A Brief History of Summer Reading

We rarely talk about spring books or winter reading. What is it about summer that inspired a whole genre of its own?

Credit…Justin Gilliland/The New York Times

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By Jennifer Harlan

When the days get longer and the mercury begins to rise, the books appear. Sunscreen-dappled paperbacks are tucked into beach bags and backpacks, sprinkled across picnic tables and dropped into the crooks of hammocks. Like their siblings the summer blockbuster and the song of the summer, they come: The season of summer reading has arrived.

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