When it comes to books, longer certainly doesn’t mean better. While getting lost in an epic novel for weeks on end is exciting, sometimes you just want to curl up on a dark January evening and consume a story in one go. With so many people setting themselves reading challenges at the start of the year here are the nine of the best books you can read in a day. I always have the last two week rush at the end of the year when I’ve no where near met my reading target. However by sprinkling in shorter books you’ll be able to consume more. And is there a better way to spend a cold, dark evening?
One of the saddest things about reading a book you really love is finishing it. It feels like a loss leaving the characters or author’s voice behind. In that sense, shorter books lose out. However, just because a book has fewer pages doesn’t mean it can’t be as jam packed with amazing writing. And if it takes you an evening to finish the book whose to say you can’t read it again? Here are some of the best short reads to get stuck into ASAP.
1. ‘Sula’ by Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison is one of the most celebrated writers of the 20th century and Sula is one of the many reasons why. Nell and Sula are the best of friends, closer than close. They share each others’ wishes and desires. When Sula leaves to go live her dreams, Nell gets married and loses her trust for her friend. Stigmatised by those with a small town mentality, Sula fights for the life that she dreamed for herself.
2. ‘This Is Going To Hurt’ by Adam Kay
This Is Going To Hurt has enjoyed bestseller status and was book of the year at the National Book Awards 2018. In short, it’s brilliant. Former junior doctor Adam Kay recalls the monumental highs, painful lows, and particularly hilarious moments of his time after medical school. Reading like a diary you’ll fly through this book and then read it all over again. There’s no shortage of laughs, heartbreak or bodily fluids.
3. ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell
Animal Farm is a classic and was on my ‘to read’ list for a very long time. It helps that you can fly through this in one sitting. When the animals of Manor Farm overthrow their owner Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually an elite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control. This is masterful political commentary.
4. ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ by Mohsin Hamid
International bestseller and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize you’ll get lost in The Reluctant Fundamentalist even if it’s just for a night. A chance meeting in Lahore with a stranger leads the protagonist to learn all about his life. However, as the story takes a turn it becomes clear there was nothing coincidental about this meeting.
5. ‘Heartburn’ by Nora Ephron
Norah Ephron has been hailed queen of the romantic comedy and Heartburn is no exception. Coming to the end of her pregnancy, cookery writer Rachel finds out that the husband she thought was devoted to her is actually cheating on her. She embarks on a journey to win him back, get revenge, and cook up some seriously amazing dishes in the process.
6. ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
What does modern feminism mean to you? Developed from her TEDx talk and quoted by Beyonce in her song Flawless Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie outlines what it’s like to identify as a woman and feminist in the 21st century. Many women have the vote and the right to go out and work, but when little girls are still taught to value their appearance and marriage above anything else we hardly have equality.
7. ‘Different Seasons’ by Stephen King
If anyone can send a chill down your spine it’s Stephen King. His collection of four short stories make up Different Seasons and were the basis for Stand By Me, Apt Pupil, and The Shawshank Redemption. With murder, coercion, and extremely bizarre behaviour, you could dip into each of these stories over four nights. Just make sure you’re not in the house alone.
8. ‘If You’re Not Yet Like Me’ by Edan Lepucki
Joellyn leaves no stone unturned telling her unborn daughter about how she came to be. From having a particularly dysfunctional courtship with unemployed, poorly dressed Zachary to learning to not judge herself and accept her new life. If You’re Not Yet Like Me highlights that it might not always go to plan but life can still end up pretty brilliant.
9. ‘Women & Power’ by Mary Beard
Celebrated classicist Mary Beard unpacks the stories from the mythical to modern day of the powerful women that have gone through history and how we’ve got to the point we’re at today. She looks at how misogyny and patriarchy are so ingrained in society and how powerful women have thrown away the rules and written their own instead of trying to fit into a world designed by and to benefit men.
Reaching your reading goals for the year doesn’t have to be stressful and just because a book takes up little space on your shelf doesn’t mean it won’t draw you in and teach you something new. If you’re wanting to spend a self care evening devouring a book then you can’t go wrong with these nine.