Weekly Spotlight: Short Novels

Flavorwire.com recently published an article listing fifty books that are under 200 pages. We thought this was such a great idea that we wanted to share with you some of our picks for books with a short page count (our picks are between 150-250 pages). These are not short story collections, but books that are short in length. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to read something quickly. Read one of these picks in an afternoon sitting!

Lost Cat by Caroline Paul

lost catWhat do our pets do when they’re not with us? Caroline Paul and Wendy MacNaughton offer a tender, hilarious look at how they used everything from cutting-edge technology to psychics to track the adventures of their beloved cat Tibia.

Genna says: I loved this book! It’s a fast read at 159 pages, and includes many beautiful illustrations. The way Caroline characterizes cats is very true to how cat owners think their cats are thinking. It’s very heartwarming and a must read for anyone who loves cats.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

ocean at the end of the laneIt began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed – within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

  • 2013 Nominated British Science Fiction Association Awards
  • 2013 Won Galaxy National Book Award
  • 2014 Nominated Audie Award

Surrender Dorothy by Meg Wolitzer

surrender dorothyEvery August since college, Sara, Adam, Maddy, and Peter have shared the same summer house on the eastern shore of Long Island. The shining light of the crowd has always been Sara, a young woman with an allure that causes women to confide in her and men to fall in love with her. When Adam — a noted gay playwright — and Sara decide, on the very first night of their vacation, to ride into town to get some ice cream, “death is nothing more than a far-away province, a kingdom reserved for parents and grandparents, and the valiant young men who walk in soldierly groups.” But then tragedy occurs and the overriding question becomes: Who owns this broken girl?

Limitations by Scott Turow

limitationsLife would seem to have gone well for George Mason. His days as a criminal defense lawyer are long behind him. At fifty-nine, he has sat as a judge on the Court of Appeals in Kindle County for nearly a decade. Yet, when a disturbing rape case is brought before him, the judge begins to question the very nature of the law and his role within it. What is troubling George Mason so deeply? Is it his wife’s recent diagnosis? Or the strange and threatening e-mails he has started to receive? And what is it about this horrific case of sexual assault, now on trial in his courtroom, that has led him to question his fitness to judge?

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson 

we have always lived in the castleTaking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate.

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

mrs dallowayIn Mrs. Dalloway, the novel on which the movie The Hours was based, Virginia Woolf details Clarissa Dalloway’s preparations for a party of which she is to be hostess, exploring the hidden springs of thought and action in one day of a woman’s life. The novel “contains some of the most beautiful, complex, incisive and idiosyncratic sentences ever written in English, and that alone would be reason enough to read it. It is one of the most moving, revolutionary artworks of the twentieth century” (Michael Cunningham).

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka 

buddha in the atticPresents the stories of six Japanese mail-order brides whose new lives in early twentieth-century San Francisco are marked by backbreaking migrant work, cultural struggles, children who reject their heritage, and the prospect of wartime internment.

  • 2011 Nominated National Book Awards
  • 2011 Won New York Times Notable Books of the Year
  • 2011 Nominated Los Angeles Times Book Prizes
  • 2012 Nominated PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
  • 2013 Nominated International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk

snuffFrom the master of literary mayhem and provocation, a full-frontal Triple X novel that goes where no American work of fiction has gone before. Cassie Wright, porn priestess, intends to cap her legendary career by breaking the world record for serial fornication. On camera. With six hundred men. Snuff unfolds from the perspectives of Mr. 72, Mr. 137, and Mr. 600, who await their turn on camera in a very crowded green room. This wild, lethally funny, and thoroughly researched novel brings the huge yet underacknowledged presence of pornography in