Much like I talked about in C is for there’s a time an a place for most sorts of book. I have a particular fondness for what I call ‘Easy Reading.’
You could call it ‘chick lit’, although I think that limits the field somewhat genre wise, or ‘beach reads’ (do we really have to be on a beach to enjoy something undemanding?) but it all boils down to the same sort of thing: fiction that doesn’t push any boundaries, doesn’t set out to win awards, doesn’t keep you up at night thinking about it. Something that’s just pleasant, enjoyable and easy to read.
I’m a huge fan of Mary Hooper and I think she definitely falls into this category. Though she writes about some historical periods that were full of challenges and perils, you never really feel that the characters are unsafe. They have some bad experiences, but there’s always a happy ending just around the corner – true love, happy families and even elevation from rags to riches.
Books that take you away from the world for a little while into one that makes sense – where good things happen to good people and love always wins – is perfect for those moments when you’ve had a bad day, or the weather’s bad, or you’re missing someone.
Or, alternatively, to cleanse your reading palate after finishing something huge and epic and thought provoking. When you get a book hangover from reading something a la Game of Thrones, I always find reading something that you know is going to be easy going and fun is the perfect antidote. It doesn’t matter if your head is still in Westeros, because you aren’t going to have to think to hard about it after all.
And ultimately, if the book is a good easy read, it’s not going to take you long to get through. There’s something very satisfying about finishing a book in my view, especially so if you’ve been reading an 800 page epic that’s taken you months. Transitioning from that sort of challenge to something that’s going to go from beginning through middle to end in the space of two hours reading is such a nice feeling, and helps me to keep my reading momentum up.