Tag Archives: short books

Reading Short: A Short Books Reading List

It occurred to me the other day, when I received a DM on Twitter from a book blogger/writer friend, that it’s been “radio silence” from me online lately, both here on the blog and also on Facebook and Twitter.

So a quick update: I’m fine, but I’m also going through some big personal life changes, which I’ll probably blog about at a later date, when things have settled down into more of a rhythm.

With everything that’s been going on (including an upcoming, very very big move), I’ve been feeling a lack of focus, a restlessness that makes it hard for me to sit still and actually do anything. And believe me, that’s been having a huge impact on my reading.

The last time I talked about my reading, I was in the midst of three chunksters. Needless to say, I haven’t picked them up for a while!

So the other day, I found myself thinking about “reading short”: books that are 200 pages or less. With that in mind, I decided to put together a Short Books Reading List. Looking around online, I saw several such lists, but they were all heavily weighted toward literary fiction, which isn’t really my cup of tea (not unless there’s more than a dash of mystery, suspense, horror or fantasy in them).

Here’s what I’ve put together so far:

1. A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen

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I’m cheating a little with this first one, as it’s not fiction. But it is by a novelist, so that sort of counts, right? And since it weighs in at 64 pages, it definitely makes the page count criteria.

2. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

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This book, which weighs in at a slim 160 pages, has been in my TBR pile since forever. I love Shirley Jackson’s short stories, so it’s about time I read this, I think.

3. Dept of Speculation by Jenny Offill

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This one just squeezes onto the list at 192 pages, and while it’s not a genre book, I’ve been intrigued by its unique writing style ever since I first heard about it.

4. Heartburn by Nora Ephron

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Confession: Nora Ephron is the reason I diligently massage face cream onto the back of my neck every night. :) I’ve had fun reading her novels in the past, and at 179 pages, Heartburn has a solid place in my Short Books Reading List.

5. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

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So okay, at 208 pages this book shouldn’t have made the list. But I’ve been wanting to start The Southern Reach Trilogy for a while now, so this seemed like a good way to do it.

6. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

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I’ve always wanted to read this book, and the 160 page count in this volume actually includes three other short stories, so it’s well within my page count criteria. Kind of makes up for Annihilation, right?

7. The King by Donald Barthelme

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“King Arthur is rediscovered doing battle with the Nazis, and the grail to end all wars appears to be a bomb.” Need I say more? (157 pages)

8. The Madman of Bergerac by Georges Simenon

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It’s been a really long time since I last read an Inspector Maigret novel. This one, book 15 in the series, weighs in at 144 pages, so it’s a perfect fit for my list.

So that’s what I’ve come up with so far. I don’t know if I’ll actually get to any of these books, but it feels good to know I have some short reads on hand for just in case. If you have any recommendations, please let me know in the comments – I’d love to expand this list!