Rainclouds over Summer Reading


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by Mike



It's been all the trend over the last few years. The Staycation - have a lorry load of sand delivered to your house and sit under an umbrella eating an ice-cream with a defiant British smile. We Brits love a challenge and bad weather and hard times won't stop us having our hard earned holidays. It's our right damn it. But how has it affected our Summer Reading, with all those covers of beaches and lovers in pastel? Well I have no figures but my guess is that dark clouds are gathering over our traditional summer reading.

You see, the truth is unless you are completely bonkers you won't be sitting in your garden in the rain. No a Staycation equals using your house as a base and travelling out for days to LegoLand, Cadbury's World, going for walks in the mud and if you have no kids? - heh you're probably having 2 weeks in Barbados, so you don't count.

What this means is that you're not going to go to the airport. No buying a book to read on the plane. You're not going to spend hours sunning yourself on the beach when the nippers play with the sharks in the sea. No time to read. And whenever you do get a moment, and you're not knackered from driving 100 miles up the M1, you're going to watch the tele - right?

Another big problem is that a lot of people don't buy books unless they think they are going to be terminally bored. It's a last resort to staring at the summer sun with nothing to do but rub suntan cream all over yourself and going mad. Foreign television, foreign languages and foreign newspapers make us panic. You must have something to read in English and taking last week's copy of The Guardian on holiday with you just isn't going to work. So you buy a book or take one that your Great Aunt gave you which has sat on your shelf since Christmas. But at home there is no such dilemma - you're surrounded by the British language, there's no need to retreat to the book to find comfort and safety. And even if you do venture out to get a book - go for that authentic holiday experience to go with the mound of sand from B&Q on your lawn that the cats used as a toilet - you're going to get one at Tesco's aren't you. Make it as easy as possible. O well - you probably like chocolate for the sugar and not the cocoa as well. Am I right?

So maybe it's time for the Summer push to be books about "Making the Most of your Staycation" - go for the non-fiction market, fiction's hey day at the beach is over. The light summer read could fall to the recession. Now, I just can't make up my mind if that is a good thing or not!

Photo credit:Kim Yokota

2 comments:

gary davison said...

definately not good! fiction must live on so the mind gets the great escape as well as the body :)

kathleenmaher said...

Sad but true. And definitely sad, Mike: non-fiction books about staying at home? Tell me they're not popular.