Easy Reads: 9 Light Reads to Pick Up When Life Gets Hard
Ever feel like some days, the world is stressful enough that you only want “fluffy” entertainment? After the last list of books about families and generational sagas and this about thrillers, we’re ready for some light reading. If you’re only looking for the movers and shakers of literature, this may not be the post for you.
Still, I’m a firm believer in the fact that there’s a place for lighter books in everyone’s life. While some of these books may be predictable, you’re sure to blast through them and get the warm fuzzies right (or at least a satisfied feeling) after. A few of these books are young adult novels—it doesn’t get lighter than that.
If you’re up for some travel and mystery:
Ayesha and her friends Sara and Jess jump at the chance of accompanying Ayesha's uncle on a trip from Australia to Istanbul. But when Ayesha discovers a mysterious note as a result of visiting an old bookshop, their relaxing holiday starts to get a whole lot more complicated!
Ayesha finds herself trying to uncover a hundred-year-old Ibn Arabi mystery, while trying to avoid creepy villains, and still making sure that she gets to eat the best doner kebab Istanbul has to offer. This one is the first in a series and pretty cheap on Kindle and I have it downloaded on Scribd too.
For some humor and a peek into the Muslim dating scene:
Unlucky in love once again after her possible-marriage-partner-to-be proves a little too close to his parents, Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good. Or at least she was, until her boss persuades her to write a tell-all expose about the Muslim dating scene.
As her woes become her work, Sofia must lean on the support of her brilliant friends, baffled colleagues and baffling parents as she goes in search of stories for her book. This book is full of funny stories with a dash of the immigrant experience in the UK.
A sweeping story of self-discovery:
A contemporary, multicultural novel that tells the story of Faye Bonsu, a pasta-loving, underachieving PA whose upbringing in leafy Hampstead, London has given her little opportunity to understand her African heritage. Her less than successful attempts to be seen as more than a cultural lightweight take Faye on a journey back to her native Ghana, where she finds love, culture galore and the confidence to fulfil her potential.
I’ve heard a ton about this book and I’m looking forward to reading it soon. Some readers have said that it has a slow build up, so keep that in mind.
If you like a Hallmark style mystery:
The last place Lana Lee thought she would ever end up is back at her family’s restaurant. But after a brutal break-up and a dramatic workplace walk-out, she figures that a return to the Cleveland area to help wait tables is her best option for putting her life back together. Even if that means having to put up with her mother, who is dead-set on finding her a husband.
Lana’s love life soon becomes yesterday’s news once the restaurant’s property manager, Mr. Feng, turns up dead―after a delivery of shrimp dumplings from Ho-Lee. But how could this have happened when everyone on staff knew about Mr. Feng’s severe, life-threatening shellfish allergy? Now, with the whole restaurant under suspicion for murder and the local media in a feeding frenzy, it’s up to Lana to find out who is behind Feng’s killer order.
I read this in one sitting—I love cosy mysteries, and all the yummy food in this one!
What would you do if you lost the last ten years of your life?
Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.
So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over—she’s getting divorced, she has three kids and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes.
Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over. This story was both hilarious and thought-provoking.
For a hilarious tale of keeping up with the Joneses:
Anil Kumar Jha has worked hard and is ready to live well. After thirty years in a modest flat, he and his family are moving to Gurgaon, one of Delhi's richest areas. But his wife, Bindu, is heartbroken about leaving their neighbours, and doesn't want to wear designer saris or understand interior decoration. Meanwhile their son, Rupak, is failing business school in the US – and secretly dating an American girl.
Once installed in their mansion, the Jhas are soon drawn into a feverish game of one-upmanship with their new neighbours, the Chopras, as each couple seeks to outdo the other with increasingly lavish displays of wealth. This story set in India is the best kind of comedic relief!
First love reignited:
Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.
But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother...only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.
This story is told in alternating timelines as Elliot comes to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.
Falling in love with a stranger:
Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?
It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.
In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?
The one that everyone loved:
This book was all over bookstagram! Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn't exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there's a moment of pure magic...and then her bus drives away.
Certain they're fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn't find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they "reunite" at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It's Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.
I learned two things compiling this list: 1) light reads seem to mean romance for many people. 2) it’s almost impossible to find light reads by Black and African writers. Why? Which light reads do you enjoy? Do you lean toward cosy mysteries or romance? Any picks by African authors? I’d love to hear!