Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Seasonal Genres

Over at Byzantium's Shores, Jaquandor made an observation about his tendency to read certain genres at certain times of the year. For him, it's sci-fi and horror during the warmer months and fantasy when it gets cooler. Though my genres and seasons align differently than his, I thought I was the only one who did that.

It started with horror and Autumn. I've always loved Halloween, so to prepare for it I've always read and watched horror in October. But as my collection and interest in the genre grew, I had to expand into September and even into August some. August however doesn't feel like horror time to me though, because I've come to associate the genre with that nip in the air while walking around for Tricks or Treats. And since I'm usually not quite done with the genre come November 1st, I've started letting it creep that way instead of into August.

This year, I've also added some mystery to my Autumn reading and watching, especially murder mysteries. As the seasons turn toward death, it seems as appropriate as horror. I used to think of mystery as summer reading, but it's really not. The kinds of mysteries I like are more thoughtful than thrilling.

There's an easy transition from horror to fantasy. Fantasy that's set in our world is just horror (or the kind of horror I like) without the threat of death. Both deal with the intrusion of the supernatural into the mundane. So as Autumn gives way to Winter, I find it easy to transition into fantasy and from there to space pulp, which is really just fantasy with technology instead of magic. I don't do hard science fiction.

The Summer months are for excitement and adventure stories. It's appropriate in the season of blockbuster movies and beach reading. My summer starts in May when the snow's finally off the ground for good in Minnesota.

 I don't read "romance novels," but I do like dramas and comedies with a strong romantic angle and I tend to gravitate towards those during February. Spring also seems like a good time to cleanse the genre palate with some general drama, comedy, and non-fiction. I've never been able to do that exclusively for three months though; I'm always sneaking in genre stuff at the same time.

I'm curious to know if any of you do something similar. Do you tend to gravitate towards certain genres at particular times of the year?


John Rozum said...

I've been off fiction for the most part for the past few years. I tend to cycle back and forth between bouts of non-fiction and fiction, but the current cycle has lasted for about 3 years now. I am mixing in a bit more fiction now.

I'll read horror and fantasy all year, but also tend to read more beginning in late August through October, then pick it up again starting around Christmas and going through February. The reasons for the first batch are obvious and match your own. I find winter and it's dreary, bleak, weather to be the perfect backdrop for horror and ghost stories in particular. There's also the Christmas tradition of the ghost story that sets this in motion for me.

Everything else I can read any time, but for some reason, I only read mysteries if I'm traveling.

After years of saying I was going to I'm tackling "The Gormenghast Trilogy" by Mervin Peake starting November 1. I was planning to start reading them once my kids went back to school, but new that my month long Halloween festivities would get in the way next month, so postponed it. I think Mike Mignol also said he's started reading them after years of putting it off.

Michael May said...

That's an interesting observation about Christmas and ghost stories, A Christmas Carol being the most obvious one. I love that story and sort of collect adaptations of it. Whenever I get a new one, I always have to fight the urge to read it at Halloween so that I can save it for Christmas.

This Christmas I may try reading some horror. I've got an anthology of Victorian ghost stories I've been meaning to get to and that would be perfect.

I haven't heard of the Gormenghast trilogy, but I can't think of any better recommendation than you and Mignola's being interested in it.


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