Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Fun Books To Read

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Do you ever get distressed by how much things suck? Of course you do. Today, I'm here to solve that problem. We're talking about books to read if you want to mentally escape.

This was a hard list to make because I'm notorious for reading depressing, pretentious things. The stuff I read usually requires a lot of brain power and doesn't leave you with jolly feelings. The books on this list aren't completely frivolous. They tackle some difficult subjects, but they do it in ways that will make you smile.

Okay, let's escape.

😁  Escapist Books  🚀


Adult History Nonfiction


Have you ever wished you could live in an earlier, more romantic era?

Ladies, welcome to the 19th century, where there's arsenic in your face cream, a pot of cold pee sits under your bed, and all of your underwear is crotchless. (Why? Shush, dear. A lady doesn't question.)

Unmentionable is your hilarious, illustrated, scandalously honest (yet never crass) guide to the secrets of Victorian womanhood, giving you detailed advice on:

~ What to wear
~ Where to relieve yourself
~ How to conceal your loathsome addiction to menstruating
~ What to expect on your wedding night
~ How to be the perfect Victorian wife
~ Why masturbating will kill you
~ And more

Irresistibly charming, laugh-out-loud funny, and featuring nearly 200 images from Victorian publications, Unmentionable will inspire a whole new level of respect for Elizabeth Bennett, Scarlet O'Hara, Jane Eyre, and all of our great, great grandmothers.

(And it just might leave you feeling ecstatically grateful to live in an age of pants, super absorbency tampons, epidurals, anti-depressants, and not-dying-of-the-syphilis-your-husband-brought-home.)


Why you should read it: If you think modern life sucks, wait until you read about the Victorian era. I would have been a terrible Victorian woman! I need the Internet, flush toilets, and modern medicine. This book will make you laugh and make you roll your eyes at all the crap women have to deal with.


Buy it on Amazon


Young Adult Historical Fantasy

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult. Evie worries her uncle will discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer. As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho is hiding a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.


Why you should read it: I know the synopsis uses words like "murder" and "evil" and "serial killer," but you can (mostly) ignore those. This book is funny. It's full of loveable characters and 1920s slang. The characters have superpowers that can be used to defeat evil ghosts, but they have to stop partying long enough to use them.


Buy it on Amazon


Middle Grade Historical Fantasy

Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children: Alexander, age ten or thereabouts, keeps his siblings in line with gentle nips; Cassiopeia, perhaps four or five, has a bark that is (usually) worse than her bite; and Beowulf, age somewhere-in-the-middle, is alarmingly adept at chasing squirrels.

Luckily, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess. Only fifteen years old and a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, Penelope embraces the challenge of her new position. Though she is eager to instruct the children in Latin verbs and the proper use of globes, first she must help them overcome their canine tendencies.

But mysteries abound at Ashton Place: Who are these three wild creatures, and how did they come to live in the vast forests of the estate? Why does Old Timothy, the coachman, lurk around every corner? Will Penelope be able to teach the Incorrigibles table manners and socially useful phrases in time for Lady Constance's holiday ball? And what on earth is a schottische?

Why you should read it: The Mysterious Howling is book #1 of a completely addictive 6-book series. Even though I'm a very serious grownup, I loved reading about the "wolf children" and their quirky young governess. The series is packed with hilarious writing and mysteries to solve.

Buy it on Amazon


Adult History Nonfiction

They're lurking in museums, graveyards, and private homes around the world. Their stories have inspired countless horror movies, reality TV shows, campfire tales, books, and even chain emails. They're cursed objects, and in order to unleash a wave of misfortune, all they need . . . is you. As a culture, we can't seem to get enough of cursed objects. But never before have the true stories of these infamous real-life items been compiled into a fascinating and chilling volume.

