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Day 7: Lighthearted Fun or Warm and Fuzzy Reading

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Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship (emmadeploresgoodreadscensorship) | 103 comments Mod
What are your best examples of books that manage to be fun and affecting without ever becoming dark or grim?

I struggle with this one because my reading trends serious: half the books I think of as warm and fuzzy or as fun adventures I had to discard as answers to this question due to a pesky serial killer/graphic rape scene/World War II setting/etc. I've had to break myself of the habit of bringing really depressing and heavy material along even to the beach.

Lately I’ve been reading some of Jane Austen’s work as comfort reading, which has been very successful! A few other fun ones:

- Tooth and Claw: What if you had a typical 19th century novel of manners, except all the characters were dragons?
- His Majesty's Dragon: What if in the Napoleonic Wars, instead of ships you had dragons? Yes, war, but this one is mostly about dragon/human bonding and it’s a fun fantasy of manners as well.
- Elfland: This one is in the warm-and-fuzzy category: a modern fantasy novel that’s largely about family drama and romance.


message 2: by Melindam (last edited May 26, 2020 01:53AM) (new)

Melindam | 161 comments This is a relatively easy question for me and can list several books without thinking about it too much, because I love a good comfort read.

Miss Buncle's Book: One of my favourite books.
There is a village called Silverstream in the summer of 1934. Its residents go about their daily lives, unsuspecting that soon it will all be turned upside down by something seemingly as innocuous as a freshly published book, even though it's called 'Disturber of the Peace'. And their peace is disturbed all right, as its first readers in the village are shocked to find themselves depicted to the letter with all their little or not-so-little secrets disclosed.
They are even more appalled to find out about the possible future the author has in store for them. Then the hunt for the mysterious author begins. They only know that the author must be living in their midst.
And so she does. It is none other than Miss Barbara Buncle, impoverished and overlooked, 30-something gentle spinster of Silverstream with no imagination, but a lot of unpaid bills and the latter prompts her to get by as a woman in her position may do. Of course, she had no more idea of the snowball-effect the book would have on all their lives than the villagers themselves did.
PLUS, there are some further disconcerting events. Namely that most of the imaginary endings for some of the very genuine people start to come true.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day: The time is 1938, the place: London. Miss Guinevere Pettigrew, 40-year old, lonely, overlooked, dowdy spinster, sets out to find a job -her last hope before her landlady will turn her out of her lodgings - as a governess. She is given an address, where she goes and when the door is opened by the lovely, but distressed Delysia LaFosse -actress and singer in a nightclub- Miss P. finds herself in a WORLD, she's never known before: a scandalous, glittering and dangerously seductive world of the demi monde.

Pomfret Towers: recommended if you like
√ Forgotten classics
√ Comedy of errors
√ Books with P.G. Wodehouse-like humour & excellent, though not too serious characterisation
√ "The Good Old Days"
√ Big British Stately Home in the country
√ Shy Ingenues launched into Society for the first time and falling for the Wrong Guy first
√ Young Men & Women and the issue of who's getting together with whom
√ Happily Ever Afters

Some modern recommendations:

The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach: 3 ladies escape their dreary lives and bad weather for a weekend on a Greek island and end up buying the B&B they are staying.
It's pure, unadulterated escapism. :)

The Writers' Retreat
3 wannabe writers live their quite exciting lives in India, but want more and decide to go to a workshop in Crete to change their lives.
I love this book, because it's from a different country/culture and yet it is a perfectly delightful story with totally likeable characters you can relate to. It's also fresh and funny.


message 3: by Gogol (new)

Gogol | 111 comments I can’t wait to read the books in your lists so far. They all sound interesting and just what I need.. I saw the Miss Pettigrew movie, which I liked a lot.
Well, comfort reading is my default reading mode these days, therefore lots of the books I’ve named so far can be included in this category.
First and foremost, Lord of the rings. It’s beyond comfort reading for me, it’s like my security blanket.
Loretta Chase and Ilona Andrews. Most of, or almost all of their works are fantastic comfort reading material for me. I love Lord Perfect, by Loretta Chase because the heroine comes from a long line of notorious, swindling aristocrats. I love almost everything written or being written by Ilona Andrews, but if I had to choose one it’d be Innkeeper at this juncture. Because (view spoiler)
But there is one other book that is the second book in a trilogy by Mary Stewart, named The Crystal Cave, which is a very, very old comfort read of mine as well.

These are the constants that I can think of.


message 4: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 161 comments I also love the house "Gertude Hunt" in the Innkeeper series - sounds like Heaven, right? 😂

And also love Howl's moving castle.


message 5: by Gogol (new)

Gogol | 111 comments Melindam wrote: "I also love the house "Gertude Hunt" in the Innkeeper series - sounds like Heaven, right? 😂

And also love Howl's moving castle."


It really does lol. If only such places existed in real life! And I love Howl himself too.


message 6: by Melindam (last edited May 26, 2020 06:47AM) (new)

Melindam | 161 comments Gogol wrote: "Melindam wrote: "I also love the house "Gertude Hunt" in the Innkeeper series - sounds like Heaven, right? 😂

And also love Howl's moving castle."

