I love literary fiction as much as the next person...maybe even more. But sometimes those kinds of books can be heavy and depressing. When real life also feels heavy and depressing picking up a novel like that seems impossible.
And then I know what my reading life needs is a little fun.
|maybe I just need a pink unicorn pillow to make my reading life more fun|
As August is coming to a close, with the headlines being so horrible and scary, I find myself needing books that don't add to the weight I'm already feeling. What I need is a little levity and I find that in books.
When I'm looking for books that are fun I often gravitate towards thrillers and mysteries that sweep me up in intricate plots, books that have propulsive force driving me to turn another page. Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache books are fun for me, even though they often describe a gristly murder. I'm totally in love with Three Pines and the character development through the series makes these books obvious picks when I need shelter from the world: I'm going to a familiar place filled with people I have seen grow and change across 16 books. Bonus points for descriptions of croissants, wine, and coffee.
I'm currently having a great time reading 11/22/63 which is more mysterious than thriller-ish. Who Is Maud Dixon? also scratched this itch earlier this summer. And Maud Dixon gets bonus points for short chapters.
Another genre I reach for when I need to lighten up my reading is books that are like soap operas. I was a big All My Children fan back in the day and reading stories with hyperbolic drama keeps my attention when I feel distracted.
I read Olympus, Texas this month and Stacey Swann managed to keep me thinking about her characters even after I had closed the book. Instead of scrolling through social media and seeing hot takes and non-expert expert opinions, I went to bookstagram to read and comment on posts about this great novel because I needed someone to discuss it with.
"Could you believe Arlo??"
"I know! And what about Hap?????"
The Fortunate Ones was like this for me too.
twisty, turny plots + controversial decision making = me racing to the last page
|i literally gasped at a certain plot point, totally blindsided me|
A genre that I'm just recently exploring for fun books is romance. I'm a pretty PG-13 reader so I prefer closed-door romances (where most of the action takes place behind a closed door). But, as a 90's rom-com lover, I appreciate the humor and fun of a good love story that doesn't take itself too seriously.
I read The People We Meet on Vacation on vacation and it was delightful. I haven't read Beach Read (by the same author), but it's on my TBR and my actual bookshelf. Things You Save in a Fire was a perfect palate cleanser this spring when I needed a story that would make me forget my virtual school woes.
|palm trees sold seperately|
I also have to include PG Wodehouse. His books are slapstick and laugh-out-loud funny. When I'm really struggling, I grab a Wodehouse book and feel markedly better by page 50.
Fun reading is a crucial part of consistent reading for me. It gives me the break I need from the heaviness of literary fiction and life. It helps me approach reading with the same love I had when checking out Babysitter's Club and Beverly Cleary books. And, the authors who are writing these works of fun fiction are GOOD and are doing something magical: giving the reader a little levity and joy, crafting a plot that keeps your attention for a few hours, or scaring the pants off their reader.
|This is the feeling I want in my reading life|
These books are just as important as all the prize-winners, classic Literature, and books that make you think deep thoughts. They are all part of a balanced book diet.
|my philosophy on balanced food diets|