art & literature

Eight Short Books You Can Read In One Day

Sheena Joseph | Jul 24 2020
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If you are someone who has lost touch with your reading habit, there is no doubt that it is a loss. But the good news is that it is never too late to go back. You may think that rebuilding a habit is hard. The secret lies in choosing the right book. All you need is a book that is short and interesting. You will never even get the chance to be bored. Here are some of the iconic books you can finish reading in one day.

1. Animal Farm by George Orwell

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'Animal Farm' might be one of the most interesting and unique books you will ever read. It is an allegorical novella by George Orwell that is told from the point of animals on a farm. The animals are planning a rebellion against the farmer to create a world in which they can be free, equal, and happy. The novella was written in 1945 and the author came up with the plot inspired by the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Orwell was a democratic socialist and criticized Joseph Stalin. He had a hostile attitude to the Stalinist era which formed after the revolution. His satirical tale against Stalin was rejected by several publications but became a great commercial success.

2. Heartburn by Nora Ephron

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Nora Ephron wrote 'Heartburn' after her divorce from Carl Bernstein. The autobiographical novel draws inspiration from the breakdown of her marriage due to Bernstein's extra-marital affair with Margaret Jay, daughter of former British PM James Callaghan. Ephron and Bernstein were one of the power couples of the time and the novel includes vivid details of the end of their relationship.

The novel was originally published in 1983, three years after the events that inspired the plot. Ephron later wrote the screenplay for the movie adaptation as well.

3. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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'We Should All Be Feminists' is an essay by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who has taken the task of defining feminism in the 21st century. The book was adapted from her popular TEDx talk which is known for not only its content but for being viewed over six million times. 

In 2012, the Nigerian author declared that the term 'feminist' is not an insult. She encouraged women across the world to embrace the title as it advocated equity and equality. A part of her TEDx Talk was included in Beyonce's song "***Flawless". The book is known to have received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics and the public alike.

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

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'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' is a New York Times bestseller by Gaiman. It is a fantasy novel narrated by an unnamed protagonist. The plot is centred on the disconnect between childhood and adulthood. The story starts with the narrator returning to his hometown and remembering his childhood friend named Lettie Hempstock who believed that the pond behind her house is an ocean. The story is filled with elements of magical realism and innocent details from Gaiman's childhood.

5. Tinkers by Paul Harding

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Pulitzer Prize-winning novel 'Tinkers' is the first novel by author Paul Harding. The board has called the novel a powerful celebration of life. The plot revolves around an elderly clock repairman on his deathbed and memories of his father who was a tinker selling household goods. ‘Tinkers’ is only the second book to win a Pulitzer after being published by a small publishing house. The New York Times had not even reviewed the book at the time of winning the award for this reason.

6. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

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How can a book list ever be complete without a detective novel from the queen of mysteries Agatha Christie? 'The Mysterious Affair at Styles' is her first published novel and it introduced her popular characters 'Hercule Poirot and Arthur Hastings'. The character of Hercule Poirot was inspired by her own experiences while working as a nurse with Belgian soldiers during the First World War.

The novel was initially published as a weekly series in The Times. When the iconic Penguin Books was founded in 1935, 'The Mysterious Affair at Styles' was one of the ten books first published by them.

7. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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'The Great Gatsby' is known as one of the greatest novels ever written and is considered to be F. Scott Fitzgerald's magnum opus. The book only sold 20,000 copies in its first year but saw a revival during the second world war. However, the author died in 1940 and considered himself to be a failure.

The literary classic was inspired by the posh parties Fitzgerald attended while visiting the North Shore in Long Island. The story is set in a fictional town called West Egg and East Egg. The protagonist is millionaire Jay Gatsby who is obsessed with reuniting with his ex-lover Daisy Buchanan.

Though the narrative is fictional, the novel provides insights into the hedonistic society of the Jazz Age. The story of Jay Gatsby is inspired by Fitzgerald's affair with Ginerva King whose family did not approve of him on the account of his financial status.

8. We have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

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Shirley Jackson is known among millennials for the Netflix adaptation of her book ‘The Haunting of Hill House’. 'We Have Always Lived in a Castle' is her final work. Jackson is noted as one of the best mystery and horror writers ever. She is known to influence the work of a set of writers like Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Sarah Waters, Nigel Kneale, and Joanne Harris.

'We Have Always Lived in the Castle' is narrated in the voice of the 18-year-old protagonist Mary Katherine Merricat Blackwood. The family is recovering from a tragedy and is isolated from the rest of the village. The small-minded villagers treating the rich sisters as outsiders are at the forefront of the novel. It is also a recurring theme in Jackson's work.