Advertising
Advertising

35 Brilliant Short Books Anyone Can Find The Time To Read

35 Brilliant Short Books Anyone Can Find The Time To Read

If you lead a busy life, settling down to read a book may seem unfeasible. If you’re disappointed by this, yet keen to indulge in classic literature, you can find solace in the less demanding world of novellas.

This narrative form usually consists of around 80 to 150 pages. Despite their diminutive nature, novellas have amassed many classics. They demand far less time if you have a hectic lifestyle, enabling you to discover many brilliant new authors. The following are 35 such books anyone can find the time to read.

    The Call of the Wild

    by Jack London

    London’s tale of primitive reawakening. Buck, a domesticated dog, grows increasingly wild after he is stolen from his owner. An exhilarating read.

    Print | eBook | Audiobook


      Three Tales

      by Gustave Flaubert

      Flaubert’s sublime work consists of A Simple Heart, Saint Julian the Hospitalier, and Hérodia. They deal with themes of love and loneliness.

      Print | eBook


        Different Seasons

        by Stephen King

        Four inspiring novellas from King make up Different Seasons. Two were adapted into the films Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me.

        Print | eBook | Audiobook


          Modern Classics Outsider

          by Albert Camus

          Also known as The Stranger, Camus’s classic portrays the life of Meursault. His refusal to behave according to society’s norms causes trouble, for which he is unrepentant.

          Print


            The Wall

            by Jean-Paul Sartre
            The Wall is a gritty account of three POWs awaiting execution. The intense thoughts and feelings they struggle with make this a disturbing classic.

            Print | eBook


              Candide

              by Voltaire
              Young Candide refutes his tutor’s claims about the world, leading to an astute satire mocking politics, science, religion, and philosophy.

              Print | eBook | Audiobook


                Animal Farm

                by George Orwell
                Orwell’s legendary polemical allegory places the Soviet Union into a farm. It’s a gripping read, and is a regular staple in literary education.

                Advertising

                Print | eBook | Audiobook


                  The Old Man and the Sea

                  by Ernest Hemingway
                  Hemingway’s classic sees an old man take to the sea in search of a great catch. A stirring tale about adversity and the struggles of life.

                  Print | eBook | Audiobook


                    The Snows of Kilimanjaro

                    by Ernest Hemingway
                    Ten of Hemingway’s emotive short stories form this memorable book. It’s classic Hemingway and belongs on everyone’s book shelf.

                    Print | eBook | Audiobook


                      Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

                      by Philip K. Dick

                      Themes of humanity and reality run throughout as protagonist Rick Deckard hunts down humanlike replicants. The film Blade Runner is loosely based on Dick’s novella.

                      Print | eBook


                        The Catcher in the Rye

                        by J.D. Salinger
                        Notorious for unfortunate reasons, Salinger’s tale of angst-ridden Holden Caulfield has captured the attention of many teenagers.

                        Print | eBook | Audiobook


                          The Driver’s Seat

                          by Muriel Spark
                          Scottish writer Spark’s “metaphysical shocker.” After 16 years in a tedious job, Lise heads off on a hedonistic, self-destructive holiday.

                          Print | eBook | Audiobook


                            Anthem

                            by Ayn Rand
                            Rand’s striking, dystopian novel about a future world where individuality has been eliminated.

                            Print | eBook | Audiobook


                              Bonjour Tristesse

                              by Françoise Sagan

                              Sagan became famous overnight with Bonjour Tristesse. It follows carefree, 17-year-old Cécile as she holidays with her father, but her uneven emotional state leads to tragedy.

                              Print


                                Lord of the Flies

                                by William Golding

                                Golding’s enduring classic about school boys stranded on a desert island. Their attempts to govern themselves soon lead to anarchy.

                                Advertising

                                Print | eBook | Audiobook


                                  The Awakening

                                  by Kate Chopin

                                  Published in 1899, Chopin’s short novel was ahead of its time in dealing with the topics of marital problems, adultery, and the role of women in society.

                                  Print | eBook | Audiobook


                                    Why I Am So Wise

                                    by Friedrich Nietzsche

                                    Why I am So Wise is an insightful excerpt from Ecce Homo (Nietzsche’s last book). It’s a fascinating example of his genius.
                                    Print | eBook


                                      The Ballad of the Sad Café

                                      by Carson McCullers

                                      McCullers’s weirdly wonderful story of small-town life. It portrays a bizarre human triangle involving rampaging macho desire and female resolve.

                                      Print | eBook | Audiobook


                                        Post Office

                                        by Charles Bukowski

                                        A hilarious account of Bukowski’s time at a post office. His wild antics may not be for everyone, but it’s a fine example of Beat Generation writing.

                                        Print | eBook | Audiobook


                                          Tristessa

                                          by Jack Kerouac

                                          Kerouac fell in love with the novella’s eponymous Mexican girl in the ’50s, and his musings on her drug addiction are very moving.

                                          Print | Audiobook


                                            Satori In Paris

                                            by Jack Kerouac

                                            Interested in Buddhism, Kerouac headed to Paris to research his family history (satori is the experience of kenshō – “seeing one’s true nature”). Distracted, what followed was high, drunken comedy.

