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Bernard's avatar

Looking for some light books to read, more details within.

Asked by Bernard (557points) April 12th, 2010

I’m looking for suggestions for some light books to read, some science fiction preferably. Absolutely not interested in murder mysteries, romance, cooking/cleaning/gardening/diet. Other than that, I think most things are fair game. I’ve got a nice big well-stocked Barnes & Noble nearby, as well as a decent public library.
I don’t want books that require me to spend the whole day uninterrupted reading. Not do I want ones that I’d lose a whole day to.

My situation is that I’ll be taking the bus/train 8 times a week (4 days, but round-trip), ~30 minute rides each way, plus whatever time spent waiting for the bus or train to pick me up. And I need something other than tapping my feet to the beat on my mp3 player.
So I’m looking towards books. I’ve never been a big reader. My favorite book series, though, has been the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (which I am in the process of re-reading).

So if anyone could suggest any good books like that, or any greats from the Science Fiction genre, I’d love to hear see it!

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31 Answers

lawlipop's avatar

You could read The Stranger by Albert Camus. I’ve always liked that book.
Or you could read a short story, like The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It’s excellent, and pretty creepy.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Give “Incandescence” by Greg Egan (Hard SF) a try, I was reading that while working out. It was engaging but not to the point where I couldn’t put it down and the chapters were fairly equal in length making it easier to gauge whether or not you want to stop or keep going. Another is Iain M. Banks “Against A Dark Background” I haven’t finished it yet, still plugging away along with the the other two books I’m reading, it’s been pretty interesting yet easy to put down when needed; likewise was “Under the Dome” by Stephen King (finished a few months ago). Oh and maybe “The Strain” by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo Del Toro – that one paced pretty well with natural chapter stops.

Hope that helps!

Trillian's avatar

Piers Anthony has several great series. They’re more fantasy than sci-fi but light and enjoyable reads. If you liked HHG, you’ll probably like the Xanth series and the Incarnations of Immortality, both by Piers Anthony.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Read Heinlein. Start anywhere.

squidcake's avatar

My sister is really into Orson Scott Card’s books. Especially Ender’s Game. She says they’re an easy read.

If you want really light reading, there’s Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and its sequel Catching Fire.The third book is coming out this summer. I say really light because it’s meant for “young adults.” But the nice thing is, it’s a really captivating story (unlike some young adult books out there). I usually read higher-level books but I got addicted to that series easily.

I’m starting to get into reading Neil Gaiman (he’s famous for writing Stardust and Coraline.) He co-wrote a book called Good Omens that is fantastic and hilarious, and at the moment I’m reading a book by him called American Gods. It’s all sort of modern fantasy/science fiction.

PacificToast's avatar

The Time Machine by H.G. Welles is cool. Also Nightlight, a parody of Twilight is hilarious.The City of Ember series has a low reading level, but is still really good. Try The Graveyard Book by Niel Gaiman.

anartist's avatar

@squidcake read the Ender series in order or you will miss a lot. Ender’s Game was first. Read the sciFi/fantasy work of Ursula K LeGuin daughter of anthropologist Alfred L. Kroeber One great work is The Left Hand of Darkness.

Read the Depford Trilogy by Robertson Davies. Not sciFi but fantastical and thoroughly engaging.

Read McDonald’s The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything. The read Heinlein’s Door Into Summer. Then compare.

squidcake's avatar

@anartist
I read a book of short stories by Ursula K. LeGuin and I was hooked! I had The Left Hand of Darkness sitting, collecting dust in my B&N online shopping cart. I guess I never got around to ordering it…
So, thanks for reminding me!

aprilsimnel's avatar

Get some Terry Pratchett. He’s really good.

Seek's avatar

Great light reading in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi genre are the “Elric saga” by Michael Moorcock.

Very light, very easy, but absolutely addicting. There are six books in the main series, and later on some side stories that Moorcock published separately were put into two editions. All of the books are under 200 pages, except Stormbringer, which is just a little longer.

