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The 54 Best Short Books you can Read in a Day

“What are the best short books?” We looked at 15 articles and 224 different books in an attempt to answer that very question. Below you will find our results of the 54 top short books of all-time. Click here to see the methodology used.

The Type of intro Paragraph That can be Found in a Best Short Books Listicle

We’ve all had a 15 lb book that sits on our nightstand or bookshelf for months after starting, the bookmark only moving ever so slowly through. “It’s great, I swear” friends will say, “you just have to get through the first 400 pages!” When all is said and done, you either give up on the book part way or slog through to the very end, neglecting other books for weeks or months at a time. This list does not include any of those types of books! We’ve consulted the experts, and come up with 54 of the best books that you can breeze through in a single setting.

 

The Top 54 Books You Can Read in a Day

Number of listicles consulted: 15
Total Number of Books: 224

 



54.) A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

Appears On: 2 lists
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A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf


53.) After the Quake by Haruki Murakami

Appears On: 2 lists
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After the quake by Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (Translator)


52.) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Appears On: 2 lists
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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland #1) by Lewis Carroll, Camille Rose Garcia (illustrator)


51.) Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Appears On: 2 lists
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Annihilation (Southern Reach #1) by Jeff VanderMeer


50.) Anthem by Ayn Rand

Appears On: 2 lists
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Anthem by Ayn Rand


49.) Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Appears On: 2 lists
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Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne


48.) Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson

Appears On: 2 lists
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Autobiography of Red (Red #1) by Anne Carson


47.) Billy Budd, Sailor by Herman Melville

Appears On: 2 lists
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Billy Budd, Sailor by Herman Melville


46.) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Appears On: 2 lists
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Brave New World by Aldous Huxley


45.) Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Appears On: 2 lists
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Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, Gregory Rabassa (translator)


44.) Dept. of Speculation byJenny Offill

Appears On: 2 lists
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Dept. of Speculation, Jenny Offill


43.) How to Get Into the Twin Palms by Karolina Waclawiak

Appears On: 2 lists
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How to Get into the Twin Palms by Karolina Waclawiak


42.) Sleepless Nights by Elizabeth Hardwick

Appears On: 2 lists
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Sleepless Nights by Elizabeth Hardwick


41.) The Art Of War by Sun Tzu

Appears On: 2 lists
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The Art of War by Sun Tzu


40.) The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

Appears On: 2 lists
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The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe #1) by Raymond Chandler


39.) The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Appears On: 2 lists
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The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sherlock Holmes #5) by Arthur Conan Doyle


38.) The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Appears On: 2 lists
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The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton


37.) The Pearl by John Steinbeck

Appears On: 2 lists
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The Pearl, by John Steinbeck


36.) The Prince by Niccolo Macchiavelli

Appears On: 2 lists
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The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli


35.) The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Appears On: 2 lists
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The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes


34.) The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway

Appears On: 2 lists
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The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway


33.) The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Appears On: 2 lists
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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson


32.) The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

Appears On: 2 lists
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The Time Machine by H.G. Wells


31.) The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Appears On: 2 lists
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The Turn of the Screw by Henry James


30.) Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Appears On: 2 lists
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Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy #1) by Chinua Achebe


29.) Time’s Arrow by Martin Amis

Appears On: 2 lists
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Time's Arrow by Martin Amis


28.) Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore

Appears On: 2 lists
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Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore


27.) Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan

Appears On: 3 lists
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Bonjour tristesse by Françoise Sagan


26.) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Appears On: 3 lists
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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury


25.) Night by Elie Wiesel

Appears On: 3 lists
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Night (The Night Trilogy #1) by Elie Wiesel, Marion Wiesel


24.) Notes From The Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Appears On: 3 lists
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Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Andrew R. MacAndrew (Translator, Afterword), Ben Marcus


23.) Speedboat by Renata Adler

Appears On: 3 lists
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Speedboat by Renata Adler


22.) Sula by Toni Morrison

Appears On: 3 lists
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Sula by Toni Morrison


21.) The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

Appears On: 3 lists
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The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger


20.) The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

Appears On: 3 lists
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The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon


