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Footnotes > Musing on a Monday: Fluff Reads a/k/a Guilty Pleasures

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message 1: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 6324 comments Fluff reads a/k/a guilty pleasures - those books we euphemistically read 'secretly', discuss only with others we know escape into the same books on the sly or when life gets a tad too stressed.

What do you read at those times when you just can't face reading anything that requires attention or thought? Or when you are avoiding doing your taxes?

Personally, I have quite a little list:

Cozy mysteries, especially those featuring crafts or hobbies I enjoy, or anything vintage or antique, cooking, or travel, or bookstores/libraries. If there is a funny pet in it, all the better. Humorous ones are particularly appealing. Among the authors with series I like are Lynn Cahoon, Juliet Blackwell, Monica Ferris, Claudia Bishop, Charlotte MacLeod, Marian Babson, Tim Myers, and Diane Mott Davidson, to name a very very few.

Regency Historical Romances - and if they have some espionage or suspense to them, perfection! Favorite authors include Georgette Heyer (duh!), Stephanie Laurens, Lauren Willig and two authors whose books are really Regency Historical Mysteries with a touch of romance - Andrea Penrose and Ashley Gardner

Contemporary ChickLit romances - lots of long running series by Emily March, Susan Mallery, Susan Wiggs, RaeAnne Thayne, Bella Andre, and Wendy Wax

Contemporary Romantic Suspense - and the romance tends to be very very hot - again lots of long running or interrelated series by Suzanne Brockmann (who also brings some welcome diversity to the romances), Marie Force, Barbara Freethy, and Katie Ruggle.

Christmas mysteries and romances -- if it is set at Christmas, I'll probably be reading it and not just in December!

I can read one of these books in a day, sometimes two a day over a weekend - I'm single with no kids or pets meaning I can just ignore laundry, cleaning, dishes, etc. if I want. Right now, that's all I'm reading because I'm super stressed out -- from too many really heavy recent reads, a very intense workload, and taxes. So off I go down my fluff reading rabbit hole!

What is never escape for me, no matter how light and silly: Fantasy or SciFi, YA, or intensely paranormal. What is never an escapist read for you?


message 2: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8289 comments This is a good question. For me I would go with something contemporary, and not historical fiction no one. Maybe something that’s got some humor to it? Like Elinor Lipman. She’s probably one of my favorite authors. Trouble is I’ve read everything she’s ever written. She has a way of taking really crazy circumstances and making it absolutely hysterical! At the same time you feel moved by it, and the plight of the characters. But she just has a way. Otherwise I’d have no idea how to answer this question. I rarely read light.


message 3: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7243 comments My fluff read is Janet Evanovich. And that is it-I need help!

I read Garden Spells last month, and for me that was "fluffy" and I liked it-I have started looking for more like that, just for the reason's you mentioned. I need to have one or two of this type books handy from now on, just to be able to reach for it when I need a break. So I will take any suggestions. Cozy Mystery and Regency Romance are not my thing. However, I plan to give Georgette Heyer a go and read The Grand Sophy on a few PBT recommendations.

I read a lot of Fantasy and Historical Fiction-sometimes they are escapes, sometimes not so such.

A non escape for me would be Literary Fiction....most times I just get bored silly with it.


message 4: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3782 comments I think my "guilty pleasure" is mostly YA, fluffy chick lit (if we're using that term again), and psychological thrillers, sometimes cozy mysteries.

These are my go-to when I'm in a reading rut, and need/want to get back on track. This is what I consider my fluff- easy to read, don't need to 100% pay attention to every detail, generally end up being 3 star reads.

I like to say my ultimate guilty pleasure author is Sophie Kinsella.


message 5: by Theresa (last edited Apr 08, 2019 01:25PM) (new)

Theresa | 6324 comments Sophie Kinsella and her alter-ego Madeleine Wickham are delightful! Others I like in that humorous contemporary style are:
Isabel Wolff
Katie Fforde
Beth Harbison
Sheila Roberts

A historical fiction writer you might want to consider - but light not heavy -- is Fiona Davis - she sets her books in early 20th Century NYC in famous locations - The Dakota, Grand Central Station, and soon the Chelsea Hotel - where the locale is a character in the story being told.

