What Makes A Book “Summer Reading”? Guest Post by, Jaq D Hawkins…

You see the lists; Summer Reading, Books To Read On Vacation, What To Read At The Beach and other variations. I glanced at such a list recently and wondered, what qualifies a book to be on a summer reading list?

The one I looked at had a mixed bag from Classics to Science Fiction to non-fiction and modern top sellers. So what qualities link these diverse books and make them suitable for summer reading?

I noted on the particular list I perused that there were an inordinate number of non-fiction books about current events or recent history; topics of interest to stimulate the mind. I found several poetry books and among the fiction a few familiar Classics were interspersed among many more recent novels across a spectrum of genres.

The single common factor that applied to all of the books is that they were all short to medium length. No doorstop books here! There was also a notable lack of series books in any category. Could it be that summer is the time to catch up with those stand alone reads? Including the shorter Classics?

This inspired me to give some thought to what I might choose as summer reading if I were going on holiday somewhere. My travel tends to be to interesting historic places, so chances are I would lean towards something either informative about the destination or a novel set there. That doesn’t mean I would necessarily want to read Jaws at the beach. Perhaps something a little more like light reading.

Historical fiction can be great fun to superimpose on a place. I’ll never forget my first visit to Great Yarmouth and the mental images I associated with it from reading Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield. Had I spent more time in any of the stops on a tour of Italy I went on a few years ago, I might have read something set in Ancient Rome or even something more modern that would give me an alternate view of Venice.

A lot of people enjoy beach vacations, perhaps while reading seaside Romance stories or Mysteries that take them to old hotels or secret caves in the area? A wealth of books both fiction and non-fiction can be found about London and most major cities in the world are depicted in at least a few stories.

Or perhaps a summer read might provide complete escapism; a trip to the circus, a completely different world in a Fantasy or Science Fiction novel, or imaginary travel to a place not within this year’s vacation budget? Everyone has their own preferences of what they like to read.

What are your summer reads? Do you like specific genres in summer? How-to books? Escapist fiction? Share some of your summer reads, and maybe we can all discover some new authors and good stories!

Jaq D Hawkins

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17 thoughts on “What Makes A Book “Summer Reading”? Guest Post by, Jaq D Hawkins…

  1. My summer reading just happens to be books I read in summer. They could just as easily be “winter reading.” Thinking about it, though, collections of short pieces that can be read in the intervals between summer activities or travel seem like a good choice. Smaller books are lighter to lug around; ebooks of any length are also a logical choice for travel.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The Guardian has published several Beach-reading-lists this year, recommendations by writers.
    I think I have to agree, the summer reading IS the standalone book of medium length. I myself am quite partial to short stories- or essay collections when travelling, too. Unless you do spend your holiday on a beach chair (which I don’t) you might be too busy sightseeing over the day and dine out in the evening till late. Something short, that is finishable that very day and does not occupy my mind the next, when I collect new impressions, is quite right for me. (I am more of a city tourist, not a beach-goer – too prone to sun-burns, hence I get plenty of new impressions over a day.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t burn, but sitting on the beach isn’t my thing either. I’d rather explore something historic or cultural to feel like I had a reason to travel besides weather.

      Liked by 2 people


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