Lowell Reading Club: Light Reads Edition

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It’s hard to escape serious commentary today with discussion about COVID-19 and economic hardships dominating social media and the news. While it’s good to be informed, we all need a break occasionally from the 24/7 cycle of seriousness. For this month’s reading club, we’ve selected some favorite titles that provide lighter reading for when you need an escape from reality.

Amanda’s Light Reads

Penguins with People Problems by Mary Laura Philpott
5 out of 5 stars

This is a quick read in one sitting. But it’s worth it. Simple drawings of penguins illustrate how they deal with people problems. Most should be able to relate to at least one of the issues demonstrated in Penguins with People Problems. I found myself laughing out loud at some drawings and have gone back to look through the book again a few times.

Notes from a Public Typewriter by Michael Gustafson (Editor), Oliver Uberti (Design)
5 out of 5 stars

Put together by a 2001 Lowell High School graduate, this book contains notes left on a public typewriter at the editor’s book store Literati in Ann Arbor. Gustafson did not know what would happen if he left a typewriter out for those who visit the store to leave notes at their leisure. Notes from a Public Typewriter contains some of the thousands of notes left. The book is filled with funny, serious, and even some heartbreaking messages left by strangers on a typewriter.

Maryalene’s Light Reads

Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge
5 out of 5 stars

This was one of my recent quarantine reads, and I found it to be surprisingly funny. I debated whether to include it here, though, because it takes a decidedly unfunny turn at the end. However, it was such a quick and enjoyable story overall that I’m going to give it my nod as a light read for this month.

Castle of Water revolves around two castaways on a small speck of an island in the Pacific Ocean. The man and woman are the sole survivors from a small plane crash, and the story centers on how they – strangers at the beginning – build a rather satisfying existence in the face these dire circumstances.

The majority of this book is light and airy, but there are a couple sections that might be troublesome to readers who are sensitive to themes of loss and death. If you need to take a pass on this one, I have a couple other suggestions for you to try.

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
5 out of 5 stars

I might be walking into dangerous territory here because this is a book I read more than 20 years ago. We’ve all had the experience of going back to a beloved book or movie and discovering it isn’t exactly what we remember. I hope that won’t be the case with A Year in Provence.

Twenty-odd years ago, I was a college student spending a semester in Riga, Latvia, and Peter Mayle’s adventures of being a stranger in a foreign country had me laughing until I cried. Hopefully, that wasn’t just because I could very much relate to his tales of navigating a new land.

Some of the reviews of this book on GoodReads are harsh so I hope I am not leading you astray. If you read it, let me know what you think.

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
5 out of 5 stars

You really can’t get a lighter read than a fluffy teen romance. Here’s what I posted on GoodReads about The Fill-In Boyfriend:

I feel like I’m going to lose my street cred as a serious reader by admitting this, but I totally thought this book was the bees knees (do people still say that?). So sweet and funny and so so so refreshing to read a book where no one is dying, no one is terminally ill, no one is being abused, etc. The biggest conflict is the main character trying to work her way around a relatively harmless lie she tells at the beginning. (Although I do realize that’s a fairly high stakes scenario when you’re a teen.)

One of the best things about this book is that it’s solidly PG — maybe even G rated. So many YA books, in their pursuit of being “gritty” and “real,” pepper the story with adult language and situations. None of that here. I wouldn’t have a problem recommending this to teens of any age.

What about you? Do you have a favorite book about love? Share your pick in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

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