All Booked: Reading Seasonally in Santa Barbara
On Seasonal Shifts and Genre Switches
I love seasons. Call me a romantic, but each season is so beautiful on its own — yes, even winter. And when one season is over, I am so eager to jump into the next. To me, each seasonal shift brings a predicted and very-welcomed change of pace. By the time October rolls around, I’m usually sweating in my sweaters while drinking tea curled up on the couch, praying for cool temperatures. Why am I like this? Well, I blame (or thank) my East Coast roots. Where I grew up, checking the weather forecast more often than my flip phone was the norm. The weather played a large role in marking the passage of time.
As an adult living in Santa Barbara, I have to really prepare for the seasonal shift to achieve that nostalgic feeling that came so easily as a child. There are a few ways I do this — partaking in classic seasonal activities and eating seasonally are two major ways. But one of my favorite ways? Reading seasonally!
Now, you may be thinking, How on earth do you read seasonally? Well, my friends, that is completely up to you! For me, my yearly reading schedule looks a bit like this:
January-March: Historical Fiction and Fantasy
April-June: Romance and Nonfiction
July-September: Contemporary Fiction and Dystopian
October: Thrillers and Horror
November-December: Cozy Mysteries and Memoirs
Now, there are obviously exceptions to this schedule, especially since I am a mood reader, but I find that these are the genres that I crave throughout the year. They also help me get into the spirit of the seasons.
Right now, I am smack-dab in the middle of reading contemporary fiction and dystopian, so I figured I would share a few of my favorites with you. I will warn you that I have been in a bit of a reading slump (perhaps my next All Booked! topic), so some of these titles may be from previous years.
I am a big believer in going into a book knowing as little as possible about it. I try not to read too much of the synopses or reviews, since most of them over-share. My pitches below are short and sweet just for that reason.
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Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere has received a lot of attention over the past few years, most recently with the TV adaptation launching on Hulu. If you can, set aside the hype and crack open the book to enjoy it for what it is. A look into relationships, secrets, control, and how following the rules isn’t always the best policy.
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal had me laughing out loud more than any recent read I can remember. We follow Nikki, a young 20-something who lands a job teaching a creative writing course to Punjabi windows, only to soon realize that the widows don’t know basic English literacy. After one of the widows shares a book of sexy stories with the class, they start coming up with their own stories to share.
Grab a large glass of ice water before you sit down to read this one. Neal and Jarrod Shusterman’s Dry explores the dystopia of an extreme California drought. One day, the taps run dry, and panic quickly ensues. We follow a California teen as she is forced to make life-and-death decisions to survive the “Tap-Out.”
* I will say that this book can be a triggering read. The beginning scenes reminded me a lot of what the early days of the pandemic were like. Only read if you are comfortable reading about extreme situations.
When the pandemic hit, I was one of those weird people who dove right into reading about pandemics. In Rory Power’s Wilder Girls, the Raxter School for Girls has been under quarantine for 18 months, and things are not looking up. Rations are tight, girls are dying, and patience for a cure are growing thin.
* This book also deals directly with a pandemic, so if you are not up for reading about that topic, please don’t.
Your smitten bookworm, Emily
If you are a local author, host book events in the Santa Barbara area, or have any other fun bookish tips for us, please send your recommendations for consideration to email@example.com.
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