I’ve always been in awe of readers who don’t finish books. What do you mean you got halfway through and lost interest? You read the first chapter and decided to try another? How do you stay so easy breezy with your reading choices? As soon as I commit to a book, it’s on. Come rain or shine, we’re both in it until that last page has been read. I will always power through a book I may not even like, maybe because there’s no greater joy than the feeling of finishing a book.
I did it. Check it off the list. Conquered.
As a perpetual page-turner that just can’t quit, I usually reach for the short books and the quick listens. Commitment level is low. It also means I can confidently meet my yearly reading goals with ease. Lucky for me, there’s no shortage of short books that are worth a read. As we barrel toward the end of the year, you may be looking at your reading goals and trying to squeak in a few more books. With only about a month to go, quick reads, novellas, short stories and audiobooks under 5 hours are just the thing to help you meet your reading challenge.
The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy
British illustrator and author Charlie Mackesy explores life's lessons with his wistful and inspiring black-and-white drawings. The book offers hope in uncertain times through its characters: a curious boy, a greedy mole, a wary fox and a wise horse who find themselves together in sometimes difficult terrain, sharing their greatest fears and biggest discoveries. It’s a beautiful jaunt through their imaginary world, with an emotionally moving, if not tearful, revelation on each page:
“What’s your greatest discovery?” asked the mole.
“That I’m enough as I am,” said the boy.
The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
This poetry collection from Rupi Kaur, along with her first, Milk and Honey, both debuted on the New York Times bestseller list, which is not an everyday occurrence for poets. After reading them, it’s easy to see why. She takes readers through the pains and passions of life, and so gently and eloquently puts words to these very real and raw human experiences. Divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, The Sun and Her Flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising and blooming. A celebration of love in all its forms.
The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman
The world watched in awe on Jan. 21, 2021, as the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history took the stage and captivated all of us with her words of hope and her call for unity and healing. Her poem, “The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country,” can now be cherished by any reader (or listener) looking for some inspiration. Including an enduring foreword by Oprah Winfrey, this remarkable keepsake celebrates the promise of America and affirms the power of poetry.
The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Bachman
A father and a son are seeing each other for the first time in years. The father has a story to share before it's too late. He tells his son about a courageous little girl lying in a hospital bed a few miles away. As he talks about this little girl, the father also reveals more about himself: his triumphs in business, his failures as a parent, his past regrets, his hopes for the future. Now, the father has been given an unexpected chance to do something remarkable that could change the destiny of a little girl he hardly knows. But before he can make the deal of a lifetime, he must find out what his own life has actually been worth, and only his son can reveal that answer. With humor and compassion, this short story reminds us that life is a fleeting gift, and our legacy rests in how we share that gift with others.
Maybe Not by Colleen Hoover
If you haven’t read anything by bestselling author Colleen Hoover just yet, this novella is a great place to keep your feet wet. When Warren has the opportunity to live with a female roommate, he instantly agrees. It could be an exciting change. Or maybe not. Especially when that roommate is the cold and seemingly calculating Bridgette. Tensions run high and tempers flare as the two can hardly stand to be in the same room together. But Warren has a theory about Bridgette: Anyone who can hate with that much passion should also have the capability to love with that much passion. And he wants to be the one to test this theory. Will Bridgette find it in herself to warm her heart to Warren and finally learn to love? Maybe. Maybe not.
Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown
“True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.” Social scientist Brené Brown, PhD, MSW, has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives—experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame and empathy. With her trademark mix of research, storytelling and honesty, Brown will again change the cultural conversation while mapping a clear path to true belonging.
Sparring Partners by John Grisham
In his first collection of novellas, law is a common thread, but America’s favorite storyteller has several surprises in store with “Homecoming,” “Strawberry Moon” and “Sparring Partners.” By turns suspenseful, hilarious, powerful and moving, these are three of the greatest stories John Grisham has ever told.
The Grownup by Gillian Flynn
Fans who read Flynn’s 2012 instant classic Gone Girl will appreciate this Edgar Award-winning homage to the classic ghost story, published for the first time as a standalone. “The Grownup,” which originally appeared as “What Do You Do?” in George R. R. Martin’s Rogues anthology, proves once again that Gillian Flynn is one of the world’s most original and skilled voices in fiction.