3 Award-Winning Books Less than 200 Pages Long

Powerful books you can finish reading in a single day.

3 Award-Winning Books Less than 200 Pages Long
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Powerful books you can finish reading in a single day.

It feels great to say you’ve read 100+ books in a year.

But given how many tasks we plan on a daily basis, it’s difficult to actually get much reading done amidst all the hustle of life.

That’s where short books come in. A book less than 200 pages can be easily completed in a few days, no matter how busy you are. And if you’re a fast reader with a relatively free schedule, you can finish a 200-page book in a single day.

But there’s a perception in the reading community that short books aren’t too good, and most of the content is just fluff.

Of course, that isn’t true. There are some incredible short books you can quickly finish that will enrich your life and leave you with a new perspective.

This post lists three such incredible short books that have also won some major literary awards. Read on. Your next favorite book might be among those on this list.

(Note: The links mentioned in this article are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase these books through them, it will help me earn a small amount — at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)

1. How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa

Number of pages: 179
Genre: Short story collection. Psychological fiction.
Winner of the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize

Image: Goodreads

This is a collection of short stories about Laotian Americans — how new immigrants create space for themselves in a new country while struggling to retain their identity and dignity.

The common thread tying the stories is how the following generation internalizes the feeling of “otherness,” that no matter how well they learn to speak a foreign tongue, they will never be truly considered “natives” because of their skin color or the shape of their eyes.

The author questions what it means to make a living, to work, and to create meaning. Her writing is razor-sharp and the stories are poignant and delightful. The best part is that the characters are real, not the bland, polished caricatures we see in most fiction books. My favorite story was about the mother-daughter pair of worm-keepers.

It was so fascinating to learn of a different culture, a different lifestyle. The book made me realize that even though I have nothing in common with the daughter of a couple who migrated from Laos to America, the emotions that run through our heads are similar.

Purchase the book here.

Note: The Scotiabank Giller Prize is the biggest literary award in Canadian literature with prize money worth $100,000.

2. Poonachi by Perumal Murugan

Number of pages: 170 pages
Genre: Satire/Domestic fiction.
Winner of the 2018 JCB Prize Nominee for Literature

Image: Goodreads

A fascinating piece of literature where our narrator is Poonachi — a black goat living on the farm of an old couple.

The book starts out on a high, with the tiny black goat bullied by other kids on the farm.

As the story progresses, we see the world through her eyes — the dynamics among other animals, their relationships between themselves and with humans, the freedom of roaming in forests, and the captivity of being allowed to graze on pastures but with a rope around one’s neck.

Through the eyes of this naive goat, the author makes a commentary on the socio-economic condition in general. The descriptions feel raw and genuine, almost human at how delicate they are.

Purchase the book here.

3. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Number of pages: 198 pages
Genre: Short story collection. Psychological fiction.
Winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award

Image: Goodreads

I loved reading this book, but if you ask me for a review, all I can do is smile, remembering that subtle magic the book drew me in. I wish I could tell you exactly what the stories are about, but I think it would interest you more if I told you how the book made me feel.

It’s indeed a privilege to be born in an era where we can get to read masterpieces like this.

The beautiful part about this book is that there are nine stories — and though the characters live in the same city, they never meet. In the few short pages we spend with the characters, the author makes us feel deeply for them, rooting for them to win like they are our own people.

Each story begins with the characters struggling, but ends on a positive note, making the reader want to keep on reading the next story.

Jhumpa Lahiri is one of my favorite authors. Her writing never fails to touch my heart. This book is no different.

Purchase the book here.

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