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Old 10-19-2010, 10:14 AM
Unauthorized Cinnamon is offline
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Recommend some good light reads


I want to read something that will draw me in without bumming me out, that will amuse me but not ask too much of me.

I really enjoyed the Felix Castor novels by Mike Carey. Even though they had a certain darkness, I felt like the fantasy setting helped distance me from it. On the other hand, I stopped reading A Game of Thrones because it was too relentlessly bleak.

I picked up a couple Anita Blake novels and found the writing so painfully bad I couldn't keep reading.

I tried the first two Harry Dresden novels, but the second one left me unsatisfied - if you're a fan, do you find that the series improved as it went on?

I've tried to like the Discworld novels, but I just can't. I feel bad because I like Pratchett as a person, I loved Good Omens, and I'm just the demographic for the books, but I find them blah.

I usually read fantasy, sci-fi, and horror. But I'm also something of a Janeite. I'd also go for a good mystery, but there are so many out there that seem squarely aimed at women who find The View high intellectual conversation - I don't want to just grab something off the shelf.

Whatcha got for me? I'm heading out to the bookstore shortly, and will check in on my phone. Thanks!
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:19 AM
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I am also looking for something light. I am up to my eyeballs in some heavy stuff, but I need some amusing, perhaps historical, fiction.
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:21 AM
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My standard recco for people who read fantasy & want a good light read is Bridge of Birds, by Barry Hughart. It seems to be in print most of the time. On the SF end of things, Lois McMaster Bujold has written a lot of good stuff, as has John Scalzi.
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:37 AM
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Beat the Reaper. Over-the-top hard-boiled detective type stuff. Fast-paced, engaging and no redeeming social value whatsoever....
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Unauthorized Cinnamon View Post
I've tried to like the Discworld novels, but I just can't. I feel bad because I like Pratchett as a person, I loved Good Omens, and I'm just the demographic for the books, but I find them blah.
Some Discworld fans may be along to ask which ones you've tried, and to point out that there are different sub-series, and to recommend you try again with a different book.
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I usually read fantasy, sci-fi, and horror. But I'm also something of a Janeite.
I assume you're aware of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (which I haven't read—though I found the same author's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter entertaining). On a more serious note, Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer) is a good fantasy with a Jane Austen flavor.
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I'd also go for a good mystery, but there are so many out there that seem squarely aimed at women who find The View high intellectual conversation - I don't want to just grab something off the shelf.
Lately I've found John Mortimer's Rumpole books, Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books, and Carl Hiaasen to be good sources of light, entertaining mystery-ish fiction.
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:54 AM
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I tried the first two Harry Dresden novels, but the second one left me unsatisfied - if you're a fan, do you find that the series improved as it went on?
I have read the first 6 so far, and I think that book 2 is the weakest of that group. Give book 3 a shot and see what you think. They are almost the definition of light reading and do get better as the series goes on.

You like Sci Fi, have you tried the Takashi Kovacs novels by Richard Morgan? Altered Carbon was great. Broken Angels and Woken Furies were less good but still worth reading. I loved, though, Altered Carbon and can recommend it without reservation.

I recently read The Tomb, first book in the Repairman Jack Series. The series has quite a dedicated following, and I liked the first book well enough to give the next books in the series a shot. It would also qualify as light, easy reading.

You mentioned liking Good Omens. I won't try and talk you back into Discworld right yet (though you should give it another go) but have you tried any of Neil Gaiman's other works? American Gods is a lot of fun, as is the follow up (not a sequel) Anansi Boys. Both have a similar feel to Good Omens, though they aren't as funny. His other works range in style, but those would be good starters, and I have yet to read anything of his that wasn't really good.

As for light, humorous stuff. How about Christopher Moore? Lamb is one of the funniest books I have ever read, Fluke and A Drity Job are both great, Fool is fantastic if you know anything about Shakespeare, and Bloodsucking Fiends is good and probably his most popular, but I didn't care for the sequels. He is another one where you could probably pick up any of his books and be happy, but personally I would start with Lamb or A Dirty Job
.


Ok, I think that's it for me for now.

Last edited by NAF1138; 10-19-2010 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:12 AM
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I am 3/4 through the 2nd (of the trilogy) Stieg Larsson novel.

The first, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", would definitely fit the bill of "light, but engaging". However, I will warn you that it starts out slow and disjointed (and you will find yourself wondering what all the hype is about). But after about the first 1/3, it turns into a page turner.

If you liked "Dragon Tattoo", then you will certainly enjoy the next, "The Girl Who Played with Fire". Starts out much better, and is definitely a page turner. It is a bit more conventional than the first, but enjoyable so far.

Though not "heavy", they do have the extra challenge of trying to "pronouce" all these swedish names/words.
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:19 AM
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A. Lee Martinez is the up-and-coming name in the light fantasy field. His Gil's All-Fright Diner is a delight (about a redneck vampire and werewolf teaming together) and Monster is amazingly good. I also liked In the Company of Ogres and A Nameless Witch. He's funny, but always manages to create a serious epic fantasy story behind everything. I'd put him up with Pratchett and Moore as one of the best of the genre.
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:28 AM
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We have some similarities in our reading likes. I, too, like the Mike Carey Felix Castor books and I, too, stopped reading the Martin books because I found them bleak. I, too, like Jane Austen and I, too, should like the Discworld books more than I do.

