Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer Post: What Makes a Summer Read?

It's time for another summer post! The first month of summer has just flown by, so I wanted to squeeze one more post of this series in before we get into August. Today we're going to be talking about summer reads or as some like to call it, beach reads.

Have you heard bookish people say these phrases before

"Oh this'll good for summer."
"This is perfect for the beach."
"I was saving this book for my vacation."

And found yourself thinking...

"Hold the phone. What makes certain books more appropriate for summer as opposed to winter or fall?"

Well, I think I've figured out. A book that possess at least one of these qualities makes a book a summer read (in my most humble opinion, of course).

1. It's light.
Summer reads don't usually require the reader to wade through dense text or massive passages of description. They don't deal with extremely complicated plot-lines or any themes that are too heavy. They don't ask hard life questions or have book club questions in the back. Sometimes you feel like you've read the story before, but somehow, it's okay. Summer reads don't usually require much thought from the reader.  They're fun and fairly easy to read.

2. It's an escape.
In the summer, everyone wants to go on vacation. For some of us, the only vacation we get is through our reading. A good summer book will suck the reader right into the book's world and characters. It will hook you within the first few chapters and keep you coming back for more. Often summer reads offer interesting settings, intriguing characters or high-stakes situations, all of which make you want to read more and help you escape from the real world.

3. It's makes you feel good. 
A summer read leaves you feeling pretty good by the end. There's two types of endings that give you that feel-good feeling. The first is the tradition happy ending, which is preferable in a summer read. The second is the ending that isn't necessarily happy (maybe a character dies or some other tragedy occurs), but you still get the sense that everything is wrapped up; you feel like you've been on a journey with the characters, enjoyed a well written book, and that good feeling to come away with.

These are of course some very general qualities found in summer reads, but I've also come up with a more specific list of some very common scenarios/plot lines you'll see in a book worthy of summer-reading.

Summer books often feature these scenarios:
-Take place in, you guessed it, the summer
-Character goes on a trip
-Contemporary setting
-Teenage angst
-Action scenes
-Often written by a bestselling author with twenty other books

The thing about summer reads is that they are very subjective. A book that I think is perfect for summer, someone else might think is awful! Everybody has different books that make them "feel good", offer "escape" and that they find "light". That's really the beauty of it all. That being said, I thought I'd share a few books that I thought looked worthy of summer reading (note: I haven't read all of these books!).

Let me know in the comments what books you have on your summer reading list or what makes a book qualify as a summer read to you! Are summer reads even a thing to you or do you just read like normal in the summer? Honestly, I'm really curious to hear everyone's thoughts on summer reads.

Reading: Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen
Listening: Plain White T's
Watching: Rookie Blue


  1. Hmm...I think maybe a book set in the summer or a fluffy, feel-good book. Also I nominated you for a blog award: Let me know if you can participate!

    1. Thanks for the nomination! I commented over on your blog:D

  2. Hmm I wouldn't put Divergent on a summer light reads list. Actually, I would think a light summer read would be basically a stand alone happy ending type book - so no dystopian trilogies heh.

    1. Hmm, I never thought about it in terms of the trilogy. Stand-alones are definitely a staples of the summer reads category. Good call! Maybe Divergent's not quite the summer-ist of reads:)

  3. Hmm....I've always seen crime novels in summer reading lists. They seem a bit heavy on the action, and a lot of them have crazy plots. As in good, clever mystery plots. I never understood why they were on summer reading lists...but since Brits are sooo into the crime genre no matter who they are it's kind of a given.

    1. Although they might not be on the lighter side, I think crime novels make it onto summer reading lists because they offer the other qualities that I mentioned in the post. They offer an escape (usually it's pretty easy to get lost in the world of a mystery novel) and they often feel pretty good in the end (the bad guy gets caught, the mystery solved etc.). At least that's been my experience with those types of books. It's definitely subjective though :)

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  4. I can second all of these. These are usually all factors that come into play when I choice a summer read or something to take while I am traveling. Especially it being light. I save deep contemplations for winter.

    1. Haha, I too save the deep contemplations for winter when I can cozy up with a hot chocolate and blanket.

      Thanks for commenting:D

  5. I disagree about A Walk to Remember being a beach read. I cried like a baby reading that one... so I personally wouldn't want to take it on vacation, even though I loved it. The rest of the books seem fitting though, in my opinion! I agree with your list of things that make a book a beach read, though! Light, fun reads are my favorite for summer! :)

    1. Light reads are my personal favourite for summer too!

      A Walk to Remember is one of those subjective summer read choices. Works for some people others it doesn't. That's the beauty of the summer read, to me, everyone has a different idea of what it is:)

      Thanks for commenting!


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