light reading suggestions
April 20, 2017 1:00 PM   Subscribe

i've been spending an inordinate amount of time in medical waiting/exams rooms lately because reasons. in many places cell phone use is disallowed. please recommend some lighthearted reading selections that will help the boredom and also take my mind off the situation. short story collections would be especially welcome.
posted by lescour to Media & Arts (23 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
David Sedaris' Naked and Me Talk Pretty One Day are delightful.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 1:14 PM on April 20 [5 favorites]

I've been spending a lot of time in waiting rooms, and the series The Number One Ladies Detective Agency has been great. I'm getting a little bored with it now, but that's after seven months.
posted by FencingGal at 1:20 PM on April 20 [3 favorites]

If you want light and fun it's hard to beat P.G. Wodehouse's Wooster and Jeeves novels. Maybe start with Code of the Woosters . The order you read these novels really really doesn't matter.
posted by gregr at 1:21 PM on April 20 [16 favorites]

It would help to know what kind of stuff you like to read. My first thought was The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, which is heartwarming and feel-good and very episodic. But if you're not into sci-fi it won't be your thing.

On preview, seconding FencingGal and gregr.
posted by gideonfrog at 1:23 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]

I always recommend Vonnegut when somebody's looking for some lighter reading, and so do so again. He's got some short stories too, but even his novels are mostly pretty easy reading. On preview, Wodehouse is great.

Seconding Sedaris, and in that vein (and, actually Wodehouse, conveniently enough*) will recommend Jonathan Ames's story collections: What's Not to Love?, My Less Than Secret Life, I Love You More Than You Know, The Double Life Is Twice As Good.

* One of his novels is an homage to Wodehouse. It's also great.
posted by General Malaise at 1:24 PM on April 20

Jean Shepherd would be my go-to writer for such. He wrote the stories that the movie "A Christmas Story" was based on.
posted by BillMcMurdo at 1:28 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]

Stuart Mclean's Vinyl cafe books are perfect pick me ups. . Homey, warm, funny.

Peter Gzowski is similar and also excellent
posted by Ftsqg at 1:35 PM on April 20 [2 favorites]

Nthing Wodehouse, but to say that if you do begin to read his stories, please don't just limit yourself to Jeeves and Wooster. Wodehouse's collective cast of characters are all delightfully quirky and interesting!
posted by Everydayville at 1:45 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett is a hoot.
posted by Gymnopedist at 1:52 PM on April 20 [3 favorites]

Roald Dahl has a few collections of short stories for adults that are very fun.

The Cyberiad and I, Robot are both classics that even people not in to sci-fi often enjoy, they are both sort of like collections of short stories that also hold together when considered as a complete work, but it's fine to read just a few bits because they are self contained.
posted by SaltySalticid at 1:55 PM on April 20

Any of Carl Hiaasen's comic thrillers. You don't even have to worry about continuity, as the plot really isn't the point. To see if it's to your taste, here's an excerpt from his most recent.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 1:56 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome. Light hearted and super hilarious. It's about time for me to reread it.
posted by peacheater at 2:10 PM on April 20 [3 favorites]

Tina Fey Bossypants
Jenny Lawson Let's Pretend This Never Happened

I'm laughing just thinking about how much laughing I did while reading these books.
posted by pjsky at 2:44 PM on April 20

Tom Wolfe's "Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers", also, his "The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby"

Vonnegut's "Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons"

Dave Barry?
posted by at at 3:12 PM on April 20

I like Karen Russell and Kelly Link's short stories a lot. Both are a little dark, but often funny.

Discworld is made up of full-length novels, but they're (for the most part) so light that they feel more like reading a short story collection. Definitely not for everyone, but, if you're up for jokey fantasy novels, they'd be a good choice.
posted by snaw at 3:29 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]

I loved this collection of short stories by Swanwick. Lots of humor, great storytelling and he has a ridiculously incredible imagination.
posted by zzazazz at 4:16 PM on April 20

Seconding Good Omens and Discworld.

For comfort reading, I also love revisiting YA books such as Chronicles of Narnia or the works of Madeleine L'Engle.
posted by bunderful at 5:52 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]

I am just this week reading Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham on the subway, so if you liked Gilmore Girls or Parenthood at all, I highly recommend it. It's fluffy, but charming, and easy to read.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 6:10 PM on April 20

I'd reccomend Tibetan Peach Pie by Tom Robbins. It's his autobiography, and is both highly amusing and easy to read. You won't want to put it down, but because each chapter is a different story, it's easy to read in segments.
If you're into something not as light-hearted Joe Hill's 20th Century Ghosts is also fantastic.
posted by Champagne Supernova at 6:26 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]

If you like sci fi at all, I strongly recommend John Scalzi's recent short story collection Miniatures. All of the stories are *very* short (perfect for waiting rooms), expertly crafted, and hilarious. I spent a lot of time cackling while reading the collection.

I also nth P. G. Wodehouse, Jerome K. Jerome, Terry Pratchett, and Becky Chambers (The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet).

Good luck!
posted by bananacabana at 7:34 PM on April 20

It may be old school, but Agatha Christie mysteries are really very good and hold up well despite the passage of time and the emergence of edgier mystery genres like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

You could also try James Herriot's books if you're into animal stories, or books by Bill Bryson, notably A Walk in the Woods or A Short History of Nearly Everything. James Herriot is very feel-good and comforting, at least for me, and Bill Bryson is often hilarious as well as informative.

Or you could try Desiree by Annemarie Selinko, which fictionally and in a light way, tells the story of the woman Napoleon was engaged too prior to marrying Josephine.

And finally, if you haven't read it and have time and patience for a huge novel, try Gone With the Wind. Way, way, way better than the movie, and the movie is by no means bad. It just cleans up and leaves out a lot of what makes the book so engrossing and so good.

Hope that helps!
posted by Crystal Fox at 8:26 PM on April 20

If you like P.G. Wodehouse, you'll also like stories by Saki!
posted by metaseeker at 10:49 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]

Any chance your library has Calvin and Hobbes anthologies? They're not as easy to hold as paperbacks, but the content might be the perfect fit for this kind of situation.
posted by kristi at 1:12 PM on April 24

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