19.) The Lover by Marguerite Duras

Appears On: 3 lists
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The Lover (The Lover) by Marguerite Duras, Barbara Bray (Translator)


18.) The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker

Appears On: 3 lists
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The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker


17.) The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Appears On: 3 lists
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The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Jeffrey Eugenides



16.) Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

Appears On: 3 lists
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Train Dreams by Denis Johnson


15.) We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Appears On: 3 lists
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We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, Jonathan Lethem


14.) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Appears On: 4 lists
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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens


13.) Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

Appears On: 4 lists
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Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote


12.) Candide by Voltaire

Appears On: 4 lists
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Candide by Voltaire


11.) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Appears On: 4 lists
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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley


10.) The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Appears On: 4 lists
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The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka


9.) The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Appears On: 4 lists
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The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Burton Pike


8.) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Appears On: 5 lists
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Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck


7.) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Appears On: 5 lists
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The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald


6.) The Stranger by Albert Camus

Appears On: 5 lists
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The Stranger by Albert Camus, Matthew Ward


5.) The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Appears On: 6 lists
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The Awakening by Kate Chopin


4.) Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

Appears On: 7 lists
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Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton


3.) The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Appears On: 7 lists
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The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway


2.) Animal Farm by George Orwell

Appears On: 8 lists
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Animal Farm, by George Orwell


1.) Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Appears On:8 lists
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Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad

 



