Now that June is in full swing, warmer temperatures are on the rise, days are longer, nights are shorter, visions of fireworks dance in our heads, and not all of them are linked to the Fourth of July. For romance readers, the fireworks we’re talking about are contained within the covers of a book, and we don’t mean only heat levels, because the magic can be anything from sweet to scorching, and every point on the spectrum in between. What makes a summer read different from all the rest? As with many things, the answers are as individual as every reader and every book they read, but we can take a few guesses….
Let’s start with the obvious: more daytime means more natural light for reading. This means more chances to find a comfy reading spot outdoors, be it porch swing, stoop, fire escape, hammock, poolside, pool float, improvised air mattress in the back of a pickup truck, parked in an open field, under the stars…what, doesn’t everybody do that? Summer is a time to indulge in fancies, and picking an ideal reading spot can be part of the fun. There’s something about the shift in the air when summer comes that affects everything, and reading is a big part of that.
Second most obvious thing when talking about summer is the weather. Days that are too hot to go outside mean perfect time for reading inside, be it in front of a fan, from the comfort of a cool bath, or the air conditioned comfort of home, café, or library. Thanks to audiobooks, we can even hit the open road, with the air conditioning blasting, or the top down (convertibles only, please) and take our books with us.
Vacations are a summertime staple, and reading goes right along with that. While it’s easier than ever to tote an entire library with us, thanks to e-readers and e-reading apps, nothing matches the feel of toting a good, old-fashioned paperback or hardcover along with us on trips to the beach or pool. The term “beach read” is synonymous with summer, even though there is some debate over exactly what a beach read entails. Is it a book set at the beach? Sure. Is it a book someone takes to the beach, even if that book is set in Antarctica or outer space? (Scientists need love, too.) Sure. Whatever floats your boat on this one, pun intended.
How many of us have found a favorite book, or favorite sort of book, maybe even our very first romance novel, on vacation? There are treasures in those racks of seemingly random paperbacks in guest rooms or common areas, not to mention books released into the wild, with the trust that they will soon find their perfect reader. This doesn’t even take into account those treasure troves for romance readers everywhere, the used book stores (UBS) that pop up in the most unlikely of places. Rifle through a few shelves, and be prepared to squeal with delight at finding a rare book by an author who left us long ago, or stumble upon a near mint copy of an all time favorite. Maybe there will even be an intriguing cover that draws in a reader who would have passed the blurb by, but with that image, well, into the basket it goes. Spinner racks with books that have seen better days, but cost only pocket change, have tempted many a reader, and sparked many a lifelong obsession. Not only does a new or favorite UBS provide the opportunity to pick up new books, but there’s the added bonus of sharing the love and passing along those books we know we won’t be reading again.
Some readers like to choose a theme for the summer’s reading. These readers may be the sort who thrived on summer reading programs as children, and may even be involved with adult versions of the same, but that’s how it goes with readers. There can never be enough books. Lean into the skid with books about summer romances, from the sweet taste of first love in YA, to the scorching heat of erotic romance, or treat yourself to a literal Christmas (or Hannukah, or Kwanzaa, or New Year) in July by beating the heat with some holiday themed reads. Pick an author, pick a subgenre, pour a tall, cool glass of something, and prepare to fall in love all over again.
For those readers with young readers, family trips to the library can be sanity savers for all involved. Though the summer days may be longer, in some communities, summer library hours may be shorter. Good thing many libraries have online resources. Up on a hot August (or June, or July) night? Pop online and browse the virtual shelves from the comfort of your own home. Maybe download an ebook, read it, and send it back, all without getting out of the cool spot in front of the fan or air conditioner.
Whether summer means time to take a vacation from the usual reading routines, or indulge in the leisurely pleasure of rereading old favorites, there’s no wrong way to go about this summer reading thing, which is a reason to celebrate, all in itself.
So, dear readers, I turn it now over to you. What’s your summer reading preference? Do you have a carefully thought out plan for warm weather reading, or prefer to go wherever the wind blows? Do you read any differently during the summer months from the rest of the year, whether that means subject, location, or what-have-you? If the date on the calendar makes absolutely no difference in your reading routines, we want to hear that, too. Pull up a chair in the comment section and tell us all about it. There’s room for everybody at this table.