46 Brilliant Short Novels You Can Read In A Day

Great reads under 200 pages. Mostly.

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1. Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Granta / BuzzFeed

Dept. of Speculation, a series of short dispatches from the front line of a marriage, is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking, and often both in the same sentence.

Good grief Dept. of Speculation is good. Beautifully, heartbreakingly, profoundly good.

Anna James@acaseforbooks

Good grief Dept. of Speculation is good. Beautifully, heartbreakingly, profoundly good.

9:57 PM - 26 Feb 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

2. Animal Farm by George Orwell

Penguin / BuzzFeed

Orwell's classic allegory is as sharp and biting as when it was first published nearly 70 years ago, and just as relevant. Well worth a reread.

3. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Penguin / BuzzFeed

A gripping tale of murder most foul on the estate of the Blackwood family, Shirley Jackson's final novel is the kind of book you'll want everyone to read just so you can talk about it.

Still thinking about We Have Always Lived in the Castle - what a clever book. Want to discuss it with someone!

Juliet Mushens@mushenska

Still thinking about We Have Always Lived in the Castle - what a clever book. Want to discuss it with someone!

5:01 PM - 31 Aug 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

4. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

Penguin / BuzzFeed

A book about cultural identity as much as politics, The Reluctant Fundamentalist follows a Princeton-educated Pakistani as his life in America collapses post 9/11.

5. Heartburn by Nora Ephron

Virago / BuzzFeed

In Nora Ephron’s hilarious novel, based on the breakdown of her second marriage, group therapy and infidelity share the page with recipes for pot roast.

6. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Tor / BuzzFeed

If Monty Python had done science fiction it might have been like this. At once supremely silly, laugh-out-loud hilarious, and as British as dead-parrot jokes.

7. Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore

Vintage / BuzzFeed

A woman in a loveless marriage recounts a childhood friendship in this beautifully crafted tale of innocence and growing up.

There's a tenderness to Who Will Run the Frog Hospital that is equal parts remorse and remembrance (poignant?). Overall a great novel.

Paige Occeñola@ohnopaige

There's a tenderness to Who Will Run the Frog Hospital that is equal parts remorse and remembrance (poignant?). Overall a great novel.

10:19 AM - 01 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

8. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Penguin / BuzzFeed

Achebe's classic novel follows Okonkwo, a man who finds himself at odds with society and history amid the changing cultural landscape in Nigeria. 209 pages.

9. The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Melville House / BuzzFeed

The story of a woman trapped in her marriage was condemned when first published in 1899, ending Chopin's career, but is now rightly recognised as a classic.

Reading and loving Kate Chopin's The Awakening. "Even as a child she had lived her own small life all within herself."

Lucy Caldwell@beingvarious

Reading and loving Kate Chopin's The Awakening. "Even as a child she had lived her own small life all within herself."

11:12 AM - 30 Aug 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

10. Shopgirl by Steve Martin

Hyperion / BuzzFeed

An exploration of loneliness, softened by Martin's witty observations and dry humour, Shopgirl follows the titular character as she navigates life in Los Angeles.

11. The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie

Harper Collins / BuzzFeed

Classic Christie, classic Marple. When the body of a young woman is discovered in the library at Gossington Hall, the hunt is on to find out whodunnit.

13. The Giver by Lois Lowry

Houghton Mifflin / BuzzFeed

Explores similar themes to Fahrenheit 451, but written for young adults. Don't let the recent film adaptation put you off.

'The sense of an ending' by Julian Barnes is the best book I have ever, ever read. Read it in a few hours, could not put it down

Caitlin@Caitlinellen__

'The sense of an ending' by Julian Barnes is the best book I have ever, ever read. Read it in a few hours, could not put it down

11:48 PM - 30 Aug 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

16. The Dig by Cynan Jones

Granta / BuzzFeed

A sparse, dark, brutal novella about a Welsh farmer struggling to make a living from his sheep, and an unnamed man digging up badgers to bait.

So I read The Dig by Cynan Jones yesterday. An intense poem of a novel. Quite wonderful writing. Do check it out if you can.

Scott Pack@meandmybigmouth

So I read The Dig by Cynan Jones yesterday. An intense poem of a novel. Quite wonderful writing. Do check it out if you can.

