Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Top Ten Things to Read When You Need Something Light and Fun

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Although I rarely re-read books (too many books on my TBR list for that!), there are some books I can't help but pick up time and time again, and more often than not, they are light and fun!

1. Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson. This is the first in the Queen Betsy series of novels, and although I haven't continued reading the series yet, I've read this one at least twice. It is just hilarious - Betsy (short for Elizabeth Taylor) is a cynical, shoe-obsessed newborn vampire, and the book is mostly concerned with her coping with her vampire powers and just being annoyed by everything. I was quite honestly surprised by this book, as it managed to blend chick lit tropes with wit and an engrossing plot. A real winner! My Review | GoodReads | Amazon

2. Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell. A lot of people disliked this book because it's so different from the TV show - there is no warmth or real storylines, and the characters are mere sketches compared to Sarah Jessica Parker and the gang. But the reason why I like it so much is because it is essentially a collection of Bushnell's Sex and the City columns featuring her alter ego, Carrie Bradshaw. Essentially, it is the things Carrie types out on her computer, like pieces on Toxic Bachelors or Psycho Moms. It works whether you read it in order, as Mr. Big starts to reappear and become more fleshed out, or if you just turn to any random piece and read it as part of the collage that is the New York dating scene. GoodReads | Amazon

3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling. Book four is hands down my favorite in the Boy Wizard series, and for a number of reasons. It has such great dynamics between the characters - Harry and Ron's fight, for example, is some of the best writing Rowling has done in the series, and the burgeoning romance on all fronts is so much fun to read. Moreover, both the Triwizard Challenge and the Quidditch World Cup are such exciting and unique set pieces! It is an altogether dynamic book with one of the funniest (and most frustrating) characters in the entire series - Rita Skeeter! GoodReads | Amazon

4. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend. I must have read this book at least ten times. It is a hilarious fictional diary of a confused, klutzy and pseudo-intelectual teen boy in early '80s Britain. Not only is his worldview skewed and downright delusional, making the book side-splittingly funny, it is also set against historical events such as Lady Diana's wedding or Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's political activity, all of which are misinterpreted by Adrian. Also, his pining after his high school sweetheart Pandora is beyond sweet! Get two copies of this book - one for you, and for the teen in your family. You'll read it again and again, and laugh until your sides hurt! GoodReads | Amazon

5. I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson. I first read this book a thousand years ago, long before its popularity was somewhat revived by the somewhat unsuccessful movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker (what is it about SJP that I so adore!?). It is a year or so in a life of a working mother who juggles her children and her career, usually with a lot of panic and hysteria. It's been a while since I last picked it up, and I'm not sure how the book would hold up against the gender worldviews I've acquired since then, but I am just about certain I would enjoy it again! GoodReads | Amazon

6. Speaking With the Angel, edited by Nick Hornby. This is a real gem. Although Hornby himself is a hit-and-miss for me, the anthology of short stories he compiled for charity is a roller coaster of different voices and experiences, including those of Hornby himself, Helen Fielding and Colin Firth (yes, that Colin Firth). There wasn't a single story here I disliked, and the great thing about an anthology like this is that you can revisit your favorite stories for an instant dose of positivity and happiness! GoodReads | Amazon

7.  Muscling Through by J. L. Merrow. You guys, you have no idea how incredibly sweet and cute this romance is. As if the pairing of a Cambridge art professor and a sensitive street thug wasn't dreamy enough, Al's somewhat dimwitted point of view reveals both protectiveness and confusion when it comes to the higher-class professor. I have seen many bloggers and reviewers gush over this novella and J. L. Merrow in general, and I am so glad. This author deserves all the readers that he can get! My Review | GoodReads | Amazon

8. The Fran Lebowitz Reader by Fran Lebowitz. The collection of previously published pieces by the celebrated humorist is both outrageous and profoundly observant. A reviewer on GoodReads noted how her writing is so rhythmic, you can't help but read certain parts aloud, and I agree completely. Another calls her "a cross between Dorothy Parker, Oscar Wilde, and that friend of yours who never shuts the fuck up." Again, so true. Read this to find out why Los Angeles and its people suck, what an irresponsible author does when she misses her deadline, or why children are infinitely better conversations companions than adults (hint: they will never ask for a loan!). GoodReads | Amazon

9. Ms. Taken Identity by Dan Begley. If for no other reason, this book should be cherished for promoting the criminally overlooked dick lit (or lad lit, if you wanna be appropriate) genre. It is about a PhD candidate with serious girlfriend issues who can't sell his serious book and instead decides to come up with a female pen name and write a chick lit novel. Although he initially thinks this would be an easy feat, he realizes there's more to understanding women than watching Oxygen and Oprah, and develops a newfound respect for the genre, as well as a romantic interest way out of his league. My Review | GoodReads | Amazon

10. Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding. Obviously. I am not exactly sure whether I prefer the book or the movie when I want to get away and experience the hell of Bridget's life, but good old Bridget never fails to put a smile on my face! I also find it very motivational - as the heroine would say, "It is proved by surveys that happiness does not come from love, wealth, or power but the pursuit of attainable goals." She is the underdog in all of us, and seeing her win just makes me feel all warm inside! GoodReads | Amazon

Thanks for reading through this massive post - I hope I've given you some good ideas for your future reading! What do you like to read when you're in the mood for something light and fun?


Camila said...

I think you're the first person I find that thinks the same as me regarding the Harry Potter books! Everybody's favorite book is the third one somehow, but I love the Goblet of Fire! It really is a piece of art.

Thanks for stopping by my blog! You should totally read VA.

Rachael said...

Great list although I have heard of a couple of these I haven't read any. Even Harry Potter. I know I should have been on that series a long time ago, but I honestly have no interest in the series. Thanks for the comment.

Lauren said...

I adore SJP also :P I haven't read Sex in the City but I've read a few others from Candace Bushnell... she isn't my favorite author :S I really want to read Undead and Unwed, I heard that was a great read with loads of snark!!! Great list :D

Susan said...

Besides HP, I haven't read any of these. I guess I'm really not a "light and fun" kind of reader!

Anonymous said...

Yes to Bridget Jones! :) Also Ms. Taken Identity looks really interesting! :D

Becki @ The Flutterby Room said...

Really interesting list. I've only read two of the books in it. Really enjoyed reading your explanations.

Nikola said...

Camila - I think because I know the plot so well, things like Cedric's death etc. don't get to me as much as they did the first time (meaning, I don't need to pop pills to get through the books:), so I can appreciate the humorous moments more! :)

Rachael - It would be fascinating if you read HP and then let us know what you thought as a first time reader so long after the fact and the hype! :)

Lauren - Yes, yes, definitely check out Undead and Unwed, it's amazing! I really enjoy Candace Bushnell, but I can see why so many others are indifferent. Thanks for stopping by! :)

Susan - I totally hear ya - some people leave lightness and fluff to films, while they revel in DEPTH when they read. :)

Ana - Ms. Taken Identity is just amazing! Definitely try it out!

Becki - Thanks for the compliment :) I really put some thought into this, and I really enjoyed the challenge! :)

Liz Wilczon said...

Oo, add me to the Goblet-of-Fire-is-the-best Club! Great list.