The other day, Ella (one of my many daughters) brought me a book to read aloud. Like a good parent, I grabbed it and cleared my throat, but the subject matter made me pause for a moment: it was a Coca-Cola’y edition of The Night Before Christmas. I am writing this in the middle of the North American summer season, when, in New England, black flies zip through the air like snowflakes in December, and if I’m ingesting cinnamon, it’s probably on/in ice cream or iced coffee, not flavoring a hot pie or drink.
I read Ella the book, but it felt weird to be reading about sugarplums when peaches are $0.69 a pound at the store. Which, of course, is hypocritical, because I’m obsessed with Halloween. During my strange annual mental shift (usually mid-June), I start to get the macabre itch, and my ingestion of Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, Richard Matheson, and Daphne du Maurier dramatically increases. I lose myself in the excellent Pumpkinrot’s blog, and plot the horrors I’ll unleash upon my front lawn (step one: don’t mow).
There’s something about a hot day and the sour smell of air conditioning coming through the heat like a sweaty ghost that makes me long for the days when apples aren’t flowers and nubs and buds but roasted on sticks, when candy isn’t a cooling lime suck but a warming nougat chew. Every year I read Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree at a time when said tree would still be green. In literary terms, I’m much like Ella, in that I find pleasure in reading books that seem to be out of season.
What about you? Do you spend summer days cooling off with A Simple Plan and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and warm your Novembers by toeing the sand with Elin Hilderbrand and J. Courtney Sullivan? Do the changing seasons and flipping calendar pages factor into your reading tastes, or is it whatever, whenever?