This was supposed to be a Top Ten for early May, but we’ve decided to rework it into your personal summer reading list! Kaite and I will tell you our top titles for when you’re looking for something “light and fun”, plus some of the books we’re planning on picking up this summer.
Deborah’s (Few-and-Far-Between) Light and Fun Recommendations:
Not that I only read depressing stuff, but mostly I err on the serious/dramatic side of things. So whenever I read a book that makes me say “man, I feel GOOD”, I usually wonder what the heck my problem is, and go hunting for more. Here’s my (short) list of funnies I’ve liked so far.
1) Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I read this last year, and it’s probably one of the single most funny books I’ve ever read. Just ask my BFF, who was trying to suntan in peace while I was reading this beside her. Every two seconds I burst out laughing, which made her jump. It does have some heart-wrenching “high school” (AKA sucky) moments, but they’re always tempered with more humour.
2) Any Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Waterson. Okay, okay, so comics shouldn’t really count, but why not? That little troublemaker and his stuffed tiger have some pretty philosophical moments! Other personal faves are The Far Side (Gary Larson) and Cul de Sac (Richard Thompson).
3) The Princess Bride by William Goldman. Despite the title it’s not a girl book. It’s a for-anyone-who-likes-to-laugh book! You’ll be amazed at all the background hilarity that simply didn’t fit into the movie (which is already pretty jam-packed with laughs). Downside: it’s super long, so may not be considered “light”. But hopefully I’ve aROUSed your suspicions enough to give it a try!
A few books I plan to pick up soon(er or later):
- Ella Minnow Pea, by Mark Dunn. Mostly because the title is great (LMNOP, get it?!). Apparently it’s a book about letters, in letters.
- Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. I didn’t love Levithan’s solo effort Every Day, but since I enjoy his writing and this is another collaboration…why not?
Kaite’s Way More Complete list:
Though I have love for all sorts of novels, I usually need to mix in some lighthearted books when I read some great literature*. Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance wrecked me for a long time, and though I’m currently reading Susanna Clark’s (really slow) 1008-page Johnathon Strange and Mr. Norrell, I’ll probably read about 10-15 other books before I finish it. This is also why I cannot love J.K. Rowling’s A Casual Vacancy. I appreciated it very much and was really into the book after the first few chapters, but the darker side of mankind is just harder for me to enjoy. I’m still mulling over why I do this.
Usually my go-to ‘easy-reads’ are whatever YA or romance I have lying around. YA books always seem to provide a good mix of seriousness and lightheartedness, and the romance can sometimes be hilariously awful, but mostly end up sweeping me away. (Though they always have numerous annoying traits I must overlook- it comes with the genre.) But there are many other great ‘Light and Fun’ reads out there outside of these genres! Here are some of my favourites:
1) For some Chick-Lit, check out Sophie Kinsella’s Can You Keep a Secret, and Undomestic Goddess. These books actually make me laugh out loud, and the stories are Kinsella’s trademark mixture of embarrassing and cute. I would say they are her two best. If you’re not into Kinsella, you can try out any of Marian Keyes’ books. They go deeper than your usual chick-lit, but I enjoyed what I felt was an elevated form of the genre.
2) For some travel adventures, check out the works of Bill Bryson. I haven’t read very much, but I’ve always enjoyed reading a chapter here and there. He has a good sense of humour, and has definitely added some out of the way places to my must-see list. If you like history, try out his A Short History of Nearly Everything, which is great, though when compared to other books, not so short.
3) Though his books are pretty Canadian (which I love), Stuart McLean’s numerous books are great for those looking for something easy to read. His Vinyl Cafe books have little stories that still stick with me years later, and I recently purchased Welcome Home: Travels in Smalltown Canada which I’m waiting to get back from my Dad.
5) Bridget Jones’s Diary and the works of Sophie Kinsella definitely have a similar audience, but Helen Fielding’s bestseller outclasses all others.
*Not that lighthearted books cannot be classified as ‘great literature’.
Some books I’ll be reading this summer:
- Someday, Someday, Maybe, by Lauren Graham – Yeah, Lorelai!
- Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn – I’ve heard good things!
- Silver Lining’s Playbook, Matthew Quick – Because I loved the movie so much.
- Dune, Frank Herbert. Gotta get some science fiction in there.
- Friendly Shakespeare: A Thoroughly Painless Guide to the Best of the Bard, Norrie Epstein – From last years’ summer reading list.
- Legend, Marie Lu – Time for some new YA.