Are you currently reading something that might be described as "richly textured", "sumptuous", "heart-warming" or "a book to curl up with by the fire"? As the nights become long and cold, do you automatically reach for the comfort blanket of a dog-eared saga with a happy ending? As I pick up my first Victorian wrist-breaker of the winter, I'm well aware that I often read, superficially at least, to suit my idea of the season. In many ways it's a natural impulse; the concept that our need and tastes fluctuate with the seasons is neither controversial nor new. Changing sunlight levels affect our biochemistry, not just our mood, and whole spiritual and medical systems are based on our cyclical mental and physical cravings for different flavours, tempos and styles.
Of course, feeling moved to read certain genres at certain times of the year is also a gimmick, a construct. Whether we're digging into a languorous, sun'n'sex drenched summer blockbuster, an atmospheric pseudo-Dickensian Christmas stocking filler or a sappy, hope-filled springtime new release, both the publishing industry and arts media appeal to our sense of seasonal spirit when persuading us to buy or try books.