As the world and the news and the being stuck at home was extremely difficult last year, I found myself reaching for light fiction more than ever. I always read before bed, but I was more of a nonfiction reader unless I was on vacation or something—partially out of some subconscious need for constant self improvement, and partially because I do actually like nonfiction.
But last year, that stopped. I made attempts to read a few nonfiction books, but with the weight of the pandemic and the news, I just wanted an escape. So I gave myself permission to read the romantic comedies of books…and ended up loving it!
I started reading more, sneaking in reading time with my coffee or turning off the TV earlier in the evening to read instead. It was great to power through some books and I really enjoyed it.
If one of your goals for 2021 is to read more, might I suggest reading something light and enjoyable, perhaps the romcom variety of books? It sounds straightforward, but I bet it really will help you get through more books!
So today, I’m sharing some of the best romantic comedy books I’ve read lately, in the hopes that it will help you get through this stressful pandemic, too.
As a disclaimer, I am not at all saying that we should never read books about heavy topics—it’s crucial to get a little uncomfortable and learn about all sorts of issues. I’m just saying that I’m getting enough of that from the news right now, and my brain needs a break from the constant feeling of existential dread.
Romantic Comedy Fiction to Distract You From a Pandemic
When you miss travel: The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany
In this fun novel, we head to Italy with a cooky aunt to break a curse (and perhaps find love?). It’s a really light and fun, but with enough going on that it’s not all about a love story, so it doesn’t feel shallow.
I enjoyed this one as someone who misses traveling, and especially if you like Italy, it will scratch that itch. It took me a chapter or two to really get into it, but once they went to Italy, I was hooked.
Heads up: discussion of miscarriage, if that’s a trigger for you.
If you’d rather escape this time all together: City of Girls
Set in the 1940s, in the theater world of New York City, this book is fun and exciting to read. It’s a story of sexual awakening at its core, so expect some sexy content, but it’s not overly graphic.
I especially loved the first half of this book, and there is a period of heavier content, but I’d call it light overall. Worth a try, Elizabeth Gilbert is a master!
When politics are driving you nuts: American Royals & Majesty
These books found me in the fall, right before the election, and it was the perfect time for it! I was feeling so exhausted by American politics that it was fun to imagine another version of it.
These books are about another version of America, where George Washington was the first king, not President, and a monarchy still rules. With lots of interwoven romances and plot lines, they’re a fun pair of books that will totally suck you in. These books are my top read of 2020.
If you started a pandemic victory garden: The Garden of Small Beginnings
I really love Abbi Waxman right now (find another of her books below), and this book is definitely one of my favorites I’ve read lately. Our protagonist learns to garden for the sake of her job, and experiences a lot of personal growth in tandem with her garden. It’s not heavy though—there’s a lot of sarcasm and humor in a really refreshing way.
It’s a beautiful book and I totally blame it for my recent twee garden fantasies.
Trigger warning: husband’s death before the book begins, but grief is very much dealt with during the book.
When you want to make a big life change: Matchmaking for Beginners
The protagonist of this book wakes up from the life she thought she wanted—living near her family, getting married, and having kids—and gets to try on something completely different. It’s great fun, features a cooky older woman, and is well written.
You’ll be absorbed for sure, and don’t worry, there’s a sequel so you can fulfill your need to know what happens next!
For a will-they-won’t-they story: Our Stop
This is a fun concept: what if you read the “missed connections” section of the paper, and one of them was about you?? It’s a fun read, with a lot of missed connecting, and a lot of will-they-won’t-they.
Honestly, it started to drag in the middle for me, but if you like romcoms that keep you wondering how they’ll end up together (or if they even will), you’ll love this one, so I had to include it!
If you love The Bachelorette: One to Watch
One of my top picks on this list! I really enjoyed this one because I was watching The Bachelorette while I read it. It follows a plus-size blogger who gets chosen as the new bachelorette, and covers all that comes with that: from body insecurity to wondering what’s real and what’s for the show.
I was hooked on this one and couldn’t stop reading it because I wanted to know what happened next—isn’t that the best feeling?
For when your desk job gets old: Playing with Matches
This book is fun because it gives you a chance to try on a completely out-there career (full of actually seeing people in person, if you can believe it).
What would it be like to work for a very glamorous, high-end matchmaking service in New York City? Open this book and get a peek.
If you miss bookstores: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
With the same sarcasm and humor from The Garden of Small Beginnings (above), this is another, lighter book from Abbi Waxman. It is so sweet and so much fun, and I really enjoyed reading it.
Nina works in a bookstore, and if you miss bookstores, you’ll love that aspect. There’s also a lot of great community and fun characters I want to know—definitely a signature of Abbi Waxman’s. It’s just fun!
RomCom Reads for Pandemic Survival
So, there you have it, 10 options for romantic comedy-esque reads to get you through the rest of this pandemic. Light, fun, and highly distracting, I hope you love all of these books as much as I did!
I also share book reviews as I finish them on my Instagram stories, so be sure to follow me there for the latest!
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