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Book Lists

37 Short Books You Can Read in a Day

Maybe you want to put the mammoth-sized books aside for another time.

Last Updated on April 19, 2024 by BiblioLifestyle

Short Books To Read in a Day

Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough time to read?  Maybe you’re in the middle of a reading rut or even a reading slump. Or you’re really not in the mood to tackle those mammoth-sized books on your shelves that are constantly staring you down.  Believe me, I get it.  So I decided to compile a list filled with some great short books to read in a day or less. So whether you’re looking for a new page-turning book to get lost in or a feel-good story to brighten your day, you will find some options of short books to read here on this list.  So what are you waiting for?   Pick up one of these short books to read from across genres and get lost in the world of the story.  Get reading!

Short Books To Read in a Day

  1. The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams
  2. Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-joo, translated by Jamie Chang
  3. Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
  4. Acts of Service by Lillian Fishman
  5. A Year Without a Name by Cyrus Grace Dunham
  6. The Hawk’s Way by Sy Montgomery
  7. Weather by Jenny Offill
  8. Famous People by Justin Kuritzkes
  9. An Island by Karen Jennings
  10. Tin Man by Sarah Winman
  11. Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades
  12. Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss
  13. Turbulence by David Szalay
  14. Sula by Toni Morrison
  15. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori
  16. The Goddess Twins by Yodassa Williams
  17. Second Place by Rachel Cusk
  18. The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
  19. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
  20. Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford
  21. The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka
  22. Lanny by Max Porter
  23. Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey
  24. Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson 
  25. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  26. Rizzio by Denise Mina
  27. The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon
  28. What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons
  29. At Night All Blood Is Black by David Diop, translated by Anna Moschovakis
  30. The Third Hotel by Laura Van Den Berg
  31. Assembly by Natasha Brown
  32. Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
  33. The Girl Who Reads on the Métro by Christine Féret-Fleury
  34. Hurricane Girl by Marcy Dermansky 
  35. The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess 
  36. The Circus by Jonas Karlsson
  37. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
The Three of Us - by Ore Agbaje-Williams

The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams

Over the course of one day, the long-standing tensions between a husband, his wife, and her best friend finally come to a breaking point.

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Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-joo, translated by Jamie Chang

A fierce international bestseller that launched Korea’s new feminist movement, Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 follows one woman’s psychic deterioration in the face of rigid misogyny.

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Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin

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.

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Acts of Service by Lillian Fishman

Acts of Service by Lillian Fishman

A provocative debut of sex and sexuality as a twentysomething New Yorker pursues sexual freedom that follows no other lines than her own desire.

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A Year Without a Name by Cyrus Grace Dunham

A Year Without a Name by Cyrus Grace Dunham

For as long as they can remember, Cyrus Grace Dunham felt like a visitor in their own body. Their life was a series of imitations–lovable little girl, daughter, sister, young gay woman–until their profound sense of alienation became intolerable. Written with disarming emotional intensity in a voice uniquely theirs, A Year Without a Name is a potent, thrillingly unresolved queer coming of age story.

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The Hawk's Way by Sy Montgomery

The Hawk’s Way by Sy Montgomery

From the beloved New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist of The Soul of an Octopus comes a charmingly perfect gem of a book about the most exquisite and extraordinary of winged creatures—hummingbirds.

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Weather by Jenny Offill

Weather by Jenny Offill

From the beloved author of the nationwide best seller Dept. of Speculationone of the New York Times Book Review‘s Ten Best Books of the Yeara “darkly funny and urgent” (NPR) tour de force about a family, and a nation, in crisis.

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Famous People by Justin Kuritzkes

Famous People by Justin Kuritzkes

This fresh, smart novel in the guise of a celebrity memoir probes the inner life of a mega-famous pop star.

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An Island by Karen Jennings

An Island by Karen Jennings

A novel about a lighthouse keeper with a mysterious past, and the stranger who washes up on his shores.

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Tin Man by Sarah Winman

Tin Man by Sarah Winman

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.

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Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades

Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades

A debut novel about a group of friends and their immigrant families from Queens, New York—a tenderly observed, fiercely poetic love letter to a modern generation of brown girls.

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Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

In the north of England, far from the intrusions of cities but not far from civilization, Silvie and her family are living as if they are ancient Britons, surviving by the tools and knowledge of the Iron Age.

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Turbulence by David Szalay

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.

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Sula by Toni Morrison

Sula by Toni Morrison

Two girls who grow up to become women. Two friends who become something worse than enemies. Their friendship ends in an unforgivable betrayal–or does it end? Terrifying, comic, ribald, and tragic, Sulais a work that overflows with life.

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Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori

A bewitching portrayal of contemporary Japan through the eyes of a single woman who fits into the rigidity of its work culture only too well..

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The Goddess Twins by Yodassa Williams

The Goddess Twins by Yodassa Williams

After years of traveling the world, black identical twins Aurora and Arden think they’ve settled into normalcy in Ohio. But days before their eighteenth birthday, the snarky twins develop powers in telekinesis and telepathy―at the same time that their famous mother, who’s on tour in London, disappears.

