In a previous article I talked about large books, so I thought it was a good idea to make a blog post about short books next. I carefully curated a list of 14 short books for you to read in 2023.
Compared to average books, which are between 300-400 pages long, short books are all under 300 pages. Some of them are even significantly shorter than that, as we will soon see.
You’d think that because they are shorter, that they are always a breeze to read. It is not always the case. Depending on the author’s writing style, some might be quite challenging to read, actually.
Let’s see which 14 short books I recommend to read in 2023.
The Apology by Eve Ensler
From the author of The Vagina Monologues comes this short book, counting only 128 pages. It should be a breeze to read, although the subject matter is on the heavy side. It is a recount of the author’s abuse she suffered at the hand of her father ever since she was a child. This tribute to all sexual assault victims who wait for an apology to come, but most likely never does is a hefty, important book everyone should read.
Bossy Pants by Tina Fey
Changing gears a little, this autobiography of Emmy award winner Tina Fey should be a lighter read. It isn’t all laughs and giggles, as her story includes the hardships she faced as a woman in the entertainment business, but the author’s humor can be noticed in her writing. If you love celebrity memoirs, this one is highly rated and a decent size, at just a few pages under 300.
Oksana, Behave by Maria Kuznetsova
I bought this book more than a year ago from Book Outlet, but it’s still sitting on my shelves. Released in 2019, the book counts 272 pages. After emigrating from Ukraine, Oksana, a young girl grows into an adult in a new land, away from her home. Ever since she was a child Oksana was always misbehaving, but will growing up finally mean she’ll behave better? A cute, interesting debut novel that I suggest you pick up if you want a shorter book to read.
Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfeg
Moshfeg is a new-to-me author, as I only recently read her most popular book, My Year of Rest and Relaxation. This is my second by the author and although the story is different, her writing style is as poignant as in her other works. If there’s one author who does character development well, it has to be Moshfeg. She can cover all the facets of a person’s character and build a story around it. Plot-heavy lovers might not resonate with her books, but if you’re a literary fiction fan, then pick up any of her books. This one is 259 pages and it reads easily.
Want by Lynn Steger Strong
At just over 200 pages, Want is an interesting book that explores variations of violence women expose themselves to by choices they make. Wants and needs we have are at the basis of this story, but the author does it brilliantly. Not only is the story intriguing, but what do you think about that cover? It is a work of art in and of itself. Honestly, I bought the book based on the beautiful cover art before even reading the synopsis.
Sunshine Nails by Mai Nguyen
One of the newest books on this list, this is a lighter, perfect summer read. It is about a Vietnamese family living in Toronto as nail-salon owners. Their lives are not perfect but content, until one day a high-end salon setting up shop across the street threatens their livelihood. This funny yet relatable book will give you a glimpse into how a community must stick together in order to survive. Publication date is July 4th, 2023 by Atria Books, so grab your copy of this summer appropriate read!
Community Board by Tara Conklin
As previously mentioned, I love Tara Conklin’s writing style. Although I liked The Last Romantics more, Community Board is a very engaging, fast read. It is about a small New England community that looks out for each other, quirks and all. Written with humor and wit, you will love some of the characters. You might find some others absolutely infuriating. I enjoy the author’s books tremendously, although this one is very different from her most popular novel, The Last Romantics.
The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano
A work of literary fiction that was published in 2010, The Solitude of Prime Numbers is a very well-written meditation on love and loneliness. Set in Torino, Italy, the author gets your attention from the very first paragraph. To quote the Booklist: “ Beautiful and affecting. An intimate psychological portrait of two ‘prime numbers’- together alone and alone together”. Sounds like a book that will capture your very core and become a favorite of the year. Thoughts to follow once I get to it.
The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva
If you judge a book by its cover, you’d think this is a lighthearted rom-com. But you’ll be surprised to find that the book actually tackles issues such as anxiety, depression, and OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is a fictional story, but one that is still informative and eye-opening. Counting 281 pages, many reviewers mentioned flying through it. That’s how the writing and the story will risk capturing your attention. Can’t wait to dig into this one, especially since the author was kind enough to send me a copy to read and review.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
If you read my April book reviews, you know I enjoyed My Year of Rest and Relaxation.
The author has a unique voice that gives literary fiction a new lens. She uses strong descriptive elements and the book is heavy on strong character development. If you’re looking for a plot heavy book, this one does not fit the bill. But it is a very well written literary novel from a talented contemporary author.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
I’ve mentioned this book on a few different occasions on this blog already. The late Didion has a commanding voice in the literary world. I think that everyone should read at least one of her works at some point in time. This book is one of her best, most popular books yet. Although it was written in 2007, this book is worth mentioning and reading at any point in time. A true classic in contemporary literature, you should definitely give it a try. Counting 227 pages, this one should be quite easy to get through.
The Connellys of County Down by Tracey Lange
This new book by Tracey Lange is coming out on August 1st, 2023 from Celadon Books. The author of We Are the Brennans brings us another family saga that contains lots of character development. It is a great book for the literary fiction lovers that appreciate flawed characters and testing family loyalties. The story follows three siblings, Tara, Eddie, and Geraldine who each have their own issues. Their secrets and fears risk coming to a head after Tara returns home after being incarcerated on a drug charge. Will good intentions and improbable love shine, or will the bitter truth destroy their happiness?
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This is the shortest book I’ve ever read in my life. Or listened to, I should say. In the 45 minutes audiobook the author relays a short story about what it is to be a woman in modern day Nigeria. She mentions all the work that still needs to be done in her society, but listening to the story it rang true to me. It is packed with clever points that we should all apply in our daily lives, whether we identify as male or female. I’ve listened to it on audio, and the narrator’s voice is very convincing at getting the message through. Coming in at 65 pages only, it carries a very important message that we should incorporate into our education systems throughout the world.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Having read this book a few years ago and not loving it, I am due for a re-read. With more than 600,000 Goodreads reviews this book is rated at 3.84 stars. Most people seem to have enjoyed it, but I’m part of the minority who didn’t get it. At times I found it tedious, but it did win a Nobel Prize in literature. Hence, don’t let my opinion of it dissuade you.
It is a very deep and powerful book that you might love. I’m curious to see if my readers share my taste in books, so please give it a chance and share your thoughts on it!
Although many reviewers suggest you go into it blind, you can read the Goodreads synopsis here if you’d like.
And apparently the movie does it justice, but I haven’t seen it yet.
And this sums up the 14 short books I think you should read in 2023. I need to get to a few of them myself, so I’d love to chatr about them once we read them. Keep me posted, I’ll be glad to hear you’ve read at least one of the books i’ve suggested.
Until next time, keep reading fellow bookworms!