The Art of the Fun Book
Some books are extremely emotionally draining. Other books are just extremely long. There are also ones that are just extremely bad but that you have to read anyway (school, work). If I’ve read any or several of those back to back, I lose my drive to read. They make my brain hurt. And the perfect cure for book-induced brain-hurt is the fun book.
What do you mean by fun book, you might ask. Well, a fun book satisfies most of these conditions:
- It’s short
- It’s light
- It leaves you with a feeling of mild entertainment
- It doesn’t pull on your heartstrings too much
- Its plot isn’t hard to follow
- Its characters aren’t too complex but likeable
- Its writing is easy to follow and not too descriptive
A fun book is the kind of book you just love to pick up between chores or homework, the kind of book you can just easily dive into and out of. It cleanses your book-palate, and creates room for the next long or difficult read. I’ve been reading a lot lately (15+ books a month), and these fun books are life-savers. The fun book isn’t very memorable, and usually doesn’t score very high on a rating scale, but it has its own merits and is necessary in a way.
Of the fun books I’ve been reading lately, the Selection series spans the crown (see what I did there?) In many ways, these books are the pinnacle of the fun book. They’re quick, have short chapters, are written in an easy style, and have a mix of romance, angst, action and just the smidge of worldbuilding. I devoured all three of them in quick succession – something I rarely ever do. Did I swoon over the love interests? Nope. Was I blown away by the brilliant plot twists and the amazing worldbuilding? Hell no. But that’s not why I read them. I wanted to be entertained, and it was completely worth it.
Fun books aren’t limited to certain genres. I also quite enjoy some scary fun books, like White Crow and Asylum. Because of their higher thrill factors these books are somewhat harder to put down, especially towards the endings, but they fit my conditions very well. White Crow had the added benefit of POV changes, something I love when using books as a homework break. A POV switch is a natural stopping place, a break in the action. Asylum gave me the creepers but never went into full scary mode, and after finishing it I was ready to take on The Unbearable Lightness of Being, a dense literary fiction book for school.
In the span of one day I finished a Jane Austen book and some hard-core French pessimist literary guy book, and I just needed a breather desperately. So I picked up House of Ivy & Sorrow yesterday, and it’s perfect for my mood. I’m becoming skilled at finding those books that other people disliked for being too shallow or juvenile, and using them to easy my mind. There is something very relaxing in reading a fun book.
So, tell me. What do you read when you’ve had a few particularly dense books? What is your opinion on my definition of fun books? Let’s discuss!