Seasonal Reading

crop person with book in sunlight
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Purely by accident, it seems, I sometimes fall into the habit of what I call seasonal reading. This occurred to me recently when I took a break from reading a lot of nonfiction to read some mystery novels. On May 7, I started reading A Darkness More Than Night by Michael Connelly, which is book #7 in Connelly’s Harry Bosch series. I read these books for two reasons: pure escapism, and perhaps more importantly, because they are set in L.A. and remind me of the days when I lived there.

These books go quickly. I can put away a fairly lengthy nonfiction book in under a week. Between May 7 and May 10, I finished three of the Bosch books and started a fourth. When I find a writer that I enjoy, I tend to go through all of the books, not always all at once, but eventually. I did this with Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire books, for instance. And I’ve been doing it with the Bosch books more slowly.

Usually, what I do is make a list of all of the books in the series in the order the books were published. And I go through them in order, marking them off as I do. Here, for instance, is the list for the Harry Bosch books:

My list of Bosch books in publication order
My list of Bosch books in publication order

At some point, I wanted to see when I had read the previous books in the Bosch series, so I wandered over to the list of books I’ve read since 1996 and searched for “Connelly.” The result was the following list:

An example of seasonal reading
An example of seasonal reading

As I looked through the list, something rather remarkable struck me. I read my first five Connelly books in May 2020. I had my fill of fiction and moved on to other things. Then, I read three more Connelly books, this time in May 2021. I think you see the pattern. Suddenly, and completely by coincidence, I found myself once again reading Connelly books in May 2022. This is completely unintentional on my part, but it is what I call “seasonal reading.” Something about the season, the timing, pushes me toward a certain type of book.

Sometimes this kind of seasonal reading is driven by a combination of release timing and the butterfly effect of reading. For instance, Craig Johnson’s Longmire books tend to be released in September. I’ll read one, and then want to read more of the same. This seems to happen more with fiction than nonfiction. Still, nonfiction is not immune, especially in the spring.

For instance, in the spring of 2021, I went through a phase of reading more than dozen books on the history of computing. In the spring of 2022, I went through a phase of reading ten or more books on the Second World War and related topics. The spring seems to power these phases, but I am not entirely certain why that is so.

Winter–especially December and January–frequently sees me reading books on Hollywood, celebrity memoirs and biographies. They are a particular guilty pleasure of mine, and I look forward to our time on holiday break reading those books. They are another example of seasonal reading.

These phases peter out on their own eventually. I can never tell when they will fade out, but they always do. For now, well, I just started the next Bosch book, which will be my fourth in as many days. The seasonal reading continues.

Written on May 10, 2022.

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