I was recently asked by a friend for a book recommendation, and upon asking for a slight clarification as to what they were looking for, I was told “a candy book.” I.E. what I would call a “fluff read,” and might be a “beach read” to some. My requester was a grad student looking for a break from their scholarly texts, and I figured they couldn’t be the only person in this situation. High schools and colleges all over are wrapping up for the year, and even those of us no longer in school might want something light to read outdoors in the spring weather before summer brings on a 100+ degree humid sweat-fest. At least, that’s what looming for where I live. So whatever your life situation, if you’re looking for something fun and fluffy and “candy,” here are my picks.
Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made | Stephen Pastis
I have a full review of this book here, but the quick sum-up is this: Timmy Failure thinks he is the world’s greatest detective. He is most definitely not. Combine a lovable, oblivious protagonist with adorable illustrations and a polar bear sidekick, this (and its subsequent sequels) is a perfect brain break book that can easily be read in an afternoon.
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists | Gideon Defoe
A bumbling pirate crew goes on a London adventure to rescue Charles Darwin’s kidnapped brother. At only 90-ish pages, it’s a quick read that is jam-packed with eccentric humor in every sentence. In case you’re wondering, that is a ham on the cover – the pirates love ham and can’t properly enjoy an adventure without it. It has a very similar style to Timmy Failure, but with some slightly more adult jokes. And in case you want more, than are also installments about their adventures with whaling, Napoleon, the Romantics and communists.
Nimona | Noelle Stevenson
Nimona started as a web comic before being printed as a graphic novel in 2015 and proceeding to be nominated for a whole schlep of awards. Shapeshifter Nimona appoints herself sidekick to supervillain Lord Ballister Blackheart, who is out to prove that the “good guys” are anything but. This includes his former best friend and current arch nemesis Ambrosius Goldenloin. Silly and funny and full of heart, Nimona is a winner both in visuals and story.
Ranger’s Apprentice: Ruins of Gorlon | John Flanagan
Young orphan Will is apprenticed to Ranger Halt, an Aragorn-esque figure and elite protector of the kingdom. I’d classify it as fantasy and not technically humor, but this series possesses a dry wit that makes it extremely entertaining to read, especially the dialogue. With a great story and great characters, this is the first of the bestselling series, though it can stand alone well enough if you’re not immediately looking to commit to 12 books of awesomeness. Don’t know why you wouldn’t be, though!
Anything by Brian Selznick
Brian Selznick has three books that are approximately the size of bricks: The Invention of Hugo Cabaret, Wonderstruck and The Marvels. They can all be read in a few short hours, though, since they tell their stories through illustration as well as text, sometimes dozens of pages at a time. The alternating words and art make this a distinctly different reading experience, and though the stories may not be “fluffy,” per se, you can get lost in the beautiful illustrations for a nice change of pace.
Croak | Gina Damico
I recently did a full review of Croak here, but here’s the gist of it: reckless delinquent child Lex is brought to Croak by her crazy uncle, where she begins to train as a grim reaper. It sounds morbid, but is actually extremely funny and irreverent. The sequels are equally good, and even when Lex gets pulled onto a dark and destructive path, the series never loses the snappy humor of the first.
What’s your pick for a candy book? Share your fluffy reading love in the comments!