Top Ten Tuesday: Things to Read When You Need Something Light & Fun

May 7, 2013 Top Ten Tuesday 19

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.

19 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Things to Read When You Need Something Light & Fun”

  1. Jan

    I couldn’t think of 10 fun or light reads so I didn’t write a top ten post this week (this has been a problem the last few weeks for me). I like your list and have read several of these and agree with them–especially Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn.

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I was afraid I couldn’t come up with enough, too. But I expanded my definition of “light” a little, and it worked out. I love Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn, too!

      Next week, I’m choosing my own Top Ten topic. It’s Children’s Book Week, and the topic for next week just doesn’t suit that, so I’ll be doing something that fits more with children’s books. I’ve seen other people choose their own topic once in a while, so I hope it’s OK.

    • Jan

      I think doing something for Children’s Book Week is a great idea, Lark. Next week’s topic is another one I’m not doing!

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      If it weren’t Children’s Book Week, I’d probably skip next week’s Top Ten altogether. Maybe it’s cowardly of me, but I don’t read books about stuff that’s hard for me to deal with. I find that it’s just not good for my mental health.

  2. kimbacaffeinate

    These are all great choices, I tend to grab a small-town romance book or historical fiction (regency)or as you said something funny and light.

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I gravitate toward cozy mysteries, small-town romances, and historical romances (mostly Regency or Victorian era). I don’t know why I didn’t put the Virgin River series on here, except that some of them aren’t that light (thinking particularly of Bree’s story and Rick’s story.)

  3. Sandy Farmer

    Geez! I haven’t read any of these. It’s times like this when I wish I had more time to read, but I just don’t know how I could squeeze in anymore without completely neglecting the hubs! Great list!

    My TTT
    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

  4. caitlinsternwrites

    Hey, whatever you feel is light and fun is light and fun for you.
    I’ve read and loved several of these, and have the Dorothy Sayers and Madelyn Alt series on my To-Read list.
    Someday soon… 🙂

  5. Hannah @ Once Upon A Time

    I need to give Mercedes Lackey and Percy Jackson a read one day. I found Lightning Thief in the charity shop I used to volunteer in but I don’t think Mercedes is published over here so that will definitely be an online buy rather than a charity shop/library find.

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I’m surprised — as well as Lackey sells in the US (or did, at least), I would have thought her books would go international. Oh, well, you in the UK probably have lots of wonderful authors we never get to see, too.

  6. Becki @ The Flutterby Room

    Great list, although I have to admit that I haven’t read any of the books/series mentioned. I have read some of Julia Quinn’s other books though and I totally agree that she is a great author for light and fun reads.

  7. Jennifer @ Feminist Fairy Tale Reviews

    I love the Bridgertons too! Have you read her collection of second epilogues for the series? I recently finished it and it was so good! Love Lisa Kleypas too! I haven’t read the Mercedes Lackey books, but I need to add them to my wishlist because I am a fan of fairy tale retellings. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      No — I haven’t even read the first set of epilogues (though I think I’ve read one or two of them.) I’ll have to get hold of them somehow.

      Lackey has two sets of fairy tale retellings, the Tales of the 500 Kingdoms, and a Victorian/Edwardian/WWI series, loosely connected, called Elemental Magic. They are very different, but both good. Or rather, both contain good books and so-so books. It seems to me that in recent years, some of Lackey’s books have suffered from poor editing (both copyediting and content editing.) But the initial entries in both series are pretty strong.

  8. Shelver 506

    He-ey! MURDER MUST ADVERTISE is one of only two Sayers books that I’ve ever read. I really should read more.

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I love Sayers. She’s witty, and her prose is impeccable. More than that, she’s terrific both at constructing plots and creating and developing characters you can believe in. If you like audiobooks, Ian Carmichael reads the books well. (But be careful, as there is also a set of BBC radio play adaptations out there, and they star Carmichael, too.)