8:01 AM - 03 Mar 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

17. How to Get Into the Twin Palms by Karolina Waclawiak

Two Dollar Radio / BuzzFeed

An absurd, delightful novel about a Polish immigrant in Los Angeles who schemes to reinvent herself in order to gain access to the Twin Palms nightclub.

19. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Penguin / BuzzFeed

Although frequently challenged for its depiction of gang violence and youth drinking, The Outsiders is in fact a classic morality tale wrapped up in '60s street gang culture.

20. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Simon & Schuster / BuzzFeed

This story of an ageing, down-on-his luck fisherman fighting to reel in the catch of a lifetime won Papa a Pulitzer. Some love it, some don't. A must-read either way.

21. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Farrar Straus Giroux / BuzzFeed

This multi-award-winning young-adult novel deals with the trauma caused by rape, and the difficulty victims often have in reporting and talking about sexual assault.

I read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson when I was 14. It changed my life and made me see beyond the safety of my world. #yasaves

Nikki@Nikkayme

I read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson when I was 14. It changed my life and made me see beyond the safety of my world. #yasaves

7:45 AM - 05 Jun 11ReplyRetweetFavorite

22. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Scribner's

Nick Carraway encounters reclusive billionaire Jay Gatsby at a party. Jazz ensues. You may already know the story, but like one of Gatsby's lavish soirées, Fitzgerald's sparkling prose warrants revisiting.

23. Rape: A Love Story by Joyce Carol Oates

Carroll & Graf / BuzzFeed

The aftermath of a gang rape on a young mother is explored in a searing indictment of rape culture and the lack of justice, care, and understanding for victims.

Finished "Rape, a love story" by Joyce Carol Oates. A punch to the gut. When you get your breath back, you realize, you needed that punch.

Dan Therriault@dantherriault

Finished "Rape, a love story" by Joyce Carol Oates. A punch to the gut. When you get your breath back, you realize, you needed that punch.

1:42 PM - 12 Aug 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

24. The Quiet American by Graham Greene

Vintage

A seasoned English journalist in Vietnam watches as a young American turns good intentions into bad policy and bloodshed in this powerful anti-war allegory.

finished 'the passion.' made a noise. stared helplessly into space. turned back to the first page and am now reading it again. #winterson

Helena Fitzgerald@helfitzgerald

finished 'the passion.' made a noise. stared helplessly into space. turned back to the first page and am now reading it again. #winterson

10:47 PM - 13 Jan 13ReplyRetweetFavorite

26. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Scribner / BuzzFeed

The classic fable of a seagull who wants more. Unwilling to conform to the norms of his flock, Jonathan goes in search of a higher purpose to life.

27. Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson

Cape Poetry / BuzzFeed

A novel in verse, Autobiography of Red gives voice to a minor character in Greek mythology, updating his story to the present day. There are those who love it and those who haven't read it. Be the former.

My mind is completely blown after reading Anne Carson's AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF RED for the 1st time. Her sentences are tattooed on my brain.

Michele Filgate@readandbreathe

My mind is completely blown after reading Anne Carson's AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF RED for the 1st time. Her sentences are tattooed on my brain.

6:13 PM - 28 Nov 12ReplyRetweetFavorite

Rereading The Mezzanine for the 3rd time -- it explains so much about our times. Anyone know how to contact Nicholson Baker?

Alexis C. Madrigal@alexismadrigal

Rereading The Mezzanine for the 3rd time -- it explains so much about our times. Anyone know how to contact Nicholson Baker?

1:51 AM - 06 May 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

30. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Farrar, Strauss and Giroux / BuzzFeed

A horror novel following the 12th expedition into the uncharted Area X. Any guesses what happened to the previous 11 expeditions? Nope, weirder than that.

Also really enjoyed Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer, imagine Iain M Banks scripted Lost as a Tarkovsky homage.

Colm Linnane@Librarydotcolm

Also really enjoyed Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer, imagine Iain M Banks scripted Lost as a Tarkovsky homage.

12:46 PM - 29 Aug 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

33. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Puffin / BuzzFeed

The story of Sam, a boy who runs away from home to live in the Catskill mountains, where he befriends a peregrine falcon he names Frightful.