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Second Place by Rachel Cusk

Second Place by Rachel Cusk

A study of female fate and male privilege, the geometries of human relationships, and the moral questions that animate our lives. It reminds us of art’s capacity to uplift―and to destroy.

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Second Place is one of The 10 Best Fiction Books of 2021.

The Friend by Sigrid Nunez

The Friend by Sigrid Nunez

When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has left behind. Her own battle against grief is intensified by the mute suffering of the dog, a huge Great Dane traumatized by the inexplicable disappearance of its master, and by the threat of eviction: dogs are prohibited in her apartment building.

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Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

This masterpiece of modern fiction was Jean Rhys’s return to the literary center stage. With Wide Sargasso Sea, her last and best-selling novel, she ingeniously brings into light one of fiction’s most fascinating characters: the madwoman in the attic from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.

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Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford

Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford

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.

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The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka

The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka

A novel about what happens to a group of obsessed recreational swimmers when a crack appears at the bottom of their local pool—a tour de force of economy, precision, and emotional power.

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Lanny by Max Porter

Lanny by Max Porter

There’s a village an hour from London. It’s no different from many others today: one pub, one church, redbrick cottages, some public housing, and a few larger houses dotted about. Voices rise up, as they might anywhere, speaking of loving and needing and working and dying and walking the dogs. This village belongs to the people who live in it, to the land and to the land’s past.

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Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey

Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey

Composed almost exclusively of conversations between women—the stories they tell each other, and the stories they tell themselves—Topics of Conversation careens through twenty years in the life of an unnamed narrator hungry for experience and bent on upending her life.

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Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

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.

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Persuasion by Jane Austen

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Published in 1818, Persuasion was Jane Austen’s last completed novel. In this compelling love story, Anne Elliott is unhappy and unmarried at twenty-seven. At the urging of her family, she broke her engagement to the man she loved eight years before because he was poor and didn’t have good family connections. When they meet again, he is wealthy, a captain in the navy, and looking for a wife, but he has not forgiven Anne for her rejection and resolves not to fall in love with her again.

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Rizzio by Denise Mina

Rizzio by Denise Mina

From the multi-award-winning master of crime, Denise Mina delivers a radical new take on one of the darkest episodes in Scottish history—the bloody assassination of David Rizzo, private secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots, in the queen’s chambers in Holyrood Palace.

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Rizzio is one of the books on The 2021 Fall Minimalist Reading Guide.

The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon

The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon

A powerful, darkly glittering novel of violence, love, faith, and loss, as a young woman at an elite American university is drawn into a cult’s acts of terrorism.

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What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

From an author of rare, haunting power, a stunning novel about a young African-American woman coming of age–a deeply felt meditation on race, sex, family, and country.

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At Night All Blood Is Black by David Diop, translated by Anna Moschovakis

At Night All Blood Is Black by David Diop, translated by Anna Moschovakis

Peppered with bullets and black magic, this remarkable novel fills in a forgotten chapter in the history of World War I. Blending oral storytelling traditions with the gritty, day-to-day, journalistic horror of life in the trenches, David Diop’s At Night All Blood is Black is a dazzling tale of a man’s descent into madness.

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At Night All Blood Is Black is one of The 10 Best Fiction Books of 2020.

The Third Hotel by Laura Van Den Berg

The Third Hotel by Laura Van Den Berg

In Havana, Cuba, a widow tries to come to terms with her husband’s death–and the truth about their marriage–in Laura van den Berg’s surreal, mystifying story of psychological reflection and metaphysical mystery.

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Assembly by Natasha Brown

Assembly by Natasha Brown

Assembly is a story about the stories we live within – those of race and class, safety and freedom, winners and losers. And it is about one woman daring to take control of her own story, even at the cost of her life.

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Assembly is one of The 10 Best Fiction Books of 2021.

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

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.

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The Girl Who Reads on the Métro by Christine Féret-Fleury

The Girl Who Reads on the Métro by Christine Féret-Fleury

A modern fairytale about a French woman whose life is turned upside down when she meets a reclusive bookseller and his young daughter.

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Hurricane Girl by Marcy Dermansky

Hurricane Girl by Marcy Dermansky 

A propulsive and daring new novel by the author of Very Nice about a woman on the run from catastrophe, searching for love, home, a swimming pool, and for someone who can perhaps stop the bleeding from her head.

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The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess

The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess

A propulsive tale of ambition and romance, set in the publishing world of 1980’s New York and the timeless beaches of Cape Cod.

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The Circus by Jonas Karlsson

The Circus by Jonas Karlsson

A real-life vanishing act leaves one man looking for his missing friend in thisKafkaesque new novel from the author of The Room and The Invoice.

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My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Korede’s sister Ayoola is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead, stabbed through the heart with Ayoola’s knife.

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What do you think about this list of short books to read?

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.

List of Best Short Books To Read in a Day

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  1. Joan Nomides says:

    I love this list and want to download it so I can print it. Any advice?

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