There are a million great tips out there on how to read to more, but Quartz's Amy X. Wang and Elijah Wolfson recently suggested one that manages to be both totally intuitive and still wildly underutilized -- arrange your reading by season.
As soon as I read this idea, it struck me as brilliant. Of course, dedicated readers crave different sorts of books at different times of the year.
For me personally, summer is the season of indulgence, full of page-turners and thought-provoking but propulsive sci-fi (that, or a little Solzhenitsyn to cool off). In winter, when a long snuggle under a blanket appeals, I have much more patience for weighty tomes and difficult titles. If there's a 1,000 page novel I want to lose myself in, chances are good I'll hunker down with it in December. Spring, the season of renewal, lends itself to self-improvement reading.
And what about this time of year when the air is crisp (in many parts of America at least -- here in Cyprus it's still in the 80s) and the leaves are changing? Wang and Wolfson have specific suggestions for each season in their complete article. These are their picks for fall.
1. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald's less famous debut novel follows a privileged young man as he begins college at Princeton, which makes it the perfect book for the back-to-school season, claim Wang and Wolfson. "Fall permeates the book in more ways than one. It is the season in which the traditional academic term begins--but also the emotional tone of much of Amory's youthful, first-time stumbling," they note.
2. Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
"Written in 1960s San Francisco and New York, Didion's collection of essays is not so much a bundle of nonfiction as it is a long, threaded musing on her own life, set to the daunting counterculture tempo of the times," Wang and Wolfson note. Why is the book well suited to fall? The stories "reveal a restless yet frustrated longing, evoking the image of autumn-browned leaves turning and turning in the wind," they poetically explain.
3. Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer
I'm going to be straight with you, I've read this one and it's a weird book. But sometimes weird is just what the doctor ordered. The first of a trilogy, it's "about a team of four female scientists sent on an expedition into Area X, a mysteriously and dangerously fecund region of some alternate-universe United States," note Wang and Wolfson. "Something awful happened here, and now the area is new, terrifying, and alien." With it's feeling of decline and mystery "it's a great read for the fall."
Do you agree with Wang and Wolfson's premise -- do different seasons call for different reading lists? And what sorts of book scream "fall" for you?