5 Short Books Perfect for Busy Readers

Books you can finish reading in less than a day.

5 Short Books Perfect for Busy Readers
Photo by Masjid Pogung Dalangan on Unsplash

Books you can finish reading in less than a day.

Growing up, the school library was my favorite place to exist in.

From fantasy to memoirs, it had books of every genre, and I knew no matter how much time I spent here, I’d never be able to read all the books.

My school had a funny rule: every week, the students get to issue one book. For the book nerd that I was, one book every week felt too less. I finished my book in less than a day, and spent the rest of the week waiting for a chance to get my hands on a new book.

Things changed when I spotted a few friends issuing meaningless books like a book of alphabets, or a book filled with pictures. When I asked them why they were doing that, one girl replied that she had no interested in reading books. Just because the school rules demanded everyone pick a book each week, she picked something at random.

After that, my happiness knew no bounds.

I recruited five girls who had no interest in reading, and every week, I got to pick five books instead of one.

Including my own, this totalled to six books a week, and the teenage version of me had no problem completing all of them before the next library visit was due.

As I grew older, my love for books remained the same. But now, with work and a million other things competing for my attention, I barely have the time to read. 

If you resonate, this article is for you.

I understand most of us don’t have time to sit still and read books. 

But trust me, reading has always provided me with solace and helped me escape the pressure of daily life. 

If you’re a busy reader looking for quick reads that can elevate your mood, here are my top five short book suggestions for you.

1. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

Image: Goodreads

The Queen stumbles upon a traveling library van parked near Buckingham Palace. Out of respect, she buys a book, even though she’s never been much of a reader. Her life takes a turn and she discovers her new obsession for reading books. 

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Benett is a novella close to my heart and humorously deep. It shows the Queen’s journey from reluctant to passionate reader and I could relate with the character on so many points. 

It was interesting how her newfound love for books broadened her perspective and opened her mind to new ideas. She becomes so invested in reading that she starts neglecting her royal duties. The Queen’s desire for personal fulfillment clashes with society’s expectations of her. It’s funny how we all are facing the same situation, standing at the crossroads between our dreams and the expectations of others.

The Uncommon Reader is a heart-touching story of the Queen’s journey to self-discovery and the role of literature in transforming lives. If you’re not much into books, then try reading this one. It gives a crucial message that you can only find fulfilment in chasing your dreams, not by following the rules in society. 

My favorite quotes from The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

“A book is a device to ignite the imagination.”
“Books are not about passing time. They’re about other lives. Other worlds. Far from wanting time to pass, one just wishes one had more of it. If one wanted to pass the time one could go to New Zealand.”
“You don’t put your life into your books, you find it there.”

2. God Help the Child by Toni Morrison

Image: Goodreads

The trauma of childhood neglect and abuse affects your personal and professional life. The cycle will continue until you choose to heal yourself consciously. God Help the Child by Toni Morrison revolves around a young and beautiful African American woman who’s about to get married. Despite her painful childhood experience and neglect from her white mother, she becomes a successful businesswoman in the fashion industry. 

But the feeling of being unloved and unworthy from childhood is deep-rooted inside her.

These feelings get triggered as she’s betrayed by her lover on her wedding day. He disappears from her life without any explanation. 

As she starts her healing journey, she meets two wonderful women, Rain and Sofia, who force her to confront uncomfortable truths about herself. Rain is a troubled young woman and Sofia is a wise old woman. 

God Help the Child was heart-wrenching and eye-opening at some points. The bride’s journey to self-acceptance felt relatable and made me emotional in a weird way.

The novel has beautifully depicted the effect of childhood trauma and racism in contemporary America. Just like me, I know many of you would be able to resonate deeply with this book. It appeals to the reader to heal their childhood trauma and embrace their true self.

My favorite quotes from God Help the Child by Toni Morrison

“You don’t have to love me but you damn well have to respect me.”
“No matter how hard we try to ignore it, the mind always knows truth and wants clarity.”
“What you do to children matters. And they might never forget.”

3. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Image: Goodreads

A middle-aged man returns to his hometown after decades to attend a funeral starts having weird and otherworldly flashbacks of his past. He finds himself drawn to a farmhouse where he grew up and remembers his long-lost friend Lettie Hempstock, a young girl who claims that the pond on her family’s farm is an ocean. 

As the man forms a bond with Lettie, supernatural things start happening beyond his understanding. If you want to know what happens next, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman should be on your reading list. It’s a perfect blend of fantasy, horror, childhood nostalgia, and the power of imagination.

The protagonist confronts buried memories and the trauma he faced in his childhood that shaped his life. The book was terrifying at times too with haunting descriptions. It shows the innocence of childhood and the power of love. With rich storytelling and elements of fantasy, The Ocean at the End of the Lane will keep you hooked until the end.

My favorite quotes from The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

“Books were safer than other people anyway.”
“Nobody looks like what they really are on the inside. You don’t. I don’t. People are much more complicated than that. It’s true of everybody.”

4. Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala

Image: Goodreads

A young boy’s life takes an unexpected turn when he’s forcibly recruited into a rebel militia after his family is killed and his village destroyed. The Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala is a story based in a West African Nation depicting the brutal realities of war and its effect on children. 

Agu is one such boy whose innocence is lost as he’s introduced to a world of violence and brutality. The book shows the psychological toll of war on a child’s mind.

Beasts of No Nation is an unforgettable story that throws light on the causes of conflict in Africa, political instability, and poverty. It shows the difficulties of child soldiers like Agu, who have to face the horrors of the war at such a tender age. 

Agu’s internal struggle is exaggerated by his manipulative commandant who uses Agu’s vulnerability for his own gain. He finds solace in other child soldiers and reminisces about his life before. Will Agu’s sufferings ever end? Give the book a read to find out.

My favorite quotes from Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala

“I am remembering the soldier who are coming to my village and I am holding my machete closer. I am liking how it is feeling in my hand, like it is almost part of my body.”
“I am waiting outside in the darkness making myself ready for when I go in. So I am thinking as many good thing I can think because if you are thinking good thing, nothing bad is happening to you.”

5. Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel García Márquez

Image: Goodreads

Of Love and Other Demons is a tragic love story set in 18th-century Columbia. Sierva, a young girl was accidentally bitten by a rabid dog, but others believed that she was possessed by a demon. She’s taken to a convent where she meets the priest Cayetano Delaura, who’s appointed to perform exorcism on her. 

The priest becomes captivated by Sierva’s beauty and intelligence. But fate has other plans for them. This is a story of love against superstitions and prejudice.

I was amazed by the portrayal of each character with their own hopes, fears, and desires. Sierva and Delaura’s relationship acts like a catalyst for violence and tragedy leading to a devastating climax. Their story gave me butterflies at times and made my heart drop the next. Overall, Of Love and Other Demons is a hooking read you can finish in one go.

My favorite quotes from Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel García Márquez

“Do not allow me to forget you”
“Crazy people are not crazy if one accepts their reasoning.”
“Disbelief is more resistant than faith because it is sustained by the senses.”

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