Life can get ridiculously busy. You don't always have the time or the energy to read a 400-page book. There are times when you just have a few hours and you want to unwind with a short book that's easy to read. Something that you know will take you away from the nine-to-five, even for just the briefest of moments.
Plus, there's something so special about finding a book you can read over and over again. It's like meeting your best friend on the first day of school, and knowing immediately that you can count on them. No matter what's going on in your life, this book and its characters will always be there for you, ready to whisk you away.
Often when asked why they don't read, people say it's because they don't have enough time. I get it. Sometimes my life feels like every second is scheduled. But the great thing about reading is that it doesn't have to be a commitment. Books can you draw you in and transport you in just a matter of minutes. There's a feeling of release, of just letting go of the real world for a moment, that makes reading an imperative part of my life, no matter what my schedule looks like.
These books are all books you can read in an afternoon, and they're all books you'll want to reread again and again and again. They may only take a few hours to get through, but they'll stay by your side forever.
1. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
Mindy Kaling's writing makes you feel like you're her BFF as she gives you the inside scoop on her life and career. This is the perfect book to relax with, and you'll eat it up every time.
2. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Ah, every time I think about Nimona I get excited. If you like snarky internet humor, this graphic novel is going to hit you right in your sweet spot. The story of a bloodthirsty, shapeshifting, teenage girl who declares herself the sidekick to the not-so-evil evil mastermind Lord Blackheart, this book is filled with everything from government conspiracies to board games.
3. The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter
This book was first described to me as the perfect read for a rainy day, and that's exactly what it is. The story of a girl sent to London to live with strange relatives, this story is filled with quirky characters, a gothic vibe, and a touch of magic.
4. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
If you're feeling contemplative, this classic is the perfect choice. In this short volume, we follow Siddhartha, a young man who goes in search of a meaningful life and encounters wisdom along the way.
5. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Adapted from her famous TED talk, We Should All Be Feminists is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's exploration of what feminism and womanhood means. Enlightening and empowering, this is a volume that everyone should read at least once.
6. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman is a living legend, and this short book reads like a deliciously dark fairytale. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home, and ends up following the tendrils of a decades-old mystery. Even though it's short, all the magic, wonder, and creativity that defines Gaiman's work is in high supply.
7. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Is it possible not to devour a Rainbow Rowell novel? Even though this book is technically longer than the others on this list, it's so delightfully good that you're likely to drop everything and push through it in an afternoon. The story of Cath, a fanfiction writer obsessed with a magical Harry Potter-esque world, and her adventures as she steps into the terrifying new realm of college.
8. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
This award-winning novel is a must-read, and you'll plow through it. The story of a young boy who, after his family's boat is shipwrecked, is stranded on a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean with a tiger for company.
9. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
This masterpiece is one you'll want to pull off your shelf every Halloween. It's the story of Merricat Blackwood, who returns to her home after most of her family has been murdered. This book is horror at its finest and it's creepy AF.
10. Romeo And/Or Juliet by Ryan North
This choose-your-own-adventure version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is the perfect book for when you're starved for time. As you make choices throughout the book, you'll stumble into tons of different storylines, some that last merely seconds, others that will occupy you for longer. And all of them are all-out fun.
11. Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
Maybe it's childhood nostalgia that has me rereading Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness quartet so often, but diving into this world is one of my favorite things to do. With a lightning-quick story and characters that are fascinating and familiar, this story about a girl who pretends to be a boy in order to become a knight will light a fire under you.
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