Elric of Melniboné
The Sailor on the Seas of Fate
The Weird of the White Wolf
The Sleeping Sorceress
The Bane of the Black Sword
Stormbringer

My own little synopsis:
Elric is heir to the throne of the Melnibonean empire, and an albino who requires a constant supply of drugs to keep him strong. His throne is usurped by his cousin Yyrkoon, and he takes off to find adventure. He finds Stormbringer, a rune-sword that gives him strength as it drinks the souls of his enemies.

Supacase's avatar

Very light reading along those lines is the Wake series by Lisa McMann. There are three books, Wake, Fade, and Gone. I read Gone in three or four hours yesterday. I would not call them great, but they were entertaining enough.

The Hunger Games, as someone else suggested, is a great read. It isn’t anything so deep you can’t pick it up and put it down as needed.

Jeruba's avatar

Ha ha, @lawlipop. Light reading indeed!

anartist's avatar

If you like vampire fiction that is actually well-written try the Charlie Huston books, Already Dead and No Dominion

lawlipop's avatar

@Jeruba Haha, yeah. But they’re both still pretty excellent pieces of literature.

downtide's avatar

“Space Captain Smith” by Toby Frost. very light, very funny, lots of pop culture references to other science fiction. I just read this last week.

Jules Verne. You might think that being written about 150 years ago it would be a hard slog but it’s not at all. And Verne is the grandfather of science fiction.

Blueroses's avatar

As others did, I would also recommend, Piers Anthony (I prefer Adept series, more SciFi to Xanth, more Fantasy), Terry Pratchett (Try the first Truckers book, if you like Douglas Adams style. A lot of people like the Discworld series), Neil Gaiman (You really can’t go wrong with any).

There are some great Ray Bradbury short story collections – Classic Stories _ and _A Medicine for Melancholy that are well written and easy to finish during your commute time.

ZAGWRITER's avatar

I know they are not science fiction, but “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway “Siddhartha” by Herman Hesse are very good, and very quick reads.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@lawlipop : I’m with @Jeruba on this…Daviea as light? But you’re right, excellent.

@Bernard : Larry Niven, and Niven and Pournelle collaberations.

tranquilsea's avatar

Robin Hobb’s ship series wasn’t bad

I second Terry Pratchett’s books. I can’t remember a book in recent memory that had me laughing out loud like Mort

Robert Asprin wrote a series of books that starts with Another Fine Myth that are filled with puns and are very quick reads.

Raymond Feist wrote a series of books that start with Magician: Apprentice that you may want to check out.

perg's avatar

It’s not science fiction, but I fell in love with PG Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster series by reading it on the subway. The stories are just long enough and they’re funny.

flutherother's avatar

You might like Jack Vance. He writes fantasy rather than science fiction. The Eyes of the Overworld is a good place to start

JilltheTooth's avatar

Spider Robinson is always a good time.

Kardamom's avatar

I don’t read much science fiction, but since you mentioned the Hitchhikers Guide, I think you might enjoy some of the humorous short stories by David Sedaris, like “Me Talk Pretty One Day” “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim” and “Holidays On Ice”

Another good author is Bill Bryson. He mostly writes light hearted, humorous short stories about travel. I would suggest “A Walk in the Woods” “At Home” “I’m a Stranger Here Myself”

And this one, also by Bill Bryson, is actually a funny, but informative take on science called “A Short History of Nearly Everything.”

GracieT's avatar

I laughed until I cried with “Me Talk Pretty One Day”. I also adored “Ender’s Game”, and both the Adept and the Xanth Series. Bill Bryson is also
another I love, but I would
suggest reading “Mother’s
Tongue” to the list. I haven’t
read some of the others,
though. Because I’m always
looking for more things to read
I’ll have to check them out. Thanks!

lloydbird's avatar

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

downtide's avatar

@lloydbird That book is set fairly close to where I live and I know many of the places in it.

lloydbird's avatar

@downtide So it is. I’ve visited some of the locations, Alderley Edge especially.

augustlan's avatar

Anything by David Sedaris (particularly Me Talk Pretty One Day). And I really, really loved Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.

Blueroses's avatar

@augustlan Those are two of my favorites! Have you seen the readings of The Graveyard Book ?

augustlan's avatar

@Blueroses Ooh, no I hadn’t! Thanks for the link. :)

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