I read a lot. A lot. A lot. A lot. Unsurprisingly, I therefore spend quite a lot of time reading – often to the detriment of work productivity, family time, a social life and other productive pursuits. I definitely go through these moods where the company of fictional characters or other minds is preferable to interaction with actual individuals.
We live in a busy world – work, kids, traffic, cooking, chores, socialising and the general bustle of living – so when people realise how much I read, the reaction is either…1) where the hell do you find the time?…or 2) I don’t have time to read (#2 is poppycock by the way – spend 10 minutes less on Facebook before bed and ta-dahhh!)
Books don’t need to be long, tedious affairs. My best friend recently told me she’s finding time for reading again now that her daughter is at an age where she can read on her own, and so they’ve created ‘book time’ (love, love, love this idea)…so she asked me for some recommendations for quick reads.
How to define a ‘quick read’? Books that are short don’t necessarily qualify – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is well over 600 pages and I finished it in just under 2 days (neglecting all else), while Between the World and Me, which is under 200 pages took me twice as long because of the density of the subject matter and the ideas.
For the purposes of this post, I settled on the following criteria:
- No more than 400 pages
- Easy to pick up, put down, and pick up again
- High levels of concentration not required…i.e., no heavy stuff (metaphorically speaking!)
The following would make the cut for this list of quick reads…what would you add?
- Matilda (Roald Dahl)
- Wonder (R.J. Palacio)
- The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (Jonas Jonasson)
- The Language of Flowers (Vanessa Diffenbaugh)
- Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Trevor Noah)
- The House at the End of Hope Street (Menna van Praag)
- The Uncommon Reader (Alan Bennett)
- The Girls (Emma Cline)
- The Fault in Our Stars (John Green)
- The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives (Lola Shoneyin)
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Mark Haddon)
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)
Would a collection of short stories work too? Quiver Full of Arrows etc?
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Most definitely could! The thing I struggle with in short stories is usually being unsatisfied with the depth of character development and plot line development. Sometimes they’re over before they begin which frustrates me! Having said that, I did really like Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies so that could be added!