What do you think about when you hear Classic Literature? Overlong books that you had to slog through in high school and college? Or maybe, books that you turned up your nose at when you were younger, but wish you'd read more of now that you're an adult? If the latter is true for you, you might be surprised to know just how quickly you can get through that backlist of classics that's been haunting you. While it's true that there are plenty of these books that are well over 300 pages, there are just as many that are mercifully below 200 pages. And while you might not consider taking a classic on a beach afternoon, they're actually the ideal length to get through while you're lounging in the sun... even when you take breaks to sip a margarita or take a dip in the ocean.
Especially if you've been dealing with a classics block, pairing one of the 15 books below with a relaxed and summery atmosphere will make then far easier to swallow. Forget the pressures of term papers, exams and class participation that many of these books invoke, and instead sit back, relax and enjoy some of the most celebrated books of all time. While each edition of these books may have slight differences, the approximate page count for each book is listed below.
1. 'Animal Farm' by George Orwell
Page Count: 128 Pages
A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned; a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.
2. 'Fahrenheit 451' by Ray Bradbury
Page Count: 174 Pages
The terrifying novel that predicts a post-literature future follows Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, considered the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.
3. 'Of Mice and Men' by John Steinbeck
Page Count: 112 Pages
The compelling story of two outsiders striving to find their place in an unforgiving world. Drifters in search of work, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie have nothing in the world except each other and a dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually they find work on a ranch in California’s Salinas Valley, but their hopes are doomed as Lennie, struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy, becomes a victim of his own strength.
4. 'The House on Mango Street' by Sandra Cisneros (110 Pages)
5. 'The Great Gatsby' by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Page Count: 180 Pages
The story of fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his doomed love affair with Daisy Buchanan has been heralded as the exemplary novel of the Jazz Age. It's a story of lavish parties, drinking and sex, but with the sinister undertone that examines dreams verses reality that has made it one of our most discussed novels of all-time.
6. 'The Awakening' by Kate Chopin
Page Count: 195 Pages
When first published in 1899, The Awakening shocked readers with its honest treatment of female marital infidelity. Audiences accustomed to the pieties of late Victorian romantic fiction were taken aback by Chopin's daring portrayal of a woman trapped in a stifling marriage, who seeks and finds passionate physical love outside the confines of her domestic situation.
7. 'Lord of the Flies' by William Golding
Page Count: 182 Pages
Lord of the Flies continues to ignite passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. William Golding’s compelling story about a group of very ordinary boys marooned on a coral island has been labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, and even a vision of the apocalypse. But above all, it has earned its place as one of the indisputable classics of the twentieth century for readers of any age.
8. 'A Room of One's Own' by Virginia Woolf
Page Count: 112 Pages
In A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf imagines that Shakespeare had a sister—a sister equal to Shakespeare in talent, and equal in genius, but whose legacy is radically different. This imaginary woman never writes a word and dies by her own hand, her genius unexpressed. If only she had found the means to create, argues Woolf, she would have reached the same heights as her immortal sibling. In this classic essay, her message is a simple one: women must have a fixed income and a room of their own in order to have the freedom to create.
9. 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' by Lewis Carroll
Page Count: 96 Pages
Dive with Alice through the rabbit hole, and they encounter the White Rabbit, the Queen of Hearts, the Mock Turtle, and the Mad Hatter, among a multitude of other characters--extinct, fantastical, and commonplace creatures. Alice journeys through this Wonderland, trying to fathom the meaning of her strange experiences. But they turn out to be "curiouser and curiouser," seemingly without moral or sense.
10. 'The Little Prince' by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Page Count: 83 Pages
With a timeless charm and intellectual allegory, The Little Prince tells the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe, learning the vagaries of adult behavior through a series of extraordinary encounters. His personal odyssey culminates in a voyage to Earth and further adventures.
11. 'The War of the Worlds' by H.G. Wells
Page Count: 192 Pages
The night after a shooting star is seen streaking through the sky from Mars, a cylinder is discovered on Horsell Common in London. At first, naïve locals approach the cylinder armed just with a white flag – only to be quickly killed by an all-destroying heat-ray, as terrifying tentacled invaders emerge. Soon the whole of human civilisation is under threat, as powerful Martians build gigantic killing machines, destroy all in their path with black gas and burning rays, and feast on the warm blood of trapped, still-living human prey. The forces of the Earth, however, may prove harder to beat than they at first appear.
12. 'Giovanni's Room' by James Baldwin
Page Count: 159 Pages
David is a young American expatriate who has just proposed marriage to his girlfriend, Hella. While she is away on a trip, David meets a bartender named Giovanni to whom he is drawn in spite of himself. Soon the two are spending the night in Giovanni’s curtainless room, which he keeps dark to protect their privacy. But Hella’s return to Paris brings the affair to a crisis, one that rapidly spirals into tragedy. Caught between his repressed desires and conventional morality, David struggles for self-knowledge during one long, dark night.
13. 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' by L. Frank Baum
Page Count: 154 Pages
Dorothy thinks she’s lost forever when a tornado whirls her and her dog, Toto, into a magical world. To get home, she must find the wonderful wizard in the Emerald City of Oz. On the way she meets the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion. But the Wicked Witch of the West has her own plans for the new arrival… will Dorothy ever see Kansas again?
14. 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' by Douglas Adams
Page Count: 193 Pages
This is the story of Arthur Dent, who, seconds before Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, is plucked off the planet by his friend, Ford Prefect, who has been posing as an out-of-work actor for the last fifteen years but is really a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Together they begin a journey through the galaxy aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, with the words "Don’t Panic" written on the front.
15. 'Sula' by Toni Morrison
Page Count: 192 Pages
Two girls who grow up to become women. Two friends who become something worse than enemies. In this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison tells the story of Nel Wright and Sula Peace, who meet as children in the small town of Medallion, Ohio. Their devotion is fierce enough to withstand bullies and the burden of a dreadful secret. It endures even after Nel has grown up to be a pillar of the black community and Sula has become a pariah. But their friendship ends in an unforgivable betrayal—or does it end?