One of my new year’s resolutions was to read more books this year. Next thing I know, it’s already March! So for those like me who want to read more, but just can’t find the time, here’s a list of short books, all under 300 pages.
Calvin by Martine Leavitt (young adult, 181 pages)
“Born on the day the last Calvin and Hobbes comic strip was published, 17-year-old Calvin, a schizophrenic, sees and has conversations with the tiger, Hobbes. He believes that if he can persuade the strip’s creator, Bill Watterson, to do one more strip, it will make Calvin well.”
A National Book Award Finalist, this coming-of-age story handles the sensitive topic of teenage schizophrenia really well, with lots of humor and heart to go around. It’s shorter than most young adult, but the story is far from lacking. This one is on my personal To Be Read list.
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi (young adult, 203 pages)
“In a near-future society that claims to have gotten rid of all monstrous people, a creature emerges from a painting 17-year-old Jam’s mother created, a hunter from another world seeking a real-life monster.”
A Stonewall Honor Book, National Book Award Finalist, and winner of the Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature. Packed with great imagery and prose, the story challenges readers to recognize the real monsters, the kind that don’t hide under beds, but still terrorize the world.
We Are Okay by Nina Lacour (young adult, 234 pages)
“Marin hasn’t spoken with anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind to move herself to college, thousands of miles away. She dreads her friend Mabel’s visit, afraid to confront the grief and loneliness she’s been avoiding.”
This book has been on just about every “You Should Read This” list there is, with a plethora of starred reviews and award nominations. With simple prose that packs an emotional punch, the story of grief and love and loneliness deserves its spot in all of the lists. Pack some tissues, this one will make you cry, but a good cry.
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (adult fiction, 285 pages)
“Abandoned in London in 1945, siblings Nathaniel and Rachel are left in the care of an enigmatic figure only known as The Moth, who they suspect is a criminal. A dozen years later, Nathaniel finally starts to unravel the mystery.”
Great for fans of wartime intrigue and smart, sophisticated mystery. A little slow on the pacing, but the vivid, murky descriptions really evoke the time and place of a city only just surviving a war.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (adult fiction, 288 pages)
“Nora Seed finds a library between life and death, filled with books that let her experience other versions of her life, ones where she made different choices. Desperate to find her perfect life, Nora puts herself and the library in danger, and must ultimately decide what is the best way to live.”
Matt Haig also wrote How to Stop Time, which I recommended last February. It was also a Good Morning America Book Club pick! With a playful tone, this sweet, whimsical fantasy reminds readers what’s really important in life.
What Rose Forgot by Nevada Barr (adult fiction, 291 pages)
“Rose Dennis escapes an Alzheimer’s ward, convinced she’s in danger. When a killer attacks, proving the danger real, she must rely on her 13-year-old granddaughter and her hermit sister to piece back together her memory and take back control.”
A fast paced thriller full of action and real stakes, with “prose that practically sizzles,” this book already has a lot going for it. But having a kick-butt grandma as the protagonist, and a razor-sharp look at unreliable narrators, makes it a definite winner.
Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree (adult fiction, 294 pages)
“After retiring from the adventuring life, Viv the orc barbarian decides to create the first ever coffee shop in the city of Thune. When rivals old and new stand in her way, she’ll have to rely on her new friends made family to keep her dream alive.”
Dungeons & Dragons meets comfy-cute coffee romcom, what’s not to love? All of the recommendations say this is a charming, cute, and delightfully positive read, perfect for a quick pick me up. It’s at the top of my To Be Read pile.