Light reads are really hard to recommend — they’re so subjective. “Light read” means different things to different people – heartwarming, gentle, funny, fun and more. Sometimes it’s even just a book you love so much it feels light to you — just the idea of it makes you feel happy! Here are a selection of light reads as recommended by our librarians. They include non-fiction gigglefests as well as light fiction and gentle reads, and cover sci-fi, murder mysteries, wry understated masterful English wit, stunt non-fiction and chicklit.
Dress your family in corduroy and denim / David Sedaris.
This is a collection of matter of fact but very funny essays which will have you laughing out loud, don’t make the mistake I made and read on an airplane you will cause a scene. David Sedaris is a great observer of life and really knows who to tell a great story. (Andree)
The Wilder life : my adventures in the lost world of Little house on the prairie / Wendy McClure.
Have you ever been so obsessed with the world inside a book you went out and bought a butter churn (substitute appropriate item for your book obsession), just to feel closer to its protagonist? Wendy McClure has (and I sort of wish I had too…) Funny and reflective, and if you’ve ever loved the world of a book so much you wanted to wish yourself inside it (especially as a kid), you’ll enjoy this book. McClure has also written as a columnist for Bust magazine (a lot like Frankie magazine, but in the States), so you may have already read and enjoyed her writing. Plus, so much Little House on the Prairie backstory! And tourist kitsch! (Celeste)
Any of the Adrian Mole books, by Sue Townsend. (Sue)
(These are more of those “laugh-out-loud” books Andree mentioned — reading these on public transport will make you snort and giggle in public — which can only be a good thing…)
More from Sue Townsend, with The Queen and I, and Queen Camilla. These are light-hearted and amusing reads. (Sue)
(The Queen and I is a funny read about the Royal Family being deposed by a Republican government in the UK, and adapting to life in a housing estate in the Midlands. Some royals adjust better than others, notably the Queen. Queen Camilla is a follow-up, but written quite a few years later.)
Very good, Jeeves / P.G. Wodehouse.
Really any of the Jeeves or Blandings books by P.G. Wodehouse. P.G. Wodehouse has a wonderful writing style and a language all of his own. These stories are clever, sunny and life-enhancing. (Sue)
Forever Rumpole : the best of the Rumpole stories / John Mortimer.
Any of the Rumpole books by John Mortimer. The loveable legal ‘taxi-cab’ fights for the rights of petty criminals, against the strictures of petty bureaucracy and his formidable wife Hilda… These stories will bring a smile to your face. (Sue)
The body in the library / Agatha Christie.
Of all her books, of course we had to choose this one! I love Agatha Christie books as light reads, especially Miss Marple. I know they’re murder mysteries – and, no, they don’t make me giggle – but I love how they just amble along, the descriptions of village life, and Jane Marple’s quick assessments of new characters as fitting the ‘type’ of an old maidservant or the village fishmonger etc. She quickly sizes up new characters and fits them into her schema of human nature. She’s a lot nicer in the later books – less gossipy. But, if I’m honest, part of the reason I love these books are that they’re just *nice*. I like everything about them – the descriptions of people’s gardens, village busybodies and more. If you’ve never read one, audition one as a lazy, lie around in the sun book. You won’t be disappointed – they’re easy reads in the sense that they don’t make you work hard to enjoy them, they’re just enjoyable. (Celeste)
Teacher man : a memoir / Frank McCourt.Teacher Man: A Memoir
If you’ve been a teacher (or even if you haven’t), the student antics in this one will have you giggling! (Mag)
And here’s a review from our catalogue:
“Available at last in paperback is Frank McCourt’s critically acclaimed, Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller about how his 30-year teaching career in the public schools of New York City shaped his second act as a writer.” (Library Catalogue)
The year of learning dangerously : adventures in homeschooling / Quinn Cummings.
This was a favourite of last year – I picked it up because I liked the look of the cover, and read it because the book jacket description was so funny and the author seemed very funny in a self-deprecating kind of way. She sort of acknowledged her earnestness in this experiment, and played a lot on the humour of it. You might enjoy it too — it’s a ‘stunt non-fiction’ experiment in homeschooling and what works for one family. I knew nothing about homeschooling, and I’m pretty sure this experiment isn’t applicable to my cat, but even though it didn’t directly apply to me, I still was very much amused and enjoyed reading it. To get a flavour for what the book is like, have a read of the author’s blog. (Celeste)
The uncommon reader / Alan Bennett.
This story of the Queen’s accidental encounter with a mobile librarian and subsequent venture into the world of reading is gentle and ironic. (Sue)
The internet is a playground : irreverent correspondences of an evil online genius / David Thorne.
“From the notorious Internet troublemaker who brought the world the explosively popular “Overdue Account,” in which he attempted to pay his chiropractor with a picture he drew of a spider; “Please Design a Logo for Me. With Pie Charts. For Free,” which has been described as one of the most passed-on viral e-mails of all time; and the staggeringly popular “Missing Missy,” which has appeared everywhere, from The Guardian to Jezebel to Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish, comes this profoundly funny collection of irreverent Internet mischief and comedy.Featuring every one of Thorne’s viral successes from 27bslash6, The Internet Is a Playground will keep you laughing-and, indeed, crying-until Thorne’s next stroke-of-genius prank. Or hilarious hoax. Or almost-stint in jail. Book jacket.” (Syndetics summary) (Ben’s pick)
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