I'm in love with short books. I love how quickly I can fall for characters within just a few pages as well as tumble headfirst into a world that I won't be in for for very long. Short books come in all different shapes and sizes — novellas, short stories, essays, collections — and are nearly always incredible. They are great to take on planes, trains, and even automobiles — with an audiobook version, of course.
As much as I would love to sit down on any given day and power through some of the most massive novels out there like Cloud Atlas, East of Eden, and Moby-Dick, I don't always have the time or energy to do so. And I get it, that makes me sound a little lazy. But there are just as many wonderful short books out there as there are large ones. And I'm here to prove that to you.
So whether you need a short book to take on your plane ride, or one to accompany you on your morning commute, I've got just the list for you. Take these books to your favorite concert while you're waiting in line, or read one as a palate cleanser in-between reading a massive series. With this diverse and exciting list, I promise you'll be just as in love with short stories once you read all of these.
While this is technically an extension of Wolff's essay on the topic of women in fiction, it's a quick read full of her unique perspective. It's told with a fictional narrator discussing female characters as well as writers. It'll make you feel more empowered than ever to be a woman, and at only 112 pages, you'll be wishing there was more.
If you haven't already, you'll fly though this exciting American classic that takes place in the roaring '20s. When Jay Gatsby, a successful businessman with a reputation for the best party-thrower around, lets his love obsession get the better of him, it becomes his ultimate demise. Take this with you to the beach, or snuggle up with it in bed, and I promise you won't be disappointed.
Expect a hilarious and quotable book — but also prepare for a heartwarming father and son relationship to captivate you. Halpern writes the quotes of his hilarious father, a Vietnam vet with a mind and voice that simply must be heard, that ultimately tells a wonderful and memorable story.
George and Lennie, two friends and outsiders with nothing but shared their dream to own land someday, are the compelling characters of one of Steinbeck's best known books. At the core, it's all about friendship and the inevitable loneliness that comes with the human experience. You'll be pleasantly surprised with how well everything comes together in such a short piece of work.
The sweet and deep story of The Little Prince is one of my favorites. This curious little prince leaves his world behind to explore the universe, and ends up finding out a lot more about himself. It's less than 100 pages, full of charming illustrations and poetic writing, so it's no wonder it's the most translated and loved French book of all time.
If you're looking for something a little more edgy and dark, Go Ask Alice is the short book for you. It's written as the diary of a girl headed on a downward spiral of drug addiction, though it was later found it was written as a "scared straight"-type story by an older woman. It's a must read for its iconic status in YA, at the very least.
Dealing with conflict wisely and honorably is a lesson everyone can benefit from, and that's exactly what The Art of War is about. While it is a strategy book, it's also one filled with wisdom and positive influences that could help you in your relationships, work life, and even struggles within yourself.
This is Marjane Satrapi’s funny, tragic, and wise tale of her childhood in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Told in black-and-white comics, you'll quickly find yourself standing side-by-side with young Marjane. It's simply impossible to put down, and you'll enjoy every minute reading this fast-paced story.
When a group of farm animals rebel and start a society of their own, their leaders, the pigs, turn their backs on the rest of the animals. This satirical masterpiece published in 1945 is a play on socialist and communist values. Orwell is best known for his incredible writing, but more so for his wild and ingenious ideas.
This book, widely perceived as the archetypal modern African novel, is the story of Okonkwo, a warrior and village leader. But when he decides to leave all he's ever known behind, things begin to fall apart. Told in two stories, the second focuses on the clash of cultures in modern society. The beautiful writing and impactful story will hook you in on page one.
First published in 1899, and a starting point for feminism, Chopin's The Awakening is not as daring and controversial as it once was, but is still able to capture the psychology and honesty of a woman seeking physical love outside of a domestic trap. This is the sort of short novel will have you so captivated, you might accidentally miss your train stop because it's just that good.
When aren't you in the mood to read the glorious story of A Christmas Carol? It will make you feel all fuzzy and warm inside, even if there's a blizzard heading your way. It won't take you very long to speed through this classic, so grab a cup of cocoa and sit next to a warm fire as you breeze through it.
Taking place in France in 1950, an American finds himself struggling to stick to the conventional lifestyle he'd imagined for himself while he pursues a beautiful young woman — and shortly after beings an affair with a man. It's 159 pages of love, desire, and the mystery of sexuality. What are you waiting for?!
For the bookworm in you, pick up this book and read it right now. It's a quick, lovely, and unique story of a lonely librarian who strikes up an interesting conversation with a man who was locked in the library overnight. For the love of all things books, you'll wish it wouldn't ever end.
This is the story of Tochtli, a 7-year-old who lives in a palace and wants everything, but more specifically, a pygmy hippopotamus from Liberia. With a drug lord for a father, interesting characters come in and out of Tochtli's life, and he quickly absorbs more violence than any small child ever should. In 74 pages, Villalobos tells one astonishing short tale you certainly won't forget.