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Need recommendations for funny or absorbing but not too demanding reads for a hospital stay

(51 Posts)
MrsJohnDeere Sat 23-Feb-13 15:40:45

Nothing about babies/birth or cancer or death.

Not a fan of chick lit but not really likely to be in the mood for some tricky magic realism type literature either.

Authors I love (but have read all of) include Anne Tyler, Margaret Atwood, Iain Banks, Bill Bryson. Have read lots of Scandi crime stuff recently too.

Authors I can't get on with include Thomas Hardy, John Irving, and I thought that The Help and One Day were absolute drivel. No sci-fi.

difficultpickle Sat 23-Feb-13 21:06:56

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. Best book I have read in years and totally absorbing.

difficultpickle Sat 23-Feb-13 21:07:45

Sorry just saw you mentioned nothing about babies so scrap my choice.

Phineyj Sat 23-Feb-13 21:14:53

The Ukrainian Tractor book is by Marina Lewycka. All of hers are great, although you will drive the other patients crackers with your giggling. Cold Comfort Farm and The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin are two other comic novels I can read and re-read. I also like Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next books, but I'm sure people must love them or hate them.

I discovered Tony Hillerman's crime thrillers a year or two back. They're set in Navajo country in America & are really well written and gripping, and give such a good sense of place it's almost like a free holiday (plus it doesn't matter which order you read them in). Josephine Tey's 1930s and 1940s mysteries have also recently been reissued and are very enjoyable. Dorothy L. Sayers?

As you like Margaret Attwood, how about Margaret Laurence? Another Canadian writer, although not as well known.

Paul Theroux, as you like travel writing?

Graham Greene -- Our Man in Havana, for instance?

meditrina Sat 23-Feb-13 21:19:45

Does the ban on death include nice soothing murders?

If not, try Dan Aaronovitch (the supernatural branch of the Met Police) or Elizabeth Peters' Peabody series (Eyptological murders) or Vicky Bliss series.

amidaiwish Sat 23-Feb-13 21:23:51

I loved The Help!
Anyway, I left my tent in San Francisco is a great funny read.

amidaiwish Sat 23-Feb-13 21:24:22

Oh and Agassi autobiog "open" is fantastic.

NotAnotherPackedLunch Sat 23-Feb-13 21:28:04

Anything by Barbara Pym or Elizabeth Taylor.

mrsbadger2 Sat 23-Feb-13 21:49:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsJohnDeere Sat 23-Feb-13 22:33:51

These are great. Thank you. Almost looking forward to being in hospital now.

P.s. Murders/crime are fine. Just no sad tales abut people dying of cancer etc.

SconeRhymesWithGone Sat 23-Feb-13 23:20:43

What about Alexander McCall Smith? I especially like the Isabel Dalhousie ones set in Edinburgh.

Bilbobagginstummy Sun 24-Feb-13 08:07:56

Excellent idea, Scone (and you're right - it does!).

What about Ian Fleming's James Bond books? They're a good read.

BikeRunSki Sun 24-Feb-13 08:27:37

Douglas Kennedy - A Special Relationship, The Pursuit of Happiness or State of the Union to start with. Ignore the namby-pamby covers (not sure if you get covers on eBooks) and give them a couple of chapters. I found them (and all his other stuff) very absorbing, and mostly set against a distinct historical/ political background.

BikeRunSki Sun 24-Feb-13 08:31:34

Stuart Maconie's uk travel writing, similar to Bryson but but deeper and less smug. Pies and Predjudice, In Search of Middle England.

RandomMess Sun 24-Feb-13 08:33:51

Have you read the James Herriot series? Very humourous and most chapters are a short tale in themselves. Not sure which is the first book but perhaps "All Creatures Great and Small"

DuchessofMalfi Sun 24-Feb-13 08:56:04

I bought this yesterday Mapp & Lucia - over 1000 pages for 77p. They are light comedy novels (allegedly) written in 1930s. I thought I'd give them a go anyway.

Seem to remember a tv series from quite a long time ago based on them, so they must be ok. I expect there's some Mapp & Lucia fans on here who can confirm this too smile

CitrusyOne Sun 24-Feb-13 09:15:04

How about Joanne Harris- author of chocolat? I read a few of her's a while back and they're an interesting read.

SconeRhymesWithGone Sun 24-Feb-13 13:33:05

Sorry from me too; I forgot about babies in the later Isabel Dalhousie books.

Kveta Sun 24-Feb-13 13:46:09

Round Ireland with a Fridge is a very funny travelogue by Tony Hawks (I was going to suggest any Bill Bryson book, as they are my 'go to' funny reads)

If you like James Herriot, then a in a similar vein is All Teachers Great and Small, which I was predisposed to hate, but found very absorbing.

and if you like crime fiction, then early Dick Francis books are very readable - the ones co-written with his son are atrociously formulaic though, so best avoided.

brightspark2 Sun 24-Feb-13 15:31:51

The Red Paper Clip about trading up on Craig's List - fascinating.

BigPigLittlePig Sun 24-Feb-13 19:14:03

Three men in a boat as recommended up thread, followed by Three men in a float (book about 3 men [shocker] who drive across Britain in a milkfloat - lighthearted, easy reading, v enjoyable)

FakePlasticLobsters Mon 25-Feb-13 23:49:24

I read The Night Circus when I was in hospital and it passed the time quite nicely.

Dromedary Mon 25-Feb-13 23:56:01

Tales of the City series.
Children's books you love but haven't read in ages.

BOF Mon 25-Feb-13 23:56:50

I didn't rate Tractors- I thought it started off comedic and then took a weird turn. But I will recommend The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of A Window And Disappeared , which is on offer and only 20p on kindle at the moment. It was the perfect balance of humour, adventure and history- a bit like Forrest Gump meets The Italian Job. Beautifully written.

FreyaKItty Tue 26-Feb-13 05:46:39

Have you thought about audio books. Some fab ones read by really excellent people. You can get James Bond etc. my brother who travels a lot swears by them. He mentioned a guy (will try to get name) who is the Lawrence Olivier of audio books ! I'm just put of hospital and hard sometimes to comcentrate.

Joekate Thu 28-Feb-13 22:56:53

I've posted this in another thread already tonight and promise I don't have shares in it - but I've just finished a book called Angel Maker by Nick Harkaway. It is very funny, sort of a thriller - well, quite a bit of a thriller really, um, complicated in parts but ultimately the best book I've read in a while. Lovely characters (the good guys anyway) and a despicable bad lad of the first degree. Wonderful!

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