Earlier today I had a conversation with someone I only know online who happens to be a prolific reader and a thoughtful reviewer of the books she reads. I noticed that she had commented that since November was approaching that it was time for her to start her winter reading. When I queried as to whether she had seasonal reading patterns, she said that she reads more fantasy and history during the winter than she does the rest of the year. I could not think of a similar pattern myself. To be sure, it is quite possible that the publishers I read and review for have certain seasonal patterns in the books that they publish, which would give my reading a seasonal flavor, but I have not been able to notice any sort of personal pattern in my own choice of reading, although as my reading habits are pretty open, others are likely to try to find a pattern in them .
My acquaintance is not the only person I know whose seasonal patterns are particularly pronounced. Another friend of mine, for example, has seasonal mixes to her music. I myself tend to loathe the seasonal focus of music that takes place this time of year and avoid adult contemporary stations like the plague when they devote themselves to seasonal music. Not everyone shares my tastes, though, to be sure. Even someone as hostile to changing my own habits with the seasons has at least some seasonal patterns on my life enforced because of other commitments. For example, during the winter months my work schedule changes by necessity because of my commitment to not working on the Sabbath, which requires an early departure on Friday afternoons and often shifts my work schedule earlier than it otherwise may be. Similarly, I help coach some teens in volleyball during the winter months, which provides a generally enjoyable experience that is seasonally related from the Feast of Tabernacles to the end of the Gregorian year. And so it goes for other people as well.
Seasonality is something of great importance in certain aspects of our society. For example, fashion is deeply related to season given the sort of clothing that can be purchased. This is true both in the types of clothing that can be purchased, with the fabric coverage being inversely related to the average temperature, especially with regards to women’s clothes, as well as in the colors of the clothes that are provided. I remember as a child reading Color Me Beautiful and finding out that my nuclear family ran the gamut of the four seasons, with me being a freckly autumnal person–no surprise there, and my mother being a winter. Magazine publishing appears to be particularly seasonal, as does radio, both of which I have at least some interest in. There are seasons for lists of the best (and worst) songs of the year, other seasons for award shows that both matter and do not matter at the same time. There are other seasons where new television episodes for shows I do not watch are released, and still others where there is a great deal of stasis in some businesses and turbulent change in others. In the summer, blockbuster movies are released, and towards the end of the year the awards contenders are released so that they are fresh in the mind of those who vote for the awards that come out in the late winter and early spring. And so it goes.
And yet for all this seasonality it does not feel as if our lives are as closely tied to seasons as has been the case in the past. With the exception of some seasonal foods (like pumpkins, which I would like to eat year round), we eat more or less what we want all the time, with little variation except for specific Holy Days or holidays. Growing up as a child, the fact that my family was involved in gardening and agriculture meant a high degree of seasonality in life, but ever since I moved to the cities and suburbs this has not been the case so much, and certainly not the case for me where I am able to help it. For the most part, I do not see seasons as something that I tend to choose my involvement in, but rather they seem something that is imposed from above. I do not chose the rainy and dry seasons, the warmer and cooler seasons, the springing forward and falling back of Daylight Savings Time, the availability of pumpkin pies in restaurants, or the hours of sunlight that help determine when it is acceptable to work and when it is not. What I do choose is how to deal with these external realities, regardless of whether or not they correspond to any wishes or preferences of my own.
 See, for example: