The image speaks the truth: I like big books. Most of the time. Not all of the time. Not when I have one class and a master’s thesis topping my to-do list.
My friend told me that she and her book club are reading Bleak House by Charles Dickens. I love Dickens. Great Expectations is a personal favorite. But at just over a thousand pages, this Penguin Classics paperback edition of Bleak House faces the grim prospect of gathering dust on my bookshelf. At least it will be in good company alongside Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Goldfinch. At close to 800 pages, The Goldfinch reminds me that I should probably be opening a textbook of literary criticism for school.
While the bingeworthy stuff takes a backseat to other priorities, I’ve been enjoying some shorter reads this season. In the last week, I read Marina Mander’s The First True Lie. Narrated by a boy named Luca, The First True Lie takes you inside the mind of a child who is lying about the sudden death of his single mother because he does not want to go into foster care. Luca refers to himself as a “half-orphan” when the story begins because he has never known his father. After discovering his mother’s body in her bedroom, Luca tries to keep up appearances, caring for himself and his only companion, a kitten named Blue. Those who liked Emma Donoghue’s Room will probably enjoy The First True Lie, and at less than 150 pages, it’s a brisk read.
I was also delighted to find this list of “The 10 Best Books Shorter Than 150 Pages” that author Sarah Gerard curated for Publishers Weekly. I may try one of her recommendations in the coming weeks. Until then, I find myself savoring one essay at a time from Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, although my professors might cringe to know that this collection is ranked #1 on Amazon for feminist theory. Bad Feminist is comprised of Gay’s keen and wry observations on being a 21st century feminist. It’s not feminist literary theory.
Do you have any books under 150 pages that you would recommend here?