34. The Neon Bible by John Kennedy Toole

Grove Atlantic / BuzzFeed

Written when Toole was just 16, but not published until after his death. Well worth a read for fans of his A Confederacy of Dunces.

35. Speedboat by Renata Adler

Harper Perennial / BuzzFeed

An experimental novel that defies literary convention and category, this mix of fiction, critique, memoir, confession, and essay demands to be experienced.

Am recommending to EVERYONE my read of the summer - Speedboat by Renata Adler. Best novel I've read in such a long time.

Alex Preston@ahmpreston

Am recommending to EVERYONE my read of the summer - Speedboat by Renata Adler. Best novel I've read in such a long time.

11:34 AM - 12 Aug 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

36. Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garciá Márquez

Penguin / BuzzFeed

An ageing journalist requests a virgin prostitute for his 90th birthday, but instead of sex, he finds love for the first time.

37. If You're Not Yet Like Me by Edan Lepucki

Novella / BuzzFeed

A darkly comic novella in which the narrator tells her unborn daughter the story of how she came to be. A romantic comedy with the emphasis on comedy, not romance.

Finished with If You're Not Yet Like Me, by Edan Lepucki: Well, okay. This is as perfect a short story/novella as ... http://t.co/v6VKBaIF9w

Rebecca@rlhazelwood

Finished with If You're Not Yet Like Me, by Edan Lepucki: Well, okay. This is as perfect a short story/novella as ... http://t.co/v6VKBaIF9w

1:47 AM - 07 May 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

38. The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

Harper Perennial / BuzzFeed

A woman assigned to deal with the estate of an old flame finds herself in the middle of a secret war between two mail distributors in Pynchon's satirical novel.

39. The Lover by Marguerite Duras

Pantheon / BuzzFeed

In 1930s Saigon, a young French girl enters into a passionate affair with the son of a wealthy Chinese family that threatens to tear their families apart.

40. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

Penguin / BuzzFeed

The narrator befriends a young New York society girl, Holly Golightly, who relays tales of her dates with wealthy men, and finds himself entranced by her.

w.soundcloud.com

42. Time's Arrow by Martin Amis

Vintage / BuzzFeed

In a reverse narrative, the protagonist moves backwards from death towards the story's beginning and his role in one of the most horrific events in recent history.

the concept and the audacity of Martin Amis to pull off Time's Arrow. Stunning!

anonceleb@anonceleb

the concept and the audacity of Martin Amis to pull off Time's Arrow. Stunning!

7:15 PM - 28 Aug 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

43. Lucinella by Lore Segal

Melville House / BuzzFeed

A witty and searing indictment of the '70s New York literary scene, in which a poet observes her peers at a writer's colony upstate.

Excited doesn't begin to cover it. Lucinella's the weirdest, most wonderful book I've read in years http://t.co/WMxVjmZgAi @melvillehouse

Emily Freyer@emfreyer

Excited doesn't begin to cover it. Lucinella's the weirdest, most wonderful book I've read in years http://t.co/WMxVjmZgAi @melvillehouse

8:05 PM - 30 Sep 13ReplyRetweetFavorite

45. A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf

Penguin / BuzzFeed

An essay in narrative form, arguing against the treatment of women both as fictional characters and as writers of fiction in a male-dominated literary world.

46. Ablutions by Patrick deWitt

Granta / BuzzFeed

An alcoholic bartender in Los Angeles observes the lonely, broken, and grotesque characters who populate his bar, among whom he may be the most broken.

Patrick deWitt's Ablutions is an astonishing first novel with a second person narrative. Brutal yet brilliant and visceral. I loved it.

Ranjit@qtfan

Patrick deWitt's Ablutions is an astonishing first novel with a second person narrative. Brutal yet brilliant and visceral. I loved it.

8:10 PM - 15 Sep 11ReplyRetweetFavorite

Why not take a stroll to your local bookshop and buy one?

This list isn't exhaustive. If there's a short novel we've missed, please add it in the comments below so others might enjoy it. Oh, and just because you can read these in a day doesn't mean you have to. Happy reading!

H/T to Flavorwire / Reddit / Go Book Yourself.