As someone who's on social media—specifically the book part of Instagram—a fair amount, I hear a lot about how different people read. Some read the next book they plan to read, have five more books lined up after that, and for the most part they'll get them read in that order. Others read whatever strikes their fancy whenever it strikes their fancy. I am a mood reader at heart, but one who wedges in that library book that she's had checked out for months which she DID really want to read at the time so now she better stop in the middle of her other six current reads to rush through it in time to return it tomorrow... which is exactly what I'm going to resume doing once I finish this blog post. So maybe I'm a mood reader with "obligatory books" hanging over her head.
Part of being a mood reader is the fluctuation of what I want to read each season. For the fall, witchy books like The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches, Spells for Forgetting, Wild Is the Witch, and The League of Gentlewomen Witches. In the winter it was mostly science fiction by Becky Chambers. But the most talked about season in the reading community has to be summer. Summer reads, beach reads, vacation reads. Light books that you fall into and out of like a summer fling. This fits the traditional idea of summer reads that we all know and love, but the genres included in summer reading lists have expanded over the past few years. We at Island Books put together a shelf full of summer books for every reader, surrounded by sticky notes with suns and right next to our Staff Picks shelf.
Last summer, all I read was romance. Intense feelings crammed into a book I could read in a day. The happy ending, the guarantee of peace and satisfaction. I picked up several fantasy books and put them down again immediately—any effort to learn about a made-up world felt like too much. This summer, rather than a specific genre, I've been catching up on my backlog. I finished the Anne of Green Gables series for the first time and found it delightful. I listened to The City of Brass and all of its sequels while traveling. I read the first two books of The Borrowers, finished the Seafire trilogy, and sped through books two and three of The Thursday Murder Club. I finally pulled out my two-year-old copy of Red, White & Royal Blue and devoured it in twenty-four hours (just in time for the release of the movie on August 11). Although it's a completely different path than I took last summer, it's been so fun to discover these books for the first time and then discuss them with everyone who already loves them. I look forward to seeing where my mood reading takes me next summer.
Things that make a good summer read (one list does not fit all):
- Not too heavy (physically); needs to be light enough to bring on vacation
- Not too heavy (content-wise); needs to be light enough to read on a beach
- Characters that draw you in
- A plot that grips you
- Intense action
- ...And the list goes on and on.
Bonus points for reading a book that's set on a beach...on a beach. The perfect summer read is so varied from person to person that the most important criteria is to pick up a book that interests you. I look forward to hearing about what you loved as we talk books over the counter.