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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.

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            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.

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              Candide

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

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                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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                  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.

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                    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.

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                      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.

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                        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.

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                          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.

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                            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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                                  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.

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                                        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.

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                                          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.

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                                              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.

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                                                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.

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                                                      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.

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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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                                                                        1 How to Get the Best Deep Sleep (And Why It’s Important) 2 How to Practice Meditation for Anxiety and Stress Relief 3 How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators 4 12 Sad Things That You Should Learn to Be Grateful For Instead 5 7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

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                                                                        Last Updated on September 16, 2019

                                                                        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                                                                        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                                                                        You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

                                                                        We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

                                                                        The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

                                                                        Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

                                                                        1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

                                                                        Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

                                                                        For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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                                                                        • (1) Research
                                                                        • (2) Deciding the topic
                                                                        • (3) Creating the outline
                                                                        • (4) Drafting the content
                                                                        • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
                                                                        • (6) Revision
                                                                        • (7) etc.

                                                                        Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

                                                                        2. Change Your Environment

                                                                        Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

                                                                        One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

                                                                        3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

                                                                        Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

                                                                        Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

                                                                        My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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                                                                        Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

                                                                        4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

                                                                        If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

                                                                        Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

                                                                        I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

                                                                        5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

                                                                        I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

                                                                        Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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                                                                        As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

                                                                        6. Get a Buddy

                                                                        Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

                                                                        I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

                                                                        7. Tell Others About Your Goals

                                                                        This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

                                                                        For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

                                                                        8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

                                                                        What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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                                                                        9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

                                                                        If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

                                                                        Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

                                                                        10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

                                                                        Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

                                                                        Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

                                                                        11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

                                                                        At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

                                                                        Reality check:

                                                                        I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

                                                                        More About Procrastination

                                                                        Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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