It’s that time of year again! The time when the holiday season begins & finding time to enjoy a good book can become scarce. We here at the library have you covered with some recommendations for great, quick reads you can squeeze in between your traveling, cooking, shopping, etc.
I like short stories and I often think that if I keep a collection of them on my bedside table, I’ll read one every night or two, but that’s not what happens: I either read a few and then stall out, or I read the whole collection at the same pace that I’d read a novel. For short reads, then, I enjoy revisiting childhood favorites (The View From Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle) or picking up shorter novels (Andrew Kaufman’s All My Friends Are Superheroes is one of my all-time favorites, as is David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary). I also like memoir-ish essays: Nick Hornby’s “Stuff I’ve Been Reading” column for The Believer (collected as Ten Years in the Tub), Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman, and Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me?. There are lots of choices for quick reads!
My favorite quick read is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It has a poetic, dreamy, philosophical, transporting quality that floats you high above everyday life. The artwork is amazing too.
ORBITING JUPITER BY GARY SCHMIDT!!! I read it last year and LOVED it! It is less than 200 pages, but is packed with heartbreak and character you will fall in love with.
I don’t read many novellas, so by saying this is my favorite novella doesn’t mean much, but Fairest,book 3.5 in the Luna Series by Marissa Meyers, may have been my favorite book in the entire series. I don’t usually recommend reading these side stories in series, but this one is a MUST read.
There are just too many great short stories out there for me to pick just one, but I do have a favorite short story collection, My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by various young adult authors. I love this collection so much that it is now my holiday ritual to read it before New Years each year, this will be year three! Most of the stories are set around Christmas, but Hanukkah, the winter solstice and New Year’s Eve, story written by Rainbow Rowell, are included. There is a mix of fantasy and realistic fiction giving plenty of variety to the love stories featured in the book. Pick a few or read the whole thing, either way, these stories are perfect to cozy up with during those dark winter days!
I really like reading graphic novels/comic books when I want something quick. I’m a big fan of the compilation volumes, as just one issue is too short. Some of my favorites are the Fables series (and the spin-offs), Deadpool, and Squirrel Girl. But really anything graphic and colorful is likely to catch my eye if I’m looking for a quick read, like something to take on my lunch break.
More Baths, Less Talking by Nick Hornby: Hornby has a few collections of essays (first published in The Believer magazine) in which he chronicles books purchased and read that month. I’ve gotten so many great book suggestions from these essays – so your reading list will grow – but the essays are short, hilarious, and fun to read.
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh: I love this collection of comics Brosh has created about events in her life. I read them over and over and laugh every time.
Last Night at the Lobster by Stuart O’Nan: In this short novel, there is a major snowstorm on the last night before a Red Lobster restaurant closes its doors forever. O’Nan excels in tiny details, which shine in this story of how the restaurant’s manager navigates his final shift at his job. I read this several years ago and it has stuck with me.
My favorite short story collection is Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link. Link only writes short stories & has this incredibly unique, surreal voice that I find very appealing. I often found myself thinking about the stories & Link’s evocative writing style long after I finished reading the book. If you’re a fan of magical realism, don’t pass on this one!
Zodiac Starforce by Kevin Panetta & Paulina Ganucheau is a self-contained 1 volume graphic novel. That means you don’t have to worry about getting sucked into a long series & you don’t have to wait for the next run of issues to come out to find out how the story ends. The story follows a group of teenage girls who used to be in a Sailor Moon-esque superhero group, but have broken up. Certain events occur which force the gang to get back together & a world saving adventure ensues. Top it off with bubblegum-pop visuals, and you’ve got a fun & funky way to kill some time.
Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block is a nice short novel that roughly follows the story of the Odyssey after a global warming induced catastrophe causes the world to dramatically change. Our protagonist, Pen, manages to find other survivors, but it’s difficult to tell who is friend and who is foe in the beautiful but terrible world that Block creates. This one’s great on audio too!
Let us know your favorite quick reads (or tips for fitting a book into a crammed schedule) below in the comments!