A good friend of mine has a great name for some of her books. She calls them “veg books” (short for vegetable books) because your brain doesn’t have to work hard to understand them. These books are the ones you read just for relaxation and entertainment, at the end of a day or over a weekend.
I read Jane Austen’s Persuasion this week, and it’s not what I would call a veg book. I love the story of Anne Elliott and Frederick Wentworth, but Jane Austen’s writing style requires constant concentration on my part to figure out its meaning. As an editor reading this book, I long to whip out my red pen and cut down on the commas and semi-colons in this book and break down what seems to be major run-on sentences. But I don’t blame Jane. That’s just her writing style.
I also like this book because it shows what’s going on in Frederick’s mind. Most of the story is told from Anne’s viewpoint and the same applies to most of the movie versions of Persuasion. The 2007 version with Rupert Penry-Jones has some scenes where Frederick explains more about how he feels. One day, I hope someone makes a version that shows the original breakup between Anne and Frederick. It would make an interesting scene.
So what would be a veg book, you ask? There are different kinds. Some veg books can be those big picture books with short descriptions next to them, usually about a place I’d like to see such as Hawaii, Alaska, New Zealand or Australia. Other veg books are simple fiction: a couple meets, they misunderstand each other, both characters mess up and they get back together.
I love veg books because they are such a wonderful way to relax. All I need is a comfortable chair or sofa, a good view out the window whenever possible so I can monitor the weather, and my ice tea. Ah, bliss. It’s a simple and so effective way to relax.
Blog readers: What are your favorite veg books and your favorite places to read them?
40 responses to “The bliss of the veg book”
Great post! I have to admit that when I want to veg there’s nothing quite like a good old Nora Roberts. You know the guy and girl will always end up together and everything will be perfect – a great escape from the realities of the real world. As for my favourite place to read a good veg book – probably the comfy chair in my living room with a cup of tea!
Another Nora Roberts fan! I like just about everything she’s written in both her Nora Roberts persona and as J.D. Robb. Have you read N.R.’s Boonesboro series yet? I’ve read the first one and am scouting around for the second in the series.
Love a quick-fiction read for veg books. I’ll admit that Twilight and Harry Potter books are veg books for me. I love rereading them when I have nothing better to do and being wrapped up in those worlds. I love The Scarlet Pimpernel, although the first time I read that, I had to concentrate intensely to figure out what was going on. Once I got it though, I crave certain scenes from that book at times and sit down and veg on them. Percy Blakeney is my favorite hero character. He cracks me up.
“We seek him here, we seek him there….” One of my favorite lines from The Scarlet Pimpernel.
See now! Just starting that quote makes me want to stop what I’m doing and go grab that book off the shelf. How funny.
This will come as no surprise. I love cozy mystery novels. You know, the kind with the sweet Mrs. Marple type amateur sleuth that ferrets out the murderer. Also, of course, those lovely Regency era historical romance books. Give me a hunky Duke and I’m happy by the fire for an entire afternoon into the night. Of course, a glass of wine and some romantic classics also help with the downtime.
Let me guess…a possible Mary Balogh fan?
One of my favorite veg books is, alas “a picture book” featuring photographs of Japanese gardens. I have a collection to peruse as desired.
Aren’t those gardens wonderful? So tidy and so beautiful.
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Thanks, Teepee 12! I like you, too!
The cheesiest of cheesy:
My fave veg book ever (and often) is To Have vs. To Hold – it’s a Harlequin Intrigue. And intriguing it is. I always read it during report card writing time. There’s shockingly little romance, but OH THE MYSTERY!?!?! 😀 Great post. Having a seriously hard time finding a book to enjoy right now, so might go for a veg one. Thanks for the idea.
Love the term ‘veg book’. 🙂
My favorite is ‘Shogun’ by James Clavell.
“Veg book” has now gone international! I love it. Thanks for the input, Samir! 🙂
Hmmm…My favorite ‘veg’ books would be of the shorter type YA historical fiction and stories of modern-day sailors’ lives (something akin to A Captain’s Duty by Richard Phillips but written more professionally). A favorite place to read would be by the window with the sun shining directly on the book.
