It’s that time of year again. The kids are going back to school, football season’s starting up once again, and Halloween merch is already beginning to appear in department stores. The sugar maple trees in my backyard are even beginning to drop a few leaves. For bibliophiles, however, the signs that summer is over are a little different than back-to-school sales and candy corn sightings. I know that my summer is over when these three things occur:
1. My search for beach reads officially ends.
I know summer is over when I lose the urge to seek out fast-paced, steamy—and, yeah, sometimes a little cheesy—books that I can read in one sitting, preferably in my backyard, bathed in sunshine with an ice-cold beverage on a table nearby. A mint julep, perhaps, or a Long Island iced tea…
2. My appetite for the “dark” stuff suddenly becomes an insatiable craving.
I love horror and dark fantasy, but I find that I’ve always read the most Stephen King, H. P. Lovecraft, and Edgar Allan Poe during the autumn months. It just feels right. (I’m already craving new and forthcoming titles like King’s Doctor Sleep, Anne Rice’s The Wolves of Midwinter, and Laird’s Barron’s latest collection of short stories, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All.) And it’s not just new releases. I love revisiting beloved stories that scared the bejesus out of me when I was younger: classics like Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu, and King’s Night Shift.
3. Two things are given prominent display in bookstores: holiday gift books and calendars.
If you’re seeing a sudden reappearance of Georgia O’Keefe and Ansel Adams calendars at your local B&N, and a table right at the front featuring massive coffee table books like The Birds of America: The Bien Chromolithographic Edition and The Anatomy of Fashion: Why We Dress the Way We Do, it’s high time to hang up the flip flops. Summer is most definitely over.
Until next year.
What’s your favorite sign that autumn is coming?