Seasonal readings: how to enjoy the little things in life

Leaves are falling, the air is getting colder, and days are getting shorter. With the beginning of autumn and the countdown towards winter, chiller days have no doubt begun. What better reason to read than when freezing temperatures keep you from going outside. Of course, you could continue this one feel-good novel you’ve started in August. But something tells me there might be a better option…

Sometimes, reading a lively and sunny story – however thrilling – feels a bit off during thriller time. Spooky season sets the tone for ghostly tells, haunted castles, and fantasies we could only dream of. As much as reading can be an escape, we crave authenticity. It helps us get more into the story. Even fictional stories can be more believable when the setting fits the ambience. You wouldn’t necessarily grasp a tragic novel when you’re feeling on top of the world. Seasonal reading works the same way.

More than any other periods, autumn, and winter call for an extra need for comfort.

Coordinating your readings to the time of the year is like creating a music playlist to fit your mood. A sweet tip to romanticise your life. The arrival of low temperatures announces more time inside, while the cloudy atmosphere tends to make us even more nostalgic. More than any other periods, autumn, and winter call for an extra need for comfort. Why not find it in cosy and chilly page-turners?

Reading lists get longer every year, but some books are regular guests in all of them. The literary world never ceases to produce new stories. Yet, at some period, we tend to turn to the same stories, repeatedly. Maybe it’s your favourite Christmas short story, which you look forward to reading every year when the temperature falls below zero. Or perhaps, it’s a summer classic which you swear to open next July – but never do. Associating certain stories to seasons give us something to look forward too. It’s hope between pages.

October certainly made me want to discover more fantasy stories. No matter the pile of unread books on my shelf and yet-to-open novel for my degree, I could not resist. The bright pink history book The Ruin of all Witches by Malcom Gaskill caught my eye. What could fit autumn more than witchcraft? Certainly not my seminar readings. Getting into Gaskill’s work required the whole autumnal set. I’m talking blankets, marshmallow-and-Irish-cream candle, fall 2022 playlist and warm coffee. Deep down, I’m a firm believer that the setting makes it as enjoyable as the story. And I don’t think it’s just me.

Judging from the amount of seasonal book reviews, there is an indisputable audience craving for timely readings. There is an appeal for novelty – and monthly literary recommendations answer to that need. Even more precise than seasonal ones, they tempt us with the belief that a new story also means a new start. Maybe a new chapter of our life, or rather a new season.

Of course, there is also a marketing aspect. In a world of ever-growing consumerism, worldwide bookselling companies rely on constant renewal of book collections. Surely, there is an unbelievable number of authors who publish stories every day. This is not to say that there is no reason to put forward the latest writers in fashion.  Yet, it appears difficult to state that bookshops only push seasonal readings to help you romanticise life.

Business has become an important part of the literary world – if it hadn’t always been.

Business has become an important part of the literary world – if it hadn’t always been. Unfortunately, this is an unescapable aspect of our society. This does not mean there isn’t a more ethical way to enjoy a remaking of your bookshelf every couple of months. Borrowing books from the library or from your friends bring the same pleasure of reading with a much smaller carbon imprint. So does buying second hand. Combining a bookworm and an ecological lifestyle can seem difficult but is not that complex with a bit of creativity. Bonus point: if you lack space for new additions to your literary corner like me, borrowing rather than buying might be a life saver.

Whether it be a long wish of yours, or a new addition, time to pick your favourite autumnal story before the first snowflakes fall.


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