                                            Print | eBook


                                              After the Quake

                                              by Haruki Murakami

                                              Advertising

                                              Six stories from the famed Murakami. After the Quake considers the devastating Kobe earthquake of 1995, and how it transformed a nation.

                                              Print | eBook | Audiobook


                                                The Sorrows of Young Werther

                                                by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

                                                Goethe’s tragic masterpiece examines a young man balancing his artistic nature with the demands of the critical world.

                                                Print | eBook | Audiobook


                                                  Notes From the Underground

                                                  by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
                                                  One of only four novellas from the Russian great, Notes From the Underground is based around the musings of a disorderly, alienated individual

                                                  Print | eBook


                                                    One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

                                                    by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

                                                    Solzhenitsyn’s brutal account of a man in a Soviet labor camp shocked the world upon its release. Gritty, revelatory reading.

                                                    Print | eBook | Audiobook


                                                      Of Mice and Men

                                                      by John Steinbeck

                                                      Steinbeck’s classic is the moving tale of two amiable men struggling for work in the Great Depression.

                                                      Print | eBook | Audiobook


                                                        Goodbye Tsugumi

                                                        by Banana Yoshimoto

                                                        A reflective novel on strained childhood friendships in Japan. Yoshimoto uses the pen name Banana as she finds it “purposefully androgynous.”

                                                        Print


                                                          Ethan Frome

                                                          by Edith Wharton

                                                          Wharton’s novella deals with a dreary domestic situation in New England. The arrival of lively Mattie shakes up the order, with conflicting results.

                                                          Print

                                                          Advertising


                                                            Mrs. Caliban

                                                            by Rachel Ingalls

                                                            A surreal love story by one of literature’s forgotten female writers. Here, a Californian housewife indulges in an affair with a small green monster.

                                                            Print | eBook


                                                              The Visitor

                                                              by Maeve Brennan

                                                              A poignant tale focusing on Anastasia King, who returns to her grandmother’s house but finds herself estranged from her family.

                                                              Print | eBook


                                                                Death in Venice

                                                                by Thomas Mann

                                                                Traveling writer Gustav von Aschenbach heads to Venice in search of spiritual fulfillment. He is led astray by primitive desires.

                                                                Print | eBook


                                                                  The Dead

                                                                  by James Joyce

                                                                  Irish novelist Joyce details a New Year’s Eve gathering in Dublin. An emotionally charged, brilliant account of family life unfolds.

                                                                  Print


                                                                    King Cophetua

                                                                    by Julien Gracq

                                                                    Set in the French countryside of 1917 as World War I rages, Gracq’s beautiful tale displays all the anxieties of the time.

                                                                    Print


                                                                      The Crying of Lot 49

                                                                      by Thomas Pynchon

                                                                      Pynchon’s innovative story of Oedipa Maas. She becomes snared in a global conspiracy, learning life lessons along the way.

                                                                      Print | eBook | Audiobook


                                                                        The Invention of Morel

                                                                        by Adolfo Bioy Casares

                                                                        This suspenseful tale takes in seemingly impossible romances on an enigmatic island. It’s an inspiring consideration of exploration.

                                                                        Print

                                                                        More by this author

                                                                        Lifehack Reads

                                                                        Lifehack Reads is the curated collection of our favorite books, carefully categorized and sorted by our Editorial Team.

                                                                        10 Inspirational Books That Can Change Your Life 27 Must Read Books Every Novel Lover Should Read at Least Once 1 Minute Book Summary: 59 Seconds 2 Minutes Book Summary: How the World Sees You Good Book to Read: What I Know For Sure

                                                                        Trending in Lifestyle

                                                                        1 How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck 2 How to Find Weight Loss Meal Plans That Work for You 3 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go 4 How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries 5 How to Manage Anxiety: Sound Advice from a Mental Health Expert

                                                                        Read Next

                                                                        Advertising
                                                                        Advertising
                                                                        Advertising

                                                                        Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                                                                        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                                                        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                                                        Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                                                                        You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                                                                        Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                                                                        1. Work on the small tasks.

                                                                        When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                                                                        Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                                                                        2. Take a break from your work desk.

                                                                        Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                                                                        Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

                                                                        Advertising

                                                                        3. Upgrade yourself

                                                                        Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                                                                        The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                                                                        4. Talk to a friend.

                                                                        Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                                                                        Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                                                                        5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                                                                        If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                                                                        Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                                                                        Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

                                                                        Advertising

                                                                        6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                                                                        If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                                                                        Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                                                                        Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                                                                        7. Read a book (or blog).

                                                                        The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                                                                        Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                                                                        Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                                                                        8. Have a quick nap.

                                                                        If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

                                                                        Advertising

                                                                        9. Remember why you are doing this.

                                                                        Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                                                                        What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                                                                        10. Find some competition.

                                                                        Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                                                                        Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                                                                        11. Go exercise.

                                                                        Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                                                                        Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                                                                        As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

                                                                        Advertising

                                                                        Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                                                                        12. Take a good break.

                                                                        Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                                                                        Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                                                                        Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                                                                        Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                                                                        More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                                                                        Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

                                                                        Read Next