J.G., since you like the water, I could also see you sitting on a dock in an Adirondack chair, with boats bobbing gently nearby and waves lapping against the dock. 🙂
Even better! What a wonderful suggestion. 😀
I call these coaster books. Some books are a pedal up the hill (James, Dickens, Joyce, et al) and others are the ride on the other side, a simple brain coast. Mine are cozy mysteries and Christian contemporaries.
Our reading doesn’t have to be all brussel sprouts, cheesecake is necessary now and then.
Amen to that. I love that term “coaster books”. That’s a great expression.
I call them mindless. I can’t remember a thing about them five minutes after I finish one. When I start reading one, sometimes I realize toward the end that I’ve read it before … I just don’t remember it well enough to notice. VERY light entertainment.
Yup, that’s about right. I started one the other day not realizing I had read it a couple of years ago. It’s the difference between remembering scampi and a burger. 🙂
Because I read such heavy things for work, my stress release is the veg book. I read to be entertained and I must confess I don’t want to work too hard for my entertainment, after working all week. Hail the mighty veg book!
Sing it, sister! 😉
I tried to read a veg book this last week. It was an awful veg book, a historical Christian romance, of all darn things. Could hardly get through it. Years ago I used to love veg books — they were so relaxing. Now they have to have at least something else, a little sparkle or quality, perhaps.
Which is why I like Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb. The characters are strong, funny and real.
Lucky are those who can still read for pleasure. By the time I got through school and then some 30 years or so of editing, I’d given up reading for pleasure. It was too much like work. To this day, when I read, I find myself reaching for a pen or pencil.
Once an editor…always an editor… 😉
My veg books would be the books I read as a kid – Lucy Maud Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, Frances Hodgson Burnett, etc. I’ve read them so many times that they are more like old friends and I can just sink right back into the story with no work, just pure joy. I hope that my Peanut loves them as much as I do!
Something tells me Mary Lennox, Sara Crewe and Peanut are going to be great friends. 😉
Hi, great post. My favourite veg books are anything by Agatha Christie or Ruth Rendell. I have to admit I love reading them on a Sunday afternoon, in bed, snuggling under my duvet. 🙂
Thanks, London Girl! Now that sounds like a cozy way to spend a Sunday afternoon! 🙂
So, I actually veg out with “Pride and Prejudice.” It’s my go-to book whenever I want to read and I’m not sure just exactly what I want to read. It never lets me down!
Ahhh, Mr. Darcy. You’ve got to love him. Even though the poor guy messes up his marriage proposal. I love that he redeemed himself later.
When I’m too exhausted to read anything with even a scintilla of substance, I pick up Bill Bryson’s The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. It’s one of the funniest things I have ever read. (Though that might be because I tend to get the giggles when I’m exhausted.)
You, too? (about getting the giggles when exhausted) I like the sound of that Bill Bryson book — I must find that at the library soon!
Anything by Janet Evanovich. Funny, light-hearted chick lit is good for the soul, especially before bed, on rainy Sundays, and days off.
Sounds great! I’ve been hearing about Janet for years; time to head to the library!
I keep reading the Stephanie Plum books though I think she’s kind of beginning to repeat herself and I can’t always tell anymore whether or not I’ve already read the book. She could use an infusion of new plot, though she’s always fun, if entirely predictable. My all-time favorite fix is Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan.
Right now, having run out of new books in all my fave series, I’m working my way through the incredibly prolific Sherrilyn Kenyon. Immortal and insanely handsome guys and equally stunning women, though sometimes not immortal (gads!) … enough sex to get you warmed up … and enough magic to make the whole thing totally out of this world and thus not subject to the laws of physics or rationality. All the plots of her books are essentially identical, with a couple of notable exceptions, and there are no surprises and not sad endings. Dependable books that are not going to strain your brain matter, but will keep you amused and ever so slightly, uh, hot.