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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.

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      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.

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                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.

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                                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.

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                                    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.

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                                            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

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                                              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

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                                                            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

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                                                                        Last Updated on November 19, 2019

                                                                        20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                                                                        20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                                                                        Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

                                                                        If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

                                                                        1. Create a Daily Plan

                                                                        Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

                                                                        2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

                                                                        Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

                                                                        3. Use a Calendar

                                                                        Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

                                                                        I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

                                                                        Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

                                                                        4. Use an Organizer

                                                                        An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

                                                                        These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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                                                                        5. Know Your Deadlines

                                                                        When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

                                                                        But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

                                                                        6. Learn to Say “No”

                                                                        Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

                                                                        Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

                                                                        7. Target to Be Early

                                                                        When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

                                                                        For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

                                                                        Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

                                                                        8. Time Box Your Activities

                                                                        This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

                                                                        You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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                                                                        9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

                                                                        Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

                                                                        10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

                                                                        Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

                                                                        You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

                                                                        11. Focus

                                                                        Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

                                                                        Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

                                                                        Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                                                                        12. Block out Distractions

                                                                        What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

                                                                        I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

                                                                        When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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                                                                        Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

                                                                        13. Track Your Time Spent

                                                                        When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

                                                                        You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

                                                                        14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

                                                                        You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

                                                                        Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

                                                                        15. Prioritize

                                                                        Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

                                                                        Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                                                                        16. Delegate

                                                                        If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

                                                                        When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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                                                                        17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

                                                                        For related work, batch them together.

                                                                        For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

                                                                        1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
                                                                        2. coaching
                                                                        3. workshop development
                                                                        4. business development
                                                                        5. administrative

                                                                        I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

                                                                        18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

                                                                        What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

                                                                        One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

                                                                        While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

                                                                        19. Cut off When You Need To

                                                                        The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

                                                                        Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

                                                                        20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

                                                                        Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

                                                                        More Time Management Techniques

                                                                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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