It really does lol. If only such places existed i..."


Howl is a person that I wouldn't suffer in real life, but he delights my literary soul on page. :D


message 7: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 161 comments Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship wrote: "What are your best examples of books that manage to be fun and affecting without ever becoming dark or grim?

I struggle with this one because my reading trends serious: half the books I think of a..."


Emma, both dragon-books have been on my radar, but haven't got round to read them yet.


message 8: by Mark (new)

Mark (kilimaro) | 20 comments Emma, the Temeraire books are a great example here. And although I didn't think of them the other day for "best friendships" you can absolutely put Laurence and Temeraire in that bunch.

A couple that come to mind for me:

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet - think Star Trek except the ship isn't a warship, a lot of characters aren't human, and the differences between humans and aliens are a lot greater than between, say, humans and Klingons. What makes this story light and feel good is that it's just this kind of meandering journey where the assorted people mostly try their best to understand one another and get along even amidst all of the obstacles to doing this.

To Say Nothing of the Dog - though the stakes are the entire space-time continuum, it's still light and funny, a lot like Back to the Future in that way, except that the time travelers are historians and they end up in Victorian times. The book Three Men in a Boat, which inspired Connie Willis's time travel story, also is great.


message 9: by Gogol (new)

Gogol | 111 comments Melindam wrote: "Gogol wrote: "Melindam wrote: "I also love the house "Gertude Hunt" in the Innkeeper series - sounds like Heaven, right? 😂

And also love Howl's moving castle."

It really does lol. If only such pl..."


Lool he can seem a bit exasperating I suppose.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 43 comments Cranford, by Elizabeth Gaskell. Utterly charming.


message 11: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin (beniowa79) | 17 comments Yeah, my reading tends toward the heavy side too. Probably the best examples I can think of for this category would be Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. Their satire is often brilliant, funny, and straight-on.

Another would be John Scalzi's early work, notably Old Man's War and The Android's Dream.

I think Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal would fit too. Somehow it's hilariously irreverent without being disrespectful to Christianity.

Something along the lines of His Majesty's Dragon would be The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss. This is sort of a mashup of Victorian mad scientist literature (Frankenstein, Island of Doctor Moreau, etc), which takes the women from these books and gives them their own story.


message 12: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 161 comments I deliberately left it out, but it cannot get any lighter and funnier than in P.G. Wodehouse's in novels. ;)


message 13: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 161 comments Bertie, Jeeves and the cow creamer in "The code of the Woosters" is unforgettable.


Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship (emmadeploresgoodreadscensorship) | 103 comments Mod
Mark, I've had A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and To Say Nothing of the Dog on my list for ages... thanks for the reminder!

Benjamin, I had not heard of The Case of the Alchemist's Daughter, but it sounds interesting! The only Theodora Goss I've read, The Thorn and the Blossom, would also fit this list. It's kind of a gimmick, an accordion book that tells a romance from both perspectives, and you can read it in either order. Because it's very short but expensive to produce, it probably wouldn't be worth buying to read once, but it's a fun experience if you can get it from the library.

Melindam - and anybody else who wants to chime in - where should one start with Wodehouse? I have never read a single one.


message 15: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 161 comments Well, I don't think there's any "order" you need to follow.

I would recommend: "The code of the Woosters", "Leave it to Psmith", "Summer Lightning", "The mating season".

But you can start with any book, anywhere. :)


Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship (emmadeploresgoodreadscensorship) | 103 comments Mod
Melindam wrote: "Well, I don't think there's any "order" you need to follow.

I would recommend: "The code of the Woosters", "Leave it to Psmith", "Summer Lightning", "The mating season".

But you can start with ..."


Thanks! I'm all in favor of starting with an author's best as long as it doesn't require background from other books. :)


message 17: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 161 comments It's never the case with Wodehouse. :)


message 18: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited May 26, 2020 02:05PM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 43 comments Definitely second Wodehouse! I don't think there's any order - even his "series" - and some are long - are "series in name only."I highly recommend The Code of the Woosters, Leave It to Psmith, and Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves.


message 19: by Mahoghani 23 (new)

Mahoghani 23 (mahoghani23) I must say that Darynda Jones, Charley Davison series, has kept me reading way past my bedtimes. Her books are paranormal but funny.


Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) | 75 comments For warm fuzzy reads, I tend to turn to 19th century children's classics like The Secret Garden, Eight Cousins and things like that. We both love The Wind in the Willows, so it was rather a shock to read another of Grahame's children's books and discover I didn't like it at all.


message 21: by Joe (last edited May 27, 2020 07:00PM) (new)

Joe Jungers | 5 comments Sadly, much of my reading tends toward either miltitary fiction or horror fantasy.

The last pure fun series I found was Melissa Meyers' Lunar Chronicles - a set of stories where she reimagines a number of classic fairie tales & sets them into a future where the Earth & the Moon are in conflict. Cinderella, Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood, Snow White.
It drifts a little dark here & there, but mostly they're tales of love & friendship overcoming the obstacles that life has thrown their way.


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