Why you should read it: The book delivers exactly what the title promises. The author travels to museums and to the depths of the Internet to find "cursed" objects that are linked to death, destruction, or misfortune. The history of each object is told in 2-4 pages, which makes the book a quick read. The writing style is upbeat, and the objects are fascinating. It's obvious that the author is passionate about cursed objects and had a lot of fun researching their history. The curse stories are ridiculous and easily disproven by historical research, but they're fun in a spooky way.

Buy it on Amazon


Young Adult Contemporary Fiction

Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since kindergarten. And now, during their junior year, she’s finally available. So when Kiera volunteers for an opportunity at their church, Del’s right behind her. Though he quickly realizes he’s inadvertently signed up for a Purity Pledge.

His dad thinks his wires are crossed, and his best friend, Qwan, doesn’t believe any girl is worth the long game. But Del’s not about to lose his dream girl, and that’s where fellow pledger Jameer comes in. He can put in the good word. In exchange, Del just has to get answers to the Pledgers’ questions about sex ed.

With other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move fast. But as he plots and plans, he neglects to ask the most important question: What does Kiera want? He can’t think about that too much, though, because once he gets the girl, it’ll all sort itself out. Right?

Why you should read it: I had tons of fun reading this book. It’ll make you smile, and then it’ll make you cringe with second-hand embarrassment. The characters talk openly (and hilariously) about sex, and I wish every teenager had the opportunity to read it. I think it will encourage young adults to have conversations about consent and honesty in their relationships.

Buy it on Amazon


 Middle Grade Fantasy

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she's blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks—and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It's then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city's most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart—an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests—or she'll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.


Why you should read it: Magic curses! And monsters! And giant talking cats! I love this middle grade series. It reminds me of the excitement and happiness I felt while reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or Harry Potter as a kid. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, ridiculous, action-packed, and great for kids and adults who love fantasy. This is the epitome of magical escapist literature.


Buy it on Amazon


 Adult History Nonfiction

Discover 67 shocking-but-true medical misfires that run the gamut from bizarre to deadly. Like when doctors prescribed morphine for crying infants. When snorting skull moss was a cure for a bloody nose. When consuming mail-order tapeworms was a latter-day fad diet. Or when snake oil salesmen peddled strychnine (used in rat poison) as an aphrodisiac in the '60s. Seamlessly combining macabre humor with hard science and compelling storytelling, Quackery is a visually rich and information-packed exploration of history's most outlandish cures, experiments, and scams.


Why you should read it: If you’re looking for something educational, gross, and hilarious, this is the book for you. The history of medicine is a gruesome topic, but the authors make it bearable with their lively writing style. This is definitely not a dry academic text. I laughed while reading it. The hardcover edition is surprisingly beautiful with glossy pages and colorful graphics. It would make an excellent gift for a strange person.


Buy it on Amazon


Young Adult Paranormal Fiction

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

Why you should read it: There’s a sweet love story and a compelling murder mystery. It’s all highly entertaining. I couldn't put it down. It's the kind of story that I wish had been around when I was a kid in search of delightful, creepy stuff. It's fast-paced and funny.


Buy it on Amazon


Adult Fantasy


Orphaned, raised by wolves, and the proud owner of a horned pig named Merlin, Weylyn Grey knew he wasn’t like other people. But when he single-handedly stopped that tornado on a stormy Christmas day in Oklahoma, he realized just how different he actually was.

That tornado was the first of many strange events that seem to follow Weylyn from town to town, although he doesn’t like to take credit. As amazing as these powers may appear, they tend to manifest themselves at inopportune times and places. From freak storms to trees that appear to grow over night, Weylyn’s unique abilities are a curiosity at best and at worst, a danger to himself and the woman he loves. But Mary doesn’t care. Since Weylyn saved her from an angry wolf on her eleventh birthday, she’s known that a relationship with him isn’t without its risks, but as anyone who’s met Weylyn will tell you, once he wanders into your life, you’ll wish he’d never leave.


