Sometimes you just don't have the time or inclination to sink into a long or complex book. Sometimes you just want light and fluffy, or quick and entertaining. I'm in the process of moving to a new house and I'm SO busy with working from home, blogging, and packing, that reading has been taking a back seat. But, a quick book - I can always find time for something short and engaging.

 

I've actually read all these books so I can vouch for their brevity AND their readability. Many Must-Read lists tend to focus on the shiny new publications - and those are fun....but you'll see that many of these are back list books. Back list books are often easier to find at the library or at thrift stores because the big rush to read them has passed. But, they are still good books - take a look and tell me what you think of my reading recommendations. (the list is from shortest to longest by page count)

12 QUICK-Read books to enjoy

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

Genre: General Fiction

Published 2007, 120 pages

 

This delightful novella was such a surprise. Easy to finish in a day, it's the story of the Queen of England accidentally finding her local mobile library. What starts as an obligatory borrow turns into a rediscovery of her joy in reading. Guided by a servant in the palace, her reading ranges far and wide and starts to influence her governing. I loved this story for its creative premise and the amazing use of words - so many great words!!!

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

Genre: General Fiction

Published 2015, 179 pages

 

A quiet book, simply written but impactful. It proves that there's the possibility of affection and love at any age, and that you don't have to live out your last years alone. It also illustrates how family can be detrimental to that very growing relationship. I found this book remarkable.  Reviewed here.

Brunelleschi's Dome by Ross King

Genre: Nonfiction

Published 2000, 192 pages

 

I couldn't put this book down - it's a well researched book about the building of the Duomo dome in Florence. Although it's ostensibly about the builder (who was actually a clock maker and goldsmith), it's about so much more. It gives a great slice-of-life look at Florence of the time, the politics, his contemporaries of daVinci and Donatello, the plagues and events of the 28 years it took to build the dome. Highly recommended for a weekend reading.

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel

Genre: Nonfiction

Published 2017, 203 pages

 

The fascinating story of a 20 year old man who drove into the woods of Maine and disappeared. He wouldn't speak to another person for 28 years as he lived alone in a tent, hidden in the woods. The book talks about how he survived and what happened when the world found him. It's an amazing story of an amazing situation and another recommended quick read.

The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter

Genre: General Fiction

Published 1976, 216 pages

 

I loved this book when I read it years ago. It spoke to me. It reads like a memoir and is very evocative of the time and place - about a little boy who is orphaned and is adopted by his Cherokee grandparents in TN. Each chapter is about a lesson he learns about living with the land and about Cherokee traditions. When he is taken away by the whites to begin schooling, we see the cruelty inflicted on Native children. I found the book charming and so touching. Then - there was a firestorm of controversy when it was discovered that the book in fact is NOT a memoir and he is not Native. If the Own Voices is of importance to you, you might skip this recommendation. If, however, you want to enjoy a book for the story and can set aside the controversy, this is a winner!

Driving Over Lemons by Chris Stewart

Genre: Nonfiction

Published 1999, 256 pages

 

A husband buys a decrepit sheep farm in southern Spain and then has to convince his wife to move and start a new life. The British couple find that the farm lacks a few essentials like running water, electricity, even a road. However, they love the rugged land, the fruit groves, and the people. If you're in the mood for a brave adventure in a foreign land, this is the quick read for you.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Genre: Fantasy, General Fiction

Published 2007, 304 pages

 

Her debut novel is a winner! A quick, pleasant, interesting story about two sisters who grow up with magic and the magical properties of food. One moves away and one stays, starts a safe catering company where her food 'enhances' every event. The sister returns home with a daughter, and lives change as each sister finds love in an unexpected place. Very reminiscent of Practical Magic but different enough to be delightful in its own right.

To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

Genre: YA, General Fiction

Published 2017, 320 pages

An epistolary novel, this story is about two pre-teen girls whose gay dads fall in love and now they have to become a blended family - and no way do they want that! Through emails and letters we follow along as theses two young girls find their way to becoming friends and more. Charming, well written with good characters, and a quick read!  Reviewed here.

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

Genre: Mystery

Published 2019, 304 pages

An Edgar and Anthony award winner, this excellent novel is set in rural Texas featuring a black Texas Ranger who has a pile of personal problems. The mystery is solid - two seemingly unrelated murders, a black man passing through town and a local white woman. The case definitely has racial overtones and Darren has to navigate the difficult situation AND deal with personal issues. It's so well written, the pages seem to turn themselves!  Reviewed here.

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Genre: YA, General Fiction

Published 2016, 328 pages

This book has a little higher page count, but it reads so easily and quickly, you'll fly through the pages. A teenage girl's mom dies, her father remarries and moves them to LA where she doesn't feel like she fits in at all. She gets a series of mysterious texts from another student helping her navigate the high school dramas but she doesn't know who it is. As she tries to find her place in the new school, new family, and new friends, she learns more about herself. Some stereotyping going on here, but overall, a quick read with some depth.

Copyright Information

© Bookshelf Journeys, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terrie Purkey and Bookshelf Journeys with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.   2019

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