The Other 170 Best Short Books That Only Appear on a Single List
  • 10-Minute Declutter – Barrie Davenport and S.J. Scott
  • A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
  • A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings – Gabriel García Márquez
  • Ablutions by Patrick deWitt
  • Adé‘ by Rebecca Walker
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
  • Alfred Hitchcock: The Man Who Knew Too Much – Michael Wood
  • All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” — Robert Fulghum
  • Amsterdam by Ian McEwan
  • An Event in Autumn – Henning Mankell
  • At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom by Amy Hempel
  • Awakening, Kate Chopin
  • Being There by Jerzy Kosinski
  • Black Water – Joyce Carol Oates
  • Born Standing Up” — Steve Martin
  • Brokeback Mountain – Annie Proulx
  • By Night in Chile by Roberto Bolaño
  • Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl
  • Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White
  • Chéri, Colette
  • Chicken Soup For The Soul” — Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen
  • Child of God by Cormac McCarthy
  • Death in Spring’ by Merce Rodoreda
  • Death in Venice – Thomas Mann
  • Deep Ellum by Brandon Hobson
  • Different Seasons – Stephen King
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick
  • Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff … and it’s all small stuff” — Richard Carlson, Ph.D
  • Dubliners – James Joyce
  • Economics in One Lesson – Henry Hazlitt
  • Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World, Donald Antrim
  • Fear and Trembling by Amelie Nothomb
  • For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide, When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange
  • Franny and Zooey, J.D. Salinger
  • Ghosts, César Aira
  • Giovanni’s Room James Baldwin
  • Goings by Gordon Lish
  • Goodbye Tsugumi – Banana Yoshimoto
  • Guns – Stephen King
  • Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen
  • Heart of a Dog, Mikhail Bulgakov
  • Heartburn by Nora Ephron
  • House Made of Dawn, N. Scott Momaday
  • Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
  • If You’re Not Yet Like Me by Edan Lepucki
  • In the Orchard, the Swallows by Peter Hobbs
  • In the Penal Colony – Franz Kafka
  • In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan
  • Into the War by Italo Calvino
  • Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino
  • Jakob von Gunten by Robert Walser
  • John the Posthumous by Jason Schwartz
  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
  • King Cophetua – Julien Gracq
  • Lady Susan – Jane Austen
  • Larger Than Life – Jodi Picoult
  • Leaving the Atocha Station, Ben Lerner
  • Lifeboat No. 8 – Elizabeth Kaye
  • Lord of the Flies – William Golding
  • Lucinella by Lore Segal
  • Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garciá Márquez
  • Mile 81 – Stephen King
  • Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West
  • Mrs. Caliban – Rachel Ingalls
  • Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
  • Natural Histories by Guadalupe Nettel
  • Nightwood, Djuna Barnes
  • Nikola Tesla: Imagination and the Man That Invented the 20th Century – Sean Patrick
  • Nine Stories – J.D. Salinger
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  • Not a Star‘ by Nick Hornby
  • Not to Disturb by Muriel Spark
  • O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  • Passing by Nella Larsen
  • Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo
  • Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood – Marjane Satrapi
  • Pnin, Vladimir Nabokov
  • Pobby and Dingan by Ben Rice
  • Poke the Box – Seth Godin
  • Post Office – Charles Bukowski
  • Rape: A Love Story by Joyce Carol Oates
  • Ravel by Jean Echenoz
  • Ray by Barry Hannah
  • Safety Tips for Living Alone – Jim Shepard
  • Satori In Paris – Jack Kerouac
  • Second Variety – Philip K. Dick
  • Sh*t My Dad Says – Justin Halpern
  • Sherlock Holmes: The Ultimate Collection – Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Shopgirl by Steve Martin
  • Silas Marner by George Eliot
  • Smile: The Astonishing Powers of a Simple Act – Ron Gutman
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Steal Like an Artist – Austin Kleon
  • Symposium By Plato
  • The Adventures of Mao on the Long March by Frederic Tuten
  • The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man By James Weldon Johnson
  • The Ballad of the Sad Café – Carson McCullers
  • The Beauty of the Husband by Anne Carson
  • The Body Artist, Don DeLillo
  • The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie
  • The Bride Wore Black by Cornell Woolrich
  • The Buddha in the Attic, Julie Otsuka
  • The Call of the Wild – Jack London
  • The Case of the Caretaker – Agatha Christie
  • The Communist Manifesto By Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
  • The Complete Tales of Lucy Gold by Kate Bernheimer
  • The Crucible, by Arthur Miller
  • The Dead – James Joyce
  • The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Dig by Cynan Jones
  • The Doors of Perception – Aldous Huxley
  • The Driver’s Seat – Muriel Spark
  • The Elements of Style – William Strunk
  • The Fifth Child – Doris Lessing
  • The Ghost Writer, Philip Roth
  • The Gifts of Imperfection – Brené Brown
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • The Heart of Haiku – Jane Hirshfield
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  • The Invention of Morel – Adolfo Bioy Casares
  • The King, Donald Barthelme
  • The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Lime Twig by John Hawkes
  • The Little Prince By Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  • The Loser by Thomas Bernhard
  • The Magic Toyshop, Angela Carter
  • The Masque of the Red Death – Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Member of the Wedding, Carson McCullers
  • The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra by Pedro Mairal
  • The Most Dangerous Game, by Richard Connell
  • The Neon Bible by John Kennedy Toole
  • The Optimist’s Daughter, Eudora Welty
  • The Orange Eats Creeps, Grace Krilanovich
  • The Outsider – Albert Camus
  • The Passion According to G.H. by Clarice Lispector
  • The Passion by Jeanette Winterson
  • The Plains by Gerald Murnane
  • The Plains of Cement by Patrick Hamilton
  • The Possession by Annie Ernaux
  • The Quiet American by Graham Greene
  • The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
  • The Sign of the Beaver, by Elizabeth George Speare
  • The Tent – Margaret Atwood
  • The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien
  • The Tombs of Atuan, by Ursula K. LeGuin
  • The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip’ by George Saunders
  • The Virtue of Selfishness – Ayn Rand
  • The Visitor – Maeve Brennan
  • The Wall – Jean-Paul Sartre
  • The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • Three Tales – Gustave Flaubert
  • Tristessa – Jack Kerouac
  • Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
  • Utopia, by Thomas More
  • Very Good Lives – J.K. Rowling
  • War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
  • We the Animals, Justin Torres
  • What’s to Become of the Boy? by Heinrich Boll
  • Who Moved My Cheese?” — Spencer Johnson
  • Why I Am So Wise – Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
  • Zazie In The Metro by Raymond Queneau

The Book List Sources Arranged by Publish Date

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