Three authors I haven't tried yet but will at some point because I have some of their books:
Elin Hilderbrand
Kate Morton
Debbie Mason

I spent a lot of years mostly reading fluff, thus giving me a huge inventory of authors. It became a rut and I was rather bored. Even though I bought books that weren't fluff, they just lived in my home unread. Book clubs are not for me but when a friend asked me to join her in doing the 2016 Pop Sugar Challenge I said 'sure', seeing it as a way to encourage my reading some of the piles of unread books in my apartment. It was the best thing ever, and eventually last year led me here!


message 6: by Holly R W (new)

Holly R W | 1165 comments A nice escape book is Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory. I stumbled upon it by chance. It's about a family where each member in it has some special (although imperfect) gift of ESP. The book is funny and warm-hearted.


message 7: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 6324 comments I should probably add that I read books by John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Daniel Silva, William Bernhardt - what a friend of mine calls 'the male bodice rippers' -- as escape reading as well. Especially when I'm travelling and spending a lot of time on flights or in airports.


message 8: by Joanne (last edited Apr 08, 2019 01:59PM) (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7243 comments Theresa wrote: "I should probably add that I read books by John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Daniel Silva, William Bernhardt - what a friend of mine calls 'the male..."

I love Silva-have never thought of him as a "fluff" but I guess it fits since I salivate for Gabriel❤❤-but I love your friends "tag" I may use that! Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp is another that would fit


message 9: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3782 comments Theresa wrote: "Sophie Kinsella and her alter-ego Madeleine Wickham are delightful! Others I like in that humorous contemporary style are....."

Also should add Emily Giffin and Lauren Weisberger to that list :)

Maybe any author who has had a lifetime/hallmark movie written after their book or series? I think the Aurora Teagarden series (Charlaine Harris) Got a Hallmark series too.


message 10: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 6324 comments Oh, there are a bunch of them, Joanne!

One resource I use when I am trying to find books similar to something in a genre I've read and really enjoyed is Fantastic Fiction website - https://www.fantasticfiction.com/.

I'll put the author I just read in, find anything else they have written, and any pseudonyms, and often there will be a section at the bottom of the page listing books/authors they themselves recommend, and a separate section that shows other authors searched by visitors to the page. Kate Morton for example recommends Gold Dust and other visitors to her page also visited Jojo Moyes among others. I've found some great books and authors this way.

It also is a great resource for figuring out series or publication order.


message 11: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 6324 comments Joi wrote: "Maybe any author who has had a lifetime/hallmark movie written after their book or series? I think the Aurora Teagarden series (Charlaine Harris) Got a Hallmark series too...."

They sure did. That's a great benchmark - I'd add also any contemporary book series turned into any series on cable -by Amazon, Netflix, Hallmark. Also, made into Hallmark series: Sherryl Woods Chesapeake Shores series - which are far better in book form than the insipid Hallmark series.

Soon to be a series- on Netflix I think - Robyn Carr's Virgin River Series. And hasn't Netflix done a Jack Ryan series based on the Clancy books?


message 12: by Joanne (last edited Apr 08, 2019 02:17PM) (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7243 comments Theresa wrote: "Oh, there are a bunch of them, Joanne!

One resource I use when I am trying to find books similar to something in a genre I've read and really enjoyed is Fantastic Fiction website - https://www.fan..."


Oh Thersea-you just made my evening not so boring.........so many books! I love this site!


message 13: by Joi (last edited Apr 08, 2019 02:28PM) (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3782 comments Theresa wrote: "And hasn't Netflix done a Jack Ryan series based on the Clancy books? ."

Amazon Prime is doing a Jack Ryan series, currently out. Hubby is absolutely loving it (although he has never read the books for a comparison).

I think a lot of the book to cable/movies could be considers guilty pleasure (Looking at you True Blood). However there are SO MANY nowadays I don't think they're all guilty pleasure. Lots with dark themes, adult themes, lots of thinking involved. The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu, American Gods on Starz, even A Game of Thrones on HBO. No fluff in these series.


message 14: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 6324 comments Joi wrote: "Theresa wrote: "And hasn't Netflix done a Jack Ryan series based on the Clancy books? ."

Amazon Prime is doing a Jack Ryan series, currently out. Hubby is absolutely loving it (although he has nev..."


Ah that's right! I see the ads for the Jack Ryan on my GR homepage all the time.

You are right, the adaptations are not all light - although in some respects, Game of Thrones, books and series, is absolute escapist for me. Even the upcoming Robyn Carr Virgin River series will not all be light as most of her books have some very serious themes under the romance - such as domestic abuse, infertility, etc.


message 15: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7243 comments Thanks again Theresa for sharing that web-site-I got lost there and added too many books to my shelf!


message 16: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5639 comments Cozy mysteries and/or ANYTHING by Alexander McCall Smith


message 17: by Tracy (new)

Tracy (tstan) | 1182 comments The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, and the Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire. Team Morelli!


message 18: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments Elizabeth George novels, or any crime fiction, tend to be my go to when I need a comfort read. What does that say about me, that I read about fictional murders when I am seeking comfort?! 😳


message 19: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 2087 comments I usually will read the next book in any series that I enjoy: Jacqueline Winspear, C.J. Box, Archer Mayor, Alex Kava, John Lescroart, Stephen White. Although they are not particularly fluffy, they certainly fill the need for comfort reading.


message 20: by Meli (new)

Meli (melihooker) | 3149 comments I think fluff reads, or popcorn novels, are my usual go-to. I love a good literary fiction, but my favs are usually thrillers. B.A. Paris comes to mind.