Why you should read it: If you’ve ever read a Fredrik Backman book and thought, I wish this guy wrote fantasy, then you need to pick up Beasts Of Extraordinary Circumstance. It’s a quirky love story about adorable weirdos. And deadly animals. And (un)natural disasters. It’s imaginative and sweet. The light tone reminds me of middle grade fantasy, but with adult characters who have grownup problems. I enjoyed every second of it.


Buy it on Amazon

Orange World And Other Stories By Karen Russell

Adult Fantasy Short Story Collection

Karen Russell's comedic genius and mesmerizing talent for creating outlandish predicaments that uncannily mirror our inner lives is on full display in these eight exuberant, arrestingly vivid, unforgettable stories. In "Bog Girl", a revelatory story about first love, a young man falls in love with a two-thousand-year-old girl that he's extracted from a mass of peat in a Northern European bog. In "The Prospectors," two opportunistic young women fleeing the depression strike out for new territory and find themselves fighting for their lives. In the brilliant, hilarious title story, a new mother desperate to ensure her infant's safety strikes a diabolical deal, agreeing to breastfeed the devil in exchange for his protection. The landscape in which these stories unfold is a feral, slippery, purgatorial space, bracketed by the void—yet within it Russell captures the exquisite beauty and tenderness of ordinary life.

Why you should read it: Karen Russell's stories are both hilarious and horrifying. If you like fantasy but think you don't like short stories, you should give her work a try. You might change your mind. She's currently my favorite short story writer because I'm in awe of her creativity and how she sees connections between random things. Her stories always start out bizarre, and I'm not sure where they're going, but then everything snaps together in the end, and I suddenly understand. It's brilliant.

Do you want more fun books to read? I have another list!

Recommend some fun books to me!


  1. Unmentionable was such a good read!

    My post: https://lydiaschoch.com/top-ten-tuesday-comfort-reads/

  2. I loved Quackery! And Cursed Objects. :) My TTT: https://www.mwgerard.com/top-ten-tuesday-comfort-reads/

  3. I loved The Diviners, such a fun series!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2022/05/31/top-ten-tuesday-370/

  4. Cursed Objects is on my TBR, I really need to get to it!

  5. I need to read Karen Russell. Several people have recommended her short stories. My go to happy writers are Rick Bragg, Carl Hiaasen, Sarah Vowell, Garrison Keillor. I do like humor at such times.

  6. I loved Cemetery Boys and completely agree it's a fun comfort read! The Diviners has been on my TBR for a while and I'm happy to hear it's a fun read. Also, Unmentionable sounds absolutely hilarious!

  7. Yay for escapism! Oh my gosh though- the Victorian era. So fun to read about, but in reality? No. "a pot of cold pee" that made me laugh...

  8. I really love The Diviners. I need to continue on with the series. I haven't even looked at the other books in the series yet.

  9. Unmentionable does sound interesting! Here is our Top Ten Tuesday. Thank you!

  10. These all look good. I had not heard of Unmentionable before, and I now want to read it so badly!!

  11. I laughed when I read your intro because I was thinking exactly what you wrote, but I was excited to see your list. You are one of the only people who ever mentions Giles' book, and it was SOOO GOOD! It makes me happy that it made your list.

  12. You've read Beasts of Extraordinary circumstance - I love you!! Oh I loved that book so much. And Nevermoor.... AAAAHH!!! I feel better already. I will take a look at the rest of your books as well and see how life just gets better with the turn of every page.

    Elza Reads

  13. Loved Nevermoor and The Diviners!

    Lauren @ www.shootingstarsmag.net

  14. Okay these sound wonderful! I really need some books in my life that are fun, but with substance, and it sounds like every one of these fits the bill. I am definitely going to need Unmentionable, Quackery, Cemetery Boys, and Beasts in my life- they ALL sound like my sort of book! Thanks for this list!

  15. These all sound so good! I have Nevermoor on my tbr shelf and am really looking forward to it.

  16. UNMENTIONABLE sounds hilarious! I never would have picked that one up, but you've definitely made me want to read it.