Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Things to Read When You Need Something Light and Fun.
Of course, “light” and “fun” are both wide open to interpretation. To me, “light” usually implies some degree of humor. Here are some of my choices when I’m in the mood for something light and fun:
- Aunt Dimity’s Death and the rest of the Aunt Dimity series by Nancy Atherton. As long-time readers have figured out by now, Aunt Dimity’s Death and the first several sequels are among my first choices for comfort reads. Lori’s impulsiveness, Bill’s steadfastness, a blend of humor and sensitivity in the writing, and the down-to-earth practicality of Aunt Dimity (the series’ resident ghost) combined with the English village settings make the early books in this series some of my all-time favorites. And the fact that very few of the mysteries involve an actual death also keeps things light.
- Aunt Dimity and the Duke. This book, ostensibly the second in the series, is probably an Aunt Dimity book only by default, since it takes place some years before Aunt Dimity’s Deathand has a different set of main characters. But it is a charmingly improbable tale, with a delightful mix of romance, humor, mystery, and just a hint of the paranormal. Its differences from the rest of the series are significant enough to give it its own entry.
- The Viscount Who Loved Me, Romancing Mr Bridgerton, and the rest of the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn. I love Quinn’s witty Regency-era romances, and this series ranks among her best.
- The Trouble with Magic and the rest of the Bewitching Mysteries. Madelyn Alt’s paranormal mystery series features Maggie O’Neal, a fledgling intuitive, as the amateur detective; her mentor and boss Felicity, a shop owner and practicing witch; and handsome Marcus, who would like to be more than a friend. There’s plenty of humor, yet murder and evil are never treated flippantly.
- Lisa Kleypas’s Wallflower and Hathaway series. Lighter and more humorous than some of Kleypas’s earlier historical romances, these related Victorian-era series still have plenty of romance and just the right amount of passion.
- The Fairy Godmother and several others in Mercedes Lackey’s Tales of the 500 Kingdoms. These books meld retellings of several fairy tales into a magical, often humorous, and sometimes suspenseful whole. My favorites are the first book, One Good Knight, and The Sleeping Beauty, though I’m rather fond of Fortune’s Fool as well.
- Murder Must Advertise, by Dorothy Sayers. To investigate the apparently accidental death of an employee in an advertising firm, Lord Peter Wimsey goes undercover as a copy-writer. Sayers is on top of her game in this book; the mystery is well-plotted and tautly written. But it’s the sardonic, tongue-in-cheek glimpse into the world of advertising that steals the show.
- Never Pick Up Hitchhikers, by Ellis Peters. A stand-alone contemporary mystery (well, contemporary to when she wrote it, probably in the 1960s), this book is as well-written as any Ellis Peters novel, but incorporates a subtle humor that I love.
- The Lightning Thief and the rest of the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. I defy anyone to read this MG book, or most of its sequels, without cracking up. The chapter headings alone should make you chuckle: “I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra Teacher,” “I Become Supreme Lord of the Bathroom,” “Nico Feeds Happy Meals to the Dead,” and “Three Old Ladies Knit the Socks of Death” are among the best.
- The Practice Effect by David Brin. A physicist finds himself in an alternate universe where the laws of thermodynamics no longer apply, and practice really does make perfect. A humorous and exciting adventure by one of the stars of science fiction.
- The Ghost Hunter/Harmony series by Jayne Castle. OK, the SF/F elements in these romantic suspense books are neither probable nor terribly well explained, and at times the books border on camp, but they are also a lot of fun (provided you approach them with your disbelief not only suspended but sent off on vacation.) And the dust bunnies are really cute.