Living a busy life with distractions in our face, no amount of time is really enough. Many of us would be missing out on our reading just because it takes us several days to finish Dostoevsky. We might love dusting the leaves of our classics, but that’s all we are able to do as Money rolls in. Back to work, our books eat dust again and our souls are a little parched. The best answer to this are thinner books that can be consumed in a single day , and even a single sitting. Short stories and novellas which are all 200 pages or less have been read more often for a reason. Which is why we have put together a brilliant list of short books to read in a day. In a single sitting, even! You might like to get paperbacks and hardcovers of thee pieces, and you can also buy tthem on your Kindle!
We Love Anderson Cooper by R. L. Maizes
This short story collection by Pushcart Prize-nominated author R.L. Maizes has a quirky, humorous and deeply human narrative. The theme is easily relatable, the narrative explores how characters are trated as outsiders beecause of their sexual orientation, racial or religious identity. The book reminds us that we are never truly alone even in our most isolated moments. The stories have some sad and funny twists as the actions of the characters often fall short of their intentions.
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
This is an utterly charming book about the Queen of England who, on a walk to Westminster with her yapping corgis, stumbled across a bookmobile that visits Buckingham Palace regularly. Much to her surprise, she loved the book by Ivy Compton-Burnett which was recommended by the helpful Norman who accompanied her. The story conveys how literature brings joy to everyone, regardless of our disposition and lifestyle.
God Help the Child by Toni Morrison
One of the greatest books to read in a day, this brisk modern-day fairy tale of the beautiful and difficult truths about child abuse is the last novel by Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison. God Help the Child is about how childhood trauma can shape, and misshapen, the life of an adult. A woman who calls herself Bride is denied even the simplest form of love by her mother because of her stunning blue-black skin, which is the only element of her beauty, confidence and success. Desperate for love, Bride ends up damaging the life of anotther woman.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
This novel by Neil Gaiman is about the helplessness and innocent ignorance of childhood as well as the universe-old wisdom, mystery and wonders of the real world. The story follows a middle-aged man returning to his long-gone childhood home to attend a funeral. He is drawn to the farm at the end of the road where he was welcomed to his neighbor’s home by three generations of private women Lettie Hempstock, a most remarkable girl, her mother and grandmother when he was seven. The novel makes you want to run out and find the magic in your own life as the grown man second-guesses every mystical thing he saw in his childhood.
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
This book by the acclaimed author and Man Booker Prize winner, Julian Barnes, is an intense 163 pages novel that follows Tony Webster, a middle-aged, divorced man facing retirement and not interested in grappling with past friendships. He contends about a past that he has never much thought about until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance, one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present.
An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten
Written by the author of the Irene Huss investigation series, this book features two never-before funny yet twisted translated stories that will keep you laughing till the end. The novel tells of Maud, an irascible 88-year-old Swedish woman who lives alone with the purpose of warching people’s lives online ever since her darling father’s untimely death when she was eighteen. When a corpse is found in the spacious apartment she lives in downtown Gothenburg rent-free, everyone assumes that she has committed murder.
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
This book by Jenny Offill portrays the marriage between the heroine referred to as simply “the wife” with her husband, their eyes open to all of life’s inevitable challenges. They once exchanged love letters postmarked Dept. of Speculation, their code name for all the uncertainty that inheres in life. As their faltering careers and parenthood push them close to the edge of failure, the wife revisits the arc of their marriage and comes to a few uncomfortable conclusions about their love story.
Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
This short book by Jacqueline Woodson revolving around August and her friends is split between the 1970s, in which she grew up, and the present, in which she returned to Brooklyn after her father’s death. The book takes us on a coming-of-age journey through friendship, loss and abuse as August runs into a long-ago friend, triggering her childhood memories from the 1970s when friendship was everything—until it wasn’t.
Tinkers by Paul Harding
Paul Harding’s Pulitzer Prize-winning debut novel, Tinkers, is at once a heartbreaking and life-affirming story of George Washington Crosby, an old man who lies dying and is set free from life’s tangibles in his last moments. He drifts in and out of consciousness, back to his impoverished childhood in Maine intertwined, with memories of his father an epileptic, itinerant peddler and his grandfather, a Methodist preacher beset by madness.
Elevation by Stephen King
This novel by Stephen King takes place in the small town of Castle Rock where word gets around quickly. Unlike the gory storytelling of the novels by Stephen King, Elevation is a nsrrstive about friendship and the ways a community tends to circle the wagons around its own. The novel revolves around the character of Scott Carey, who has a strange condition of losing weight without getting thinner. He wants to confide only in his friend Doctor Bob Ellis about his strange condition, but his old friends and new neighbors come to the rescue.
Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala
Uzodinma Iweala’s bestselling debut novel, Beasts of No Nation is a harrowing and singular story of the life of Agu, a barely surviving school-aged protagonist recruited into a unit of guerilla fighters in a civil war-torn unnamed West African country. Haunted by his family’s murder at the hands of militants, Agu finds a new family, he becomes vulnerable to the dangerous yet paternal nature of his new commander and boys who are as lost as he. This is an exhilarating read despite the miserable events in Agu’s life.
Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A masterpiece by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and a part of excellent classic books to read in a day, this novel is the unsettling and indelible story of Sierva Maria, the only child of a decaying noble family in an eighteenth-century South American seaport. She is bitten by a rabid dog on her twelfth birthday, but her parents ignore her and believe her to be possessed. She is taken to a convent for observation where Father Cayetano Delaura, who has already dreamed about a girl with hair trailing after her like a bridal train, stumbles into her cell. She becomes consumed by his fated love for her and joins him in his fevered misery.
Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan
Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan is a gem of a book. The protagonist is Manny DeLeon who works in The Red Lobster, a failing chain restaurant in the far corner of a run-down New England mall. As the headquarters pulled the plug, because they haven’t been making its numbers, Manny has to keep a brave face , having to close up one last time with a near-mutinous staff who he is still in love with. This book is one of the most acclaimed works of Stewart O’Nan. This is also the piece that earned him the title “the bard of the working class.”
Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss
A mythic and strikingly timely story at once by Sarah Moss, Ghost Wall is about Silvie and her family deep in the British woods at an Iron-Age reenactment village, far from the intrusions of cities but not far from civilization. They live as if they were ancient Britons, surviving by the tools and knowledge of the Iron Age. The family joins an anthropology course set to reenact life in simpler times during the two weeks of her father’s vacation. With Silvie starting to see, hear and imagine another kind of life, the story urges us to wonder how far we have come from the primitive minds of our ancestors.
The Vegetarian by Han Kang
The Vegetarian by Man Book Prize-winning author Han Kang is the story of Yeong-hye, an unforgettable woman and her husband who lived an ordinary life. Following a series of nightmares that haunt her thoughts with blood-soaked images, she decides to renounce meat, and this leads to a bleak spiral of self-discovery. Her decision to embrace a more “plant-like” existence is a shocking act of subversion. This is a thoughtful novel about the consequences of demanding bodily consent with food, appearances and sex.
So these are our top 15 picks for short books to read in a day. Have you already read any of these books? Let us know which book you loved reading the most!
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