So, that said:

The Dresden books do improve as they progress, I think.

Fantasy or science fiction: I'd recommend Lois McMaster Bujold. Her Miles Vorkosigan books in sf and her Chalion books in fantasy, specifically.

Urban fantasists Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, and Carrie Vaughn are all more like each other than they are like Mike Carey (the most similar author to Carey for me is Butcher), but they fill a similar niche for my reading.

Mystery: If you like that sort of thing, Stephanie Barron has a mystery series with Jane Austen as the sleuth. I find them readable but not really super compelling.

I read a ton of mysteries and am not really sure where to start with recommending them. Do you have any specific interests in the mystery line?
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:29 AM
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<snip>Though not "heavy", they do have the extra challenge of trying to "pronouce" all these swedish names/words.
Glad it wasn't just me. I found the Swedish names in the first book almost offputting and was distracting me out of the story. By the time I read the second book it was much easier slug through the Swedish words. I'm looking forward to the last one.

Last edited by Ruby; 10-19-2010 at 11:30 AM. Reason: corrected coding
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Old 10-19-2010, 12:26 PM
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Thanks guys! Today's mission accomplished: I have three new paperbacks to occupy me. I'm lucky enough that I can often read while doing my "job" of supervising the children. I'll also use reading a chapter as a treat to bribe myself to do some laundry or something. I'm psyched to have new stuff.

I got the next Dresden novel - turns out I'd read #3, but I remember being prejudiced against it in the first chapter over a couple trivial research failures (e.g., the babies in the hospital nursery are all sleeping on their stomachs) and that may have made an otherwise OK book seem more obnoxious to me, so I'll give #4 a shot.

I also got The Tomb and Hiaasen's Basket Case. They look fun! I looked for several other titles mentioned, but they weren't evident. The Borders computer said The Enchanted Chocolate Pot was "likely in store," in four possible areas, but I couldn't turn it up in any of them. Anyway, I'm pretty sure I'll keep coming back to this thread and will read about everything recommended. You guys have done a good job extrapolating what I'll like.

For instance, Gaiman is one of my favorites. Anansi Boys is one of the best novels ever, IMHO, and is THE best audiobook. I also love Christopher Moore. One of the reasons I started the thread is I've misplaced my 2/3s finished copy of Island of the Sequined Love Nun. The Stupidest Angel is my favorite. I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and liked it quite a bit. I wasn't panting to read the next one, but I might. (The teaser chapter for the sequel seemed pretty horrifying - not sure I want to read about the subject matter.)

I read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies when it came out, and found it an amusing idea that didn't carry through to a full novel too well. I'm hoping it will be one of those movies that improves on the source material.

Now for mysteries. I've liked some Christie and loathed some. I enjoyed Brother Cadfael - in fact I should pick up some more of those. I tried Margaret Maron, and read at least one of the Temperance Brennan books and found them OK but too focused on the love lives and family drama of the detectives.

Thanks again, and keep 'em coming. As I said, I'm going to come back to this thread, and Paul in Qatar is looking for something too, so maybe some historical fiction rec's for him?
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Old 10-19-2010, 12:48 PM
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Have you read Prachett's Tiffany Aching novels - The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith and I Shall Wear Midnight? They're young adult, but very entertaining.
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Old 10-19-2010, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Unauthorized Cinnamon View Post
Thanks again, and keep 'em coming. As I said, I'm going to come back to this thread, and Paul in Qatar is looking for something too, so maybe some historical fiction rec's for him?
Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series - incredibly well-researched and told. A long investment - each volume is big - but incredibly immersive.
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Old 10-19-2010, 12:57 PM
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Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series - incredibly well-researched and told. A long investment - each volume is big - but incredibly immersive.
Those sound really neat. Is there any place in particular that you should start, or should I just grab a book and dive in?
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Old 10-19-2010, 01:26 PM
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For amusing historical fiction, I like the Marcus Didius Falco books, by Lindsey Davis. These are mysteries set in Ancient Rome during the reign of Vespasian. They're a fun read.

Also, the Amelia Peabody books - they're about an Englishwoman and her Egyptologist husband on archaeological expeditions in the late 19th/early 20th century. They're mystery/adventure/comedy, and very light reads.

The Flashman books, by George MacDonald Fraser, are a lot of fun. Flashman is a 19th-century British Army hero who's actually a coward and a scoundrel.
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Old 10-19-2010, 02:56 PM
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Those sound really neat. Is there any place in particular that you should start, or should I just grab a book and dive in?
The first one is The First Man in Rome, about the rise of Gaius Marius who ruled as Consul maybe 50 years before the emergence of Caesar. The books are chronological from there.

Do a search in this forum - they have a bit of a fan club here...
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Old 10-19-2010, 02:58 PM
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The first one is The First Man in Rome, about the rise of Gaius Marius who ruled as Consul maybe 50 years before the emergence of Caesar. The books are chronological from there.

Do a search in this forum - they have a bit of a fan club here...
Cool. Thanks. Don't know how I have missed them up until now.
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