Tuesday 7 May 2013

Top Ten Books For When You Need Something Light And Fun

 TTT is hosted by the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.
This week we're talking light reads... books that are easy to read, fun and good for a giggle.  I tend to turn to super-light books when I'm tired or the shop's crazy busy, when I'm ill or miserable, or occasionally as a bit of light relief alongside heavier reading fare.  These are some of my favourite go-to choices!  I missed off Bill Bryson's Notes from a Big Country, just because it appears on these lists a LOT... but that would totally have made my top five otherwise.  :)
The Undomestic Goddess
by Sophie Kinsella
Yeahhhh, this one again.  SHUT UP IT'S AWESOME.  If I'm still in the mood for an actual novel, but I want something with a serious feel-good factor, then this is usually at the top of the list.  The story of a woman on the run from her high-pressure work as a lawyer, it makes me want to slow down and be domestic and bake things, and generally relax and enjoy life and the countryside and good food and good company.  Perfect.

The Pirates! series
by Gideon Defoe
Yay pirates!  Chris Addison first turned me onto these books when he was a guest on My Life in Books, and then Hanna got hooked on them, and then I read The Pirates! In an Adventure with Communists from the library, and THEN she sent me the first book in the series for my last birthday, and THAT'S where we're at right now.  They're funny and ridiculous and occasionally a tad Carry On, and I think Gideon Defoe might be a bit of a genius.
The World According to Clarkson, vols. 1-4
by Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Clarkson's a pretty divisive bloke, especially on telly when his mouth runs away with him, but his collections of newspaper columns are really quite hilarious.  Occasionally a particularly un-PC moment might make me cringe, but mostly they're just deliciously earthy and make me laugh when I need it most.  There are four volumes of 'general' columns (ie. not all car and transport-related) so far!
The Mighty Book of Boosh
by Julian Barratt, Noel Fielding and Dave Brown
This is a new one for me, but it's what's putting a smile on my face RIGHT NOW so it's getting a mention anyway.  I'm a few years behind everyone else with The Mighty Boosh, it seems, but now I've discovered it it's my favourite form of escapism of a tired evening.  The book's crammed with art, funny stuff, photos, comic strips and everything else under the sun, and I love it!
Anything by/featuring Karl Pilkington
by Karl Pilkington and/or Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant
I've read two of his books now: Happyslapped by a Jellyfish (a bunch of his travel anecdotes, diaries and little poems), and The World of Karl Pilkington (scripts from The Ricky Gervais Show).  Both have been funny, ridiculous, easy to read and a great dose of light relief on a bad day.  Next up will be An Idiot Abroad, which is waiting patiently on Mount TBR!
Deric Longden's cat books
by, ummm, Deric Longden
Like The Undomestic Goddess, these are for when I still want an actual narrative but also want to smile and laugh and be happy.  Mum gave me my first one (The Cat Who Came In from the Cold) as a kid and I still reread them on a regular basis, giggling at the antics of Deric's very anthropomorphic cats, and snorting at his wry take on life and his warm sense of humour.  Read 'em, cat people!

It Is Just You, Everything's Not Shit
by Steve Stack
Subtitled 'A Guide to All Things Nice', this is a kind of counter-volume to the two Is It Just Me or is Everything Shit? encyclopedias (which I've also read!).  Rather than a guide to everything annoying in life, it's a celebration of all the happy things that cheer us up but sometimes get taken for granted.  Things like David Attenborough, crumpets and bubble wrap.  I love it - and it's how I first heard about LibraryThing!  :)

Eating for England: The Delights and Eccentricities of the British at Table
by Nigel Slater
read and reviewed this one back in 2010, and it was so delicious that I knew I'd be keeping it as a comfort read.  With bitesize morsels on everything from seaside rock to strawberry picnics, old-school puddings to supermarket shopping, all written with warmth and humour, it's guaranteed to make me smile AND make my stomach rumble, all at the same time.
Biblioholism: The Literary Addiction
by Tom Raabe
 A book about books can usually be relied upon to make me feel relaxed and inspired.  This one has the added advantage that it's very relatable and really funny!  It's about due a reread actually, but from what I remember I recognised myself all the way through and had a good chuckle along the way!  The alternative history of the book was particularly brilliant, and the little quiz to find out if you're a biblioholic (I scored impressively on that one!)...
The Babylon series
by Imogen Edwards-Jones and Anonymous
In the middle of summer, when I need something cheerful and light and utterly scandalous to while away some hot days in the garden and manic days at work, I could do much worse than these books.  Structured as semi-fictional 'week in the life' exposés, written with the input of various top industry insiders, the series is fun, insightful and occasionally damning.  I've already reviewed Beach Babylon and Wedding Babylon here on the blog, and I have Fashion Babylon waiting on Mount TBR!
These are some of the books that I turn to when I need a light, easy and uplifting read - what would make your list?