Sometimes, I just want a book I can read in an afternoon. A nice, short read that is still a great (and complete) story. Which is not always the easiest thing to find. Lately, I’ve been reading pretty slowly, which means I am more inclined to pick up shorter books. In my search for something quick to read, I came across a few favorite novellas on my shelves, and decided it would be a great excuse to share them with you. I think there’s a good variety here, but these are all incredible books that I think everyone should read at some point – each one influenced me as a reader, as a writer, and as a person. I also didn’t choose any graphic novels, comic books, or children’s books, because that would be too easy. These are all brilliant examples of adult literature (though they are all appropriate for most ages), and, despite their size, they are some of my favorite books.
- Animal Farm by George Orwell (102 pages). I love George Orwell. 1984 is one of my all-time favorite books, but I did also really love Animal Farm. This book introduced me to satire, and taught me about WWII politics at the same time. I haven’t read it since freshman year of high school – which was thirteen years ago (WHAT!) – so I think it’s time for me to pick this up again. Maybe next year, I’ll make an effort to reread some good books.
- The Time Machine by H. G. Wells (118 pages). This book began my love affair with Victorian science fiction. It’s a classic, and if you like science fiction, it’s a must-read. H. G. Wells was brilliant, and every time I read a modern sci-fi book, I see echoes of his work.
- Night by Elie Wiesel (120 pages). This is the first installment of Wiesel’s memoir trilogy. This book is about his time at Auschwitz during WWII, and it’s one of the books that really got me started learning about the Holocaust. I read it when I was in eighth grade, and literally just found out it wasn’t a standalone a few months ago. At which point I immediately went out and bought the other two books, so it might be time for a reread soon.
- The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (128 pages). This is an important read if only because Kafka is mentioned so often in literature and pop culture. After reading this book, all those references finally made sense! Pop culture aside, this is a brilliant example of surrealist literature, and definitely one of the most unique things I’ve ever read.
- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby (132 pages). Just a heads-up: I cried while reading this book. Okay, fine, I sobbed while reading this book. If you don’t know the story, this is the memoir of Jean-Dominique Bauby, a former editor of French Vogue, who suffered a stroke and woke up with locked-in syndrome – his mind was fully functional, but he was completely paralyzed. He wrote this beautiful book simply by blinking while an assistant recited the alphabet. If that alone doesn’t deem it worth reading, the fact that it is an incredible testament to the human spirit should. Such an amazing book!
That’s it for this installment of Recommended Reading! Have you read any of these books? Are there any other books under 150 pages you think I should read?
P.S. There are multiple editions of all these books, I took the page numbers from the copies I own.