Last Updated on February 9, 2023 by BiblioLifestyle
This Sunday is the Super Bowl. Two teams are playing, and that’s all we know. If you’re like us and books are more your speed, you may want to use this time to catch up on your reading, maybe even finish a book in one sitting. We have curated a list of the best short books to read across genres that you can finish in the time it takes to watch the Super Bowl. The catch? No commercial breaks and no bad calls, and if the halftime show is your thing – you may need to make up that time afterward. The challenge? Try not to spill dip, sauce, food, or drinks on your book.
All reading times are approximate, and we used How Long To Read to calculate read times to help us curate this list of best short books.
Short Books To Read
TIN MAN by Sarah Winman
READ TIME: 2 hours 45 mins
From internationally bestselling author Sarah Winman comes an unforgettable and heartbreaking novel celebrating love in all its forms, and the little moments that make up the life of one man. This is almost a love story. But it’s not as simple as that.
THE THIRD HOTEL by Laura van den Berg
READ TIME: 3 hours 31 minutes
In Havana, Cuba, a widow tries to come to terms with her husband’s death―and the truth about their marriage―in a surreal, mystifying story of psychological reflection and metaphysical mystery.
SULA by Toni Morrison
READ TIME: 3 hours and 11 minutes
Morrison tells the story of Nel Wright and Sula Peace, who meet as children in the small town of Medallion, Ohio. Their devotion is fierce enough to withstand bullies and the burden of a dreadful secret. It endures even after Nel has grown up to be a pillar of the black community and Sula has become a pariah. But their friendship ends in an unforgivable betrayal—or does it end?
THE CIRCUS by Jonas Karlsson
READ TIME: 3 hours and 11 minutes
A real-life vanishing act leaves one man looking for his missing friend. Is this part of the act? What’s happened to Magnus? And who is it calling on the phone in the dead of night, breathing into the receiver, but never saying a word? The Circus is a funhouse mirror of a read—one that ingeniously reveals the way we see ourselves and the stories we tell.
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FEVER DREAM by Samanta Schweblin
READ TIME: 3 hours 11 minutes
A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She’s not his mother. He’s not her child. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins, and the power and desperation of family.
FOLLOW ME TO GROUND by Sue Rainsford
READ TIME: 3 hours and 27 minutes
A haunted, surreal debut novel about an otherworldly young woman, her father, and her lover that culminates in a shocking moment of betrayal—one that upends our understanding of power, predation, and agency.
TURBULENCE by David Szalay
From the acclaimed, Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author of All That Man Is, a stunning, virtuosic novel about twelve people, mostly strangers, and the surprising ripple effect each one has on the life of the next as they cross paths while in transit around the world.
PERSUASION by Jane Austen
READ TIME: 4 hours 8 minutes
Jane Austen’s last completed novel, marrying witty social realism to a Cinderella love story. Set in the fashionable societies of Lyme Regis and Bath, Persuasion is a brilliant satire of vanity and pretension, but, above all, it is a love story tinged with the heartache of missed opportunities.
GOODBYE, VITAMIN by Rachel Khong
READ TIME: 3 hours 27 minutes
Her life at a crossroads, a young woman goes home again in this funny and inescapably moving debut from a wonderfully original new literary voice. Told in captivating glimpses and drawn from a deep well of insight, humor, and unexpected tenderness, Goodbye, Vitamin pilots through the loss, love, and absurdity of finding one’s footing in this life.
THE FRIEND by Sigrid Nunez
READ TIME: 3 hours 43 minutes
A moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog. The Friend is both a meditation on loss and a celebration of human-canine devotion.
MY SISTER THE SERIAL KILLER by Oyinkan Braithwaite
READ TIME: 3 hours 45 minutes
A short, darkly funny, hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends. Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s deliciously deadly debut is as fun as it is frightening.
RED AT THE BONE by Jacqueline Woodson
READ MORE: 3 hours 27 minutes
An unexpected teenage pregnancy pulls together two families from different social classes, and exposes the private hopes, disappointments, and longings that can bind or divide us from each other, from the New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming.
LANNY by Max Porter
READ MORE: 3 hours and 32 minutes
Lanny is a ringing defense of creativity, spirit, and the generative forces that often seem under assault in the contemporary world, and it solidifies Porter’s reputation as one of the most daring and sensitive writers of his generation.
GHOST WALL by Sarah Moss
READ MORE: 2 hours 31 minutes
A taut, gripping tale of a young woman and an Iron Age reenactment trip that unearths frightening behavior. A story at once mythic and strikingly timely, Ghost Wall urges us to wonder how far we have come from the “primitive minds” of our ancestors.
THE LAST BOOK PARTY by Karen Dukes
READ TIME: 4 hours 15 minutes
A page-turning, coming-of-age story, written with a lyrical sense of place and a profound appreciation for the sustaining power of books, Karen Dukess’s The Last Book Party shows what happens when youth and experience collide and what it takes to find your own voice.
What do you think about this list of best short books to read in the time it takes to watch the Super Bowl?
Have you read any books from this list? Have any caught your attention? What short books would you add to this list? Let’s talk about it in the comments.