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20 Short Books You Can Binge in a Day (Or Two)

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • January 20, 2022

As lifelong readers, many of us cherish youthful memories of devouring whole books in one cozy sitting. Sometimes this experience is just what we need to get out of a reading slump. Here are twenty titles—a mix of fiction and nonfiction—that gave us the cathartic satisfaction of a one (or two) day reading experience.

Fiction

Running the gamut from classic titles to newly discovered gems, these ten slender novels are propulsive, suspenseful, and powerful.

  • Sula—This rich and moving tale by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison traces the lives of two black women from their close-knit childhood in a small Ohio town through their sharply divergent paths into adulthood.
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane—From master storyteller Neil Gaiman, a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fairy tale for grownups. A man returns to his hometown and confronts a mystifying memory from his childhood.
  • Dept. of SpeculationJenny Offill's spare, shimmering prose is packed with wit and wisdom in this portrait of a faltering marriage. It's a beguiling rumination on the mysteries of love, intimacy, and trust.
  • Animal Farm—Both timeless and timely, George Orwell's satirical fable delivers a scathing view of society's tendency toward totalitarianism. When the farm's mistreated animals first take charge, they have the best of intentions.
  • Another BrooklynJacqueline Woodson illuminates the formative time when childhood gives way to adulthood in this depiction of a powerful, indelible, and fleeting friendship that united four young lives.
  • Of Love and Other Demons—Magical realism trailblazer Gabriel García Márquez penned this story about a priest who falls in love with a twelve-year-old girl brought to him for an exorcism after being bitten by a rabid dog.
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's—You may have seen the classic film starring Audrey Hepburn as the unforgettable Holly Golightly, but if you haven't yet read Truman Capote's seductive, wistful novella, now's the time.
  • The Alchemist—Santiago is an Andalusian shepherd boy who embarks on a quest for worldly treasure. Elements of magic, mysticism, wisdom, and wonder infuse Paul Coelho's inspiring tale of self-discovery.
  • Who Will Run the Frog Hospital—In this poignant novel by Lorrie Moore, a woman recalls a wild, youthful summer with her best friend, Sils. But when the seemingly invincible Sils needs her help, everything changes.
  • You Were Never Really Here—This shocking and suspenseful thriller by Jonathan Ames tells the story of an unlikely guardian angel. In an effort to escape the trauma of his past, an ex-Marine rescues girls from the sex trade.

Nonfiction

If you prefer your literature to be based in reality, here are some nonfiction titles you can read from cover to cover in a single sitting.

The best kind of binge is a book binge—no guilt! And if you've fallen into a reading slump, getting a few one-day reads under your belt is the perfect cure. Pick up some of these enticing slim volumes and get back into your groove.

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