the winter in the Alps.

Spring

Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella. The book that became the movie “Field of Dreams.”

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. When I think of spring, I think of gardening, and this particular garden comes to life – literally.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Carrying on the nature theme, Novik shows us what happens when we don’t treat nature honestly and fairly.

The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais. One of the best descriptive food journeys you will ever take.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarity (or any of her other books). Moriarity always comes up with a unique premise and an unpredictable story line.

Do you agree or disagree with my lists? What books would you put on your seasonal lists?

How to Read Multiple Books at a Time

woman lying on area rug reading books
Photo by Renato Abati on Pexels.com

March is National Reading Month. Here’s to a celebration of reading.

I suppose one benefit of self-isolation during this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic is being able to catch up on your reading — that is if you don’t have a gig to go to.

With more time on your hands, and perhaps more books awaiting your attention on your bookshelf, it may be an opportune time to “divide and conquer.” One quick and easy way to do that is by reading more than one book at a time.

Whether or not you want to tackle this challenge depends on several factors: how many books are already on your TBR list, how soon you want to get through them, and whether you have the time to indulge in this activity.

Experts says reading multiple books shows a reader’s virtuosity and their multitude of literary interests. It also shows their wealth of knowledge and curiosity about the world.

For most of the rest of us, reading multiple books is a circus act, like stepping along a high wire, trying to maintain your balance while clutching a book in each hand and perhaps one on top of your head. Or like a clown who starts out juggling two or three items and keeps adding another item to juggle until he can no longer keep them all in the air.

Are you a multiple book reader? Or do you prefer reading them one at a time, with occasional breaks to read something else when you get bored with the first title?

But aside from the circus analogy above, there are several tips and tricks for reading multiple books without losing your sanity — or your balance.

1. Read different genres. This makes the most practical sense. Reading multiple books is easy to accomplish when one book is fiction and another is non-fiction.

2. Read different books in different places. According to Bookriot, setting aside different spaces for different reading materials can help you make progress through your personal library. For example, you might read something light and breezy on your commute to and from work and save the heavier, more serious topics for evening reading.

3. Read different mediums. For example, you might read a lengthy 800-page novel on your Kindle while a novel of 250 pages might be lighter to carry around.

4. Take frequent breaks. Switching between two or three titles allows you to take a break from reading a heavier-themed book so you can come back to it later with fresh eyes.

5. Think big and small. If you’re reading multiple books, vary the length of the books you’re reading, suggests Genie in a Novel blog. So you want to tackle the 1037-page Gone with the Wind? It may take a while to get through it, so supplement your reading with other titles with fewer pages and lighter topics.

6. Explore the benefits of reading. Reading multiple books enables you to enjoy the multiple benefits of reading, writes The Fussy Librarian. You can further your education with nonfiction or historical textbooks, explore the world with a travel book and feel inspired with a self-help book or a book of poetry. 

7. Have a reading buddy or join a book club. Either option can help you access different genres and authors that you might not have considered. While you’re reading with the group, you can only supplement with one or two of your personal choice on the side.

Want to read more about how people read multiple books? Check out this NPR program.

What about you? Do you read one book title at a time, or do you read multiple books? How do you manage them all?