I feel zero guilt about anything I read >:-)


message 21: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 6324 comments Ellen wrote: "I usually will read the next book in any series that I enjoy: Jacqueline Winspear, C.J. Box, Archer Mayor, Alex Kava, John Lescroart, Stephen White. Although they are not particularly fluffy, they ..."

I love those too but give them a higher ranking than my fluff reads. More escapist entertainment that requires some engagement of my mind than say a regency romance or cozy mystery.


message 22: by Joi (last edited Apr 09, 2019 12:44PM) (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3782 comments Meli wrote: B.A. Paris comes to mind. "

Yes! B.A. Paris, Gillian Flynn,Mary Kubica, pretty much any "girl" type thriller.

Also Ann Rule is probably a "guilty pleasure" author for me. True crime just really is my bread and butter lately. Like Susie, not sure what this says about me- lol.


message 23: by Meli (new)

Meli (melihooker) | 3149 comments I haven't read Mary Kubica, but I would say Gillian Flynn's characters are more complicated and less predictable, certainly more demons, than B.A. Paris characters. Flynn is pretty clever and while I like Paris she is predictable.


message 24: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 2087 comments Meli wrote: "I haven't read Mary Kubica, but I would say Gillian Flynn's characters are more complicated and less predictable, certainly more demons, than B.A. Paris characters. Flynn is pretty clever and while..."
Kubica is a recent discovery for me and I really love her books so far.


message 25: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 6324 comments Well I have not read any Mary Kubica, so will have to explore.


message 26: by Joy D (new)

Joy D | 3202 comments As a "fluffy" read, I sometimes pick up a book about animals, a book that has become a cultural phenomenon that I wouldn't normally read (though some of these aren't very fluffy - more like a diversion), or an occasional fantasy novel.


message 27: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 4988 comments I am in need of a new guilty pleasure author, so I'm taking notes!

I have a craving to get back to the Louise Penny series, but I have no guilt about these at all.

My go-to every summer used to be Charlaine Harris. I started with her Aurora Teagarden mysteries, but then I devoured all the Sookie Stackhouse books Dead Until Dark, and her other paranormal series. She also edits some short story anthologies which are great for finding new authors.

MaryJanice Davidson has some funny paranormal series.

I used to love the One for the Money Stephanie Plum series - so funny - but I lost interest after a while.

I might try Kinsella because I liked the Shopaholic movie.


message 28: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 4988 comments Joy D wrote: "As a "fluffy" read, I sometimes pick up a book about animals, a book that has become a cultural phenomenon that I wouldn't normally read (though some of these aren't very fluffy - more like a diver..."

My husband loves books about dogs. A Dog's purpose, Art of racing in the rain, and there was one about Gobi (in the desert?) that he loved.


message 29: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 4988 comments When I have a craving for a "man's" book, I usually turn to Baldacci (Memory Man, and ...?). DeMille's John Corey series is good for long car rides with my husband. John Corey is snarky enough to make us laugh with him or at him.

I've had a Jeffrey Archer habit for 30 years, but I might be getting over it, as I still haven't read the book that came out last year.


message 30: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7243 comments NancyJ wrote: "When I have a craving for a "man's" book, I usually turn to Baldacci (Memory Man, and ...?). DeMille's John Corey series is good for long car rides with my husband. John Corey is snarky enough to m..."

I was an Archer fan too-but the last few have stalled for me-I picked up his new one and just could not get into it-There was a long wait list for it, so I returned it without finishing. Back on my TBR shelf, but I am not in a hurry to read it


message 31: by Karin (last edited Apr 10, 2019 04:29PM) (new)

Karin | 6926 comments I don't think I have any one or two things I go to for fluff/light reads, but I definitely do read them, some years more than others. This year a fair bit of my reading has been like that--Brother Cadfael, I read another Joanne Fluke novel or two, Lisa Wingate, two classics I'd put here because they are funny and don't take much thought are Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat and Three Men on a Bummel.

Also this year, Liane Moriarty (read one of hers recently), much of my y/a choices, and, of course, the William Shakespeare's Star Wars books. Sure, they're written mainly in iambic pentameter, but the are funny, particularly the three audio ones.

But I have a variety of other fluff books, including some "man" books.


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