You can’t keep up a steady diet of deeply philosophical and meaningful literature without your brain going to rot. To hold the honor of being an eclectic reader you simply must branch out.

As you probably know by now, the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon is the jewel of my escape reading. But what is in my filler and fluff category? (Fluff: those guilty pleasures that we might just be too embarrassed to reveal? )

I no longer read cereal boxes because I have outgrown Cheerios and Wheaties. Anyhow, they probably don’t put words on the boxes anymore. I occasionally have a good laugh with the Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer. Or the American Science and Surplus catalog. Kudos to the creative writers.

What do you read just before you fall asleep at night? You want something that won’t disturb you or scare you or cause too much thinking when you want to shut down.

I reach for fluff books, books easily broken into small snippets of entertainment. Shown above are six books I have read and used as bedtime stories.

Post Secret, compiled by Frank Warren. Postcards were handed out to strangers, with these instructions: write down a secret you have never told and mail it in. This grew from an art project into this book and even an exhibit that came to our Lincoln Center. Revealing and sometimes sad.

Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores, by Bob Eckstein. A visually lovely book with charming illustrations by Eckstein of each bookstore.   I wished for more information on each and every one. Many of these bookstores are already closed. I have been to just two of them: Shakespeare and Co. and Powells, although every time I travel I do visit other bookstores. This is a book for booksellers and book lovers. The foreword by Garrison Keillor and the introduction by Eckstein are so inspirational I may never retire.

First Flight, by Noriko and Don Carroll. A hummingbird decided to build a nest on the clothesline on their porch. The Carrolls set up a camera and recorded the birth and maturation of two chicks. Gorgeous close-up photography. An inside look at the lives of this tiny family. Entrancing.

Literary Miscellany, by Alex Palmer. Entertaining trivia for the booklover. Did you know that Samuel Taylor Coleridge said in 1808: “Where the reading of novels prevails as a habit, it occasions in time the entire destruction of the powers of the mind.” Yes, it’s happening with me. Hemingway, known for brevity, won the Pulitzer for The Old Man and the Sea. Some claim he wrote the shortest novel ever. One sentence.

Unlikely Friendships by Jennifer Holland. You’ve seen many of these before on your Facebook feed. This book is high on the cuteness scale. Strange animal pairings such as a cat and an iguana, a lioness and baby oryx, owlet and greyhound, rats and a cat.

Humans of New York Stories, by Brandon Stanton. Humanity, humanity! Photography and short interviews. Funny, sad, whimsical.

While none of these is great literature, they still have the power to teach.

Other ideas for quick reads – books of poetry or short stories. Share your suggestions…



2 thoughts on “FLUFF READING

  1. Cynthia, due to your wise advice, children’s books have, increasingly, filled that need. However, some of these have been so artfully written that to categorize them as “fluff” would be doing their authors a disservice.
    I would also mention the so-called cartoon books: The Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes, Mad Magazine in its various iterations, and my beloved Peanuts.


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