Quick Reads for Your Fast Paced Life

Lots of people start the summer with impressive reading plans. But as we know, life is busy, and finding time to read can often be a challenge. If you think it’s hard to find something of quality to read that’s under 200 pages, you’re not alone, but guess what? There are a lot of quick reads at CPL that are also good books. You could read any of these in a weekend, keep a few on hand to read when you get a few minutes of downtime. Summer Reading for the win!

  1. The Grownup by Gillian Flynn (63 pages). No time for Gone Girl? This Edgar Award winning short story by the same author is creepy goodness, compacted.
  2. Train Dreams by Denis Johnson (116 pages). Suffused with the history and landscapes of the American West, this book captures the disappearance of a distinctly American way of life.
  3. The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka (129 pages). Follows the stories of six Japanese mail-order brides whose new lives in early twentieth-century San Francisco.
  4. Heather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner (138 pages.) The story of a collision course between a dangerous young man and a privileged couple who compete for their daughter’s attention.
  5. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (146 pages). A deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate. A classic.
  6. Sisters by Lily Tuck (156 pages). A new wife struggles with her unrelenting obsession with her husband’s first wife.
  7. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (163 pages). A Japanese woman who has been working at a convenience store for eighteen years finds friendship with an alienated, cynical, and bitter young man who becomes her coworker.
  8. Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf (179 pages). A bittersweet yet inspiring story of a man and a woman who, in advanced age, come together to wrestle with the events of their lives and their hopes for the imminent future.
  9. The Vegetarian by Han Kang (188 pages). A darkly allegorical tale of a woman who decides to stop eating meat, is denounced a subversive, and becomes estranged from those closest to her.
  10. Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong (196 pages). Newly dumped by her fiance, Ruth moves back in with her parents, whose decline is both comical and poignant.

Keep Yourself Reading

I’ve always been an avid reader, but sometimes I stall out for weeks at a time. It could be that a book just isn’t clicking with me, and so I never make the time to finish it. Or maybe I finish a particularly challenging or emotional book, and I’m hesitant to jump into a new story right away. Or maybe I’m just busy. Or maybe I’m watching too much Netflix!

If this sounds like you, I can help. Over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks to keep myself always reading.

  1. Keep track of the books you want to read so you never have to wonder “What’s Next?” I love www.goodreads.com for keep tracking of what I’ve read and what I plan to read.
  2. Don’t waste time on a book that isn’t for you. If you’re not enjoying something, allow yourself to read another book instead. Reading for pleasure should never be a chore! You can always come back to that other book later.
  3. If life seems to get in the way of making time for reading, grab something that you can’t put down. It’s OK to indulge in fluffier stories if that’s what keeps your momentum going. You’ll be surprised by the time you suddenly “find” when a book is too good to ignore.
  4. Make reading a part of your routine. Whether it’s with your morning coffee, on your lunch break, or before you go to sleep, try to make a set time to read every single day.
  5. And my favorite tip: When you finish a book, immediately start reading another one, if only just the first page. This remedies the problem of letting a book “sink in” for a day, or two days, before picking up another.

I recently stalled after reading The Nightingale. It was such an emotionally intense book that I couldn’t bring myself to open another after I’d finished it, and soon a week, and then two went by. Luckily, a friend let me borrow a real page-turner, The Headmaster’s Wife, and I got my momentum back. If you like ivy-covered boarding schools, mystery, and intrigue, check it out!

The Nightingale        The Headmaster's Wife

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Headmaster’s Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene