The best fun books to read in dark times

Why am I passionate about this?

Do you trust anyone without a sense of humor? Neither do I. I’ve always had an odd sense of humor. Laughter is good for the soul. I don’t know if I’m an expert, but I’ve certainly spent decades watching and reading comedies. And while I love writing serious and dark fiction, something cute and funny now and then feels like a nice balance. My personal taste runs from slapstick to standup to snappy scenes and witty dialog. I like smart humor, and because I had the wittiest dad, I can even appreciate a well-done dad joke. 

I wrote...

The Book of Lost Souls

By Michelle Muto,

Book cover of The Book of Lost Souls

What is my book about?

When teen witch Ivy MacTavish changes a lizard into her date for a Halloween dance, everything turns to chaos. And when no one is powerful enough to transform him back except Ivy, it sparks the rumor that she’s involved in the darkest of magic. Worse, someone has used an evil spell book to bring back two of history's most nefarious killers. 

Ivy's plan is simple: find who has the book, steal it, and reverse the spell. But that requires the help of the schools’ hotter-than-brimstone demon, Nick Marcelli. Now, it’s going to take more than luck if Ivy wants to survive long enough to clear her name and have her former date back to eating mealworms before the week’s end.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of A Dog's Purpose

Michelle Muto Why did I love this book?

I love dogs. And though I write both light and dark fiction, I also love a feel-good, heartwarming story. This is that book.

I laughed, cheered, and cried (both tears of sadness and happiness). If you’ve ever loved a dog, then this is the story for you. It’s a love story within a love story. It tugs at all your emotions. Well written and good characters. 

By W. Bruce Cameron,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Dog's Purpose as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog's search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, "A Dog's Purpose" touches on the universal quest for an answer to life's most basic question: Why are we here? Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey's search for his new life's meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8-year-old Ethan. During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog. But this life as a beloved…

Book cover of When You Are Engulfed in Flames

Michelle Muto Why did I love this book?

I could potentially recommend any of Sedaris’ early works. Pick one, you won’t regret it.

Sedaris has a way of taking our most mundane lives and making them hilarious. His style can be best described as memoirs meet standup comedy. We’ve all had those weird, awkward family moments. Sedaris does a great job of making them funny. Warning: people tend to look at you rather oddly and give you space when you listen to the audiobook while out walking alone. 

By David Sedaris,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked When You Are Engulfed in Flames as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

David Sedaris's remarkable ability to uncover the hilarious absurdity teeming just below the surface of everyday life is elevated to wilder and more entertaining heights than ever in this new book of stories. Sedaris proceeds from bizarre conundrums of daily life - the etiquette of having a lozenge fall from your mouth into the lap of a fellow passenger or how to soundproof your windows with LP covers against neurotic songbirds - to the most deeply resonant human truths. Taking in the parasitic worm that once lived in his mother-in-law's leg, an encounter with a dingo and the purchase of…

Book cover of One for the Money

Michelle Muto Why did I love this book?

Oldie, but a goodie. Even better, once you’ve read the first book, you’ll be relieved to find the adventures of Stephanie Plum, amateur bounty hunter, keep going.

If you like mysteries, comedy, and a little steamy romance, this is your series with plenty of books to read. The dinner scene with Grandma Mazur had me in stitches, as did… well, you’ll have to pick up a copy to see what I mean. 

By Janet Evanovich,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked One for the Money as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stephanie Plum is down on her luck. She's lost her job, her car's on the brink of repossession, and her apartment is fast becoming furniture-free.

Enter Cousin Vinnie, a low-life who runs a bail-bond company. If Stephanie can bring in vice cop turned outlaw Joe Morelli, she stands to pick up $10,000. But tracking down a cop wanted for murder isn't easy . . .

And when Benito Ramirez, a prize-fighter with more menace than mentality, wants to be her friend Stephanie soon knows what it's like to be pursued. Unfortunately the best person to protect her just happens to…

Book cover of If You Ask Me: (And of Course You Won't)

Michelle Muto Why did I love this book?

I read just about anything – dark fiction, cozy mysteries, thrillers,  and even plenty of non-fiction. But, while I rarely read memoirs, I will if it’s someone I truly admire.

Enter Betty White. I’ve always been a fan of her quick, one-liner wit, and this book doesn’t disappoint. But even the non-witty parts are packed with a punch. Betty’s wisdom is heartfelt and spot-on.

By Betty White,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If You Ask Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestseller from the beloved actress and Hollywood icon who's made us laugh on shows from The Mary Tyler Moore Show to Golden Girls to Saturday Night Live!

In this candid take on everything from the unglamorous reality behind red-carpet affairs to her beauty regimen ("I have no idea what color my hair is, and I never intend to find out"), Betty White shares her observations about life, celebrity, and love (for humans and animals). Filled with photos, If You Ask Me is funny, sweet, and straight to the point-just like Betty.

Book cover of No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality

Michelle Muto Why did I love this book?

I came to the book recently, only after watching Apple TV’s Still, about Michael J. Fox.

I grew up watching his movies and have always adored him. Years ago, I read another of his books, Always Looking Up, and enjoyed it. This book opens like a NYT bestselling novel and just keeps going. Brilliantly written. Emotional and above all, inspiring. If you’re looking for role models in darker times, look no further. 

By Michael J Fox,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Time Like the Future as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The book is great: moving but also properly funny.' Hadley Freeman, The Guardian

'A memoir with an unusual sense of purpose. . . pithy, highly readable' The Times

The entire world knows Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, the teenage sidekick of Doc Brown in Back to the Future. His two previous bestselling memoirs, Lucky Man and Always Looking Up, dealt with how he came to terms with the illness, all the while exhibiting his iconic optimism.

In No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality, Michael shares personal stories and observations about illness and health, ageing, the strength…

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Saving Raine

By Marian L Thomas,

Book cover of Saving Raine

Marian L Thomas

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Saving Raine is a captivating tale of resilience, redemption, and the enduring power of love, penned by the acclaimed author Marian L. Thomas.

This contemporary fiction novel chronicles the compelling journey of Raine Reynolds as she confronts heartache, betrayal, and loss. Against the vibrant backdrops of Atlanta and Paris, Raine's story unfolds as she grapples with the aftermath of her husband's infidelity and tragic passing.

Through poignant prose and compelling characters, "Saving Raine" delves into themes of forgiveness, healing, and the strength discovered in confronting life's greatest challenges. Readers will be captivated by Raine's emotional odyssey as she unearths hope, redemption, and the courage to embrace a brighter future.

Saving Raine

By Marian L Thomas,

What is this book about?

Raine Reynolds stands at the crossroads of despair and opportunity.
When the life you've built crumbles and the past refuses to release its grip, sometimes you need a fresh start-a new beginning that promises hope and redemption.
Once a celebrated author, Raine's life unraveled, sending her fleeing to the picturesque streets of Paris to escape the tormenting heartache that threatened to consume her. Yet, no matter how far she traveled, the pain remained her unwelcome companion.
Returning to bustling Atlanta as a senior VP for an ad agency, Raine is forced to confront a city steeped in…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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