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20 brilliant books you can read in a sitting

Updated on July 26, 2015

Not everyone has time for reading these days. And even if we find some time, we want to spend time reading a good book. Best case scenario would be a book that is both short and a great read. With that in mind, here is list of 20 books that are both good and short, that everyone can enjoy reading in a sitting.

Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis

The novel follows the life of Clay, a rich young college student who has returned to his hometown of Los Angeles, California for winter break during the early 1980s. Through first person narration, Clay describes his progressive alienation from the youth party scene, loss of faith in his friends, and his meditations on important events in his recent past.

Sleepless Nights by Elizabeth Hardwick

In Sleepless Nights a woman looks back on her life - the parade of people, the shifting background of place - and assembles a scrapbook of memories, reflections, portraits, letters, wishes, and dreams.

The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien

The Third Policeman is Flann O'Brien's brilliantly dark comic novel about the nature of time, death, and existence.

The Loser by Thomas Bernhard

The Loser centers on a fictional relationship between piano virtuoso Glenn Gould and two of his fellow students who feel compelled to renounce their musical ambitions in the face of Gould's incomparable genius.

The Lover by Marguerite Duras

Set in the prewar Indochina of Marguerite Duras’s childhood, this is the haunting tale of a tumultuous affair between an adolescent French girl and her Chinese lover.

The Lime Twig by John Hawkes

An English horse race, the Golden Bowl at Aldington, provides the background for John Hawkes' exciting novel, The Lime Twig, which tells of an ingenious plot to steal and race a horse under a false name.

Speedboat by Renata Adler

This strangely wonderful novel isnt for every reader as it has no real plot, no conventionally constructed characters, nothing but an oddly appealing first-person narrator with a quirky sensibility & an intelligent take on a broad range of things.

By Night in Chile by Roberto Bolaño

The story is narrated entirely in the first person by the sick and aging Father Urrutia. Taking place over the course of a single evening, and written mostly in a single paragraph, the book is the macabre, feverish monologue of a flawed man and a failed priest.

Child of God by Cormac McCarthy

In this taut, chilling novel, Lester Ballard--a violent, dispossessed man falsely accused of rape--haunts the hill country of East Tennessee when he is released from jail. While telling his story, Cormac McCarthy depicts the most sordid aspects of life with dignity, humor, and characteristic lyrical brilliance.

The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin

George Orr is a man who discovers he has the peculiar ability to dream things into being—for better or for worse. In desperation, he consults a psychotherapist who promises to help him—but who, it soon becomes clear, has his own plans for George and his dreams.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Merricat Blackwood lives on the family estate with her sister Constance and her uncle Julian. Not long ago there were seven Blackwoods—until a fatal dose of arsenic found its way into the sugar bowl one terrible night. Acquitted of the murders, Constance has returned home, where Merricat protects her from the curiousity and hostility of the villagers.

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez

Chronicle of a Death Foretold is a novella by Gabriel García Márquez, published in 1981. It tells, in the form of a pseudo-journalistic reconstruction, the story of the murder of Santiago Nasar by the two Vicario brothers.

The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers

This is the story of the twelve-year-old Frankie, who is utterly, hopelessly bored with life until she hears about her older brother’s wedding. Bolstered by lively conversations with her house servant, Berenice, and her six-year-old male cousin, Frankie takes on an overly active role in the wedding, hoping even to go, uninvited, on the honeymoon.

The Quiet American by Graham Greene, Robert Stone

As young Pyle's well-intentioned policies blunder into bloodshed, Fowler, a seasoned and cynical British reporter, finds it impossible to stand safely aside as an observer. But Fowler's motives for intervening are suspect, both to the police and himself, for Pyle has stolen Fowler's beautiful Vietnamese mistress.

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf

A Room of One's Own is an extended essay by Virginia Woolf. The essay was based on a series of lectures she delivered at Newnham College and Girton College, two women's colleges at Cambridge University in October 1928.

Ray by Barry Hannah

Nominated for the American Book Award, Ray is the bizarre, hilarious, and consistently adventurous story of a life on the edge. Dr. Ray--a womanizer, small-town drunk, vigilante, poet, adoring husband--is a man trying to make sense of life in the twentieth century.

Jakob von Gunten by Robert Walser

Jakob von Gunten is a first-person account told by its titular protagonist, a young man of noble background who runs off from home and decides to spend the rest of his life serving others. To this end, he enrols at the Benjamenta Institute, a school for servants.

Ghosts by César Aira, Chris Andrews

Ghosts is the story of a construction site in Buenos Aires and its inhabitants: workers, architects, the owners waiting to move in, the interior designers and tradesmen hired to decorate, the drunken caretaker & his family who live on the roof of the building… and of course the ghosts.

In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan

iDEATH is a place where the sun shines a different colour every day and where people travel to the length of their dreams. Rejecting the violence and hate of the old gang at the Forgotten Works, they lead gentle lives in watermelon sugar. In this book, Richard Brautigan discovers and expresses the mood of a new generation.

Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov

Professor Timofey Pnin is a haplessly disoriented Russian émigré precariously employed on an American college campus in the 1950s. Pnin struggles to maintain his dignity through a series of comic and sad misunder-standings, all the while falling victim both to subtle academic conspiracies and to the manipulations of a deliberately unreliable narrator.

If you have already went through one of these books, can your share your opinion on it? What's your verdict?


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