12 Brilliant Short Novels You Can Finish In A Three-Day Weekend

Daunted by Don Quixote? Don’t have seemingly infinite time to finish Infinite Jest? Our entire list of highly-recommended short novels can fit inside both Les Miserables and War and Peace with room to spare. On this long President’s Day weekend, we’re also commemorating these easy, unhurried reads that pack so much more into so much less—our cap is set at 60,000 words. Our brief guide breaks the books down by topic which will help you choose one in no time so you can get to reading!

 

 

SHORT READS

 

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill ~59k words

Read this if you are interested in topics such as:

-marriage

-trust/faith

-suspense

-motherhood

 

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid ~58k words

Read this if you are interested in topics such as:

-immigrant life in America/NYC specifically

-Ivy League colleges

-romance

-life in the wake of September 11th

-identity

-the political vs. personal

 

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin ~54k words

Read this if you are interested in topics such as:

-1950s Americans in Paris

-mystery

-desire vs. morality

-passion/heart

 

Sula by Toni Morrison ~50k words

Read this if you are interested in topics such as:

-the story of two girls growing up in Ohio

-friends becoming enemies

-secrets

-racial identities

 

SHORTER READS

 

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson ~48k words

Read this if you are interested in topics such as:

-family drama on the estate in Vermont

-murder/suspense

-mystery

 

The Passion by Jeanette Winterson ~47k words

Read this if you are interested in topics such as:

-Napoleonic Wars

-life as a French soldier under Napoleon

-Living in Venice

-chance encounters

-reality combined with fantasy

 

The Awakening by Kate Chopin ~46k words

Read this if you are interested in:

-the controversy of marital infidelity in the 1800s

-books/authors pushing literary boundaries of the time

 

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes ~41k words

Read this if you are interested in topics such as:

-confronting childhood monsters as a middle-aged man

-divorce

-retirement

-finding identity

 

SHORTEST READS

 

The Stranger by Albert Camus ~37k words

Read this if you are interested in:

-an ordinary man suddenly involved in murder

-absurdity

 

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt ~27k words

Read this if you are interested in topics such as:

-fountain of youth/eternal life

-family life

 

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote ~25k words

Read this if you are interested in:

-a literary classic

-naïveté

-charming, witty women

 

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway ~22k words

Read this if you are interested in:

-simple but powerful literature

-Cuban fisherman’s life

-man vs. beast

-courage in defeat

 

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