Escapist Fiction or Nothing Books for Nobody People

Used Bookstore, Madrid
Used Bookstore, Madrid

Have you ever been in that mood in an airport bookstore, or maybe when you have insomnia, and you just want a book to read, any book, that makes you forget yourself and while away an hour or two?

I was in that mood, just a couple of weeks ago, picked up a random bestseller (the current thriller by James Patterson), had barely got through a quarter of it when I started skimming, then skipping to the end. End result? Disappointment.

Actually, I should have known that was coming. Whenever I’ve picked up what I’ve come to term “nothing books for nobody people,” I’ve invariably been disappointed. You know, books that fall into the “beach books” or “train reading” category. Books that if they fell out of your bag you wouldn’t miss, and wouldn’t bother replacing.

Some people call them “escapist fiction.”

Yesterday night I had insomnia and remembered an Agatha Christie I had picked up the other day at a charity used book sale for our local library. My  memories of Agatha Christie have always been a bit rose-colored since her mysteries when I was younger, seemed clever and quaint, with a detective and his egg-shaped head and OCD problems.

So I was looking for  some cheap entertainment for an insomniac moment and found instead frustrated disappointment. Just as I had at differing times with contemporary writers like Alexander McCall-Smith and P.D. James.

Right now I’m dwelling on the mystery/thriller genre, but the same applies to “nothing books for nobody people” in any genre, including the literary. They are books that require a state of enervated being, weakness or boredom or or a sense of being held hostage to a situation. They require a blank slate or a sophomoric passivity. And even then, they will disappoint to the extent that quite likely you will never pick them up again except in a moment of desperation.

“Nothing books for nobody people” require not just a willing suspension of disbelief as all fiction does, but a willing suspension of any discernment whatsoever, whether intellectual or common sense.

For example, if you’re looking for a mystery/thriller that’s a “something book for somebody people,” pick up a classic (there’s a reason why they’re called that), like one by Raymond Chandler or Stephen King (depending on the title).

But frankly the best book to have ready at those odd enervated moments during the day or night is the Bible. Or for train/airport/beach reading, a well-written history.

You won’t be disappointed. End of story.

DailyPostPrompt: disappointment
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3 thoughts on “Escapist Fiction or Nothing Books for Nobody People”

  1. I really like that phrase “nothing books for nobody people”! Perfectly describes Patterson books, if you ask me… Have you tried Georgette Heyer crime? Or Dorothy L Sayers? Two of my favourites. Same era as Christie (who I’ve always thought of as the Enid Blyton of Crime: good stories, simply written – not an insult, btw: Blyton was my favourite author as a child).

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    1. I have read Heyer’s mysteries – all of them! – and have enjoyed every one. Enid Blyton is a new name to me, but now that you’ve mentioned her, will giver her a try. If you haven’t read Simenon’s Maigret series, give them a go. They’re very street Parisian with a lot of local color. Thanks for your recommendations and for dropping by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Should warn you Blyton was a children’s author. I’ve never read Maigret, but keep meaning to (isn’t that the worst? Never getting around to reading books you just keep meaning to!). But I want to have a look at the BBC series, and feel I should read the books first, so I might actually get around to it this time!

        You’re welcome – always happy to recommend my favourites 🙂 Hope you enjoy them too – and please to find another Heyer fan!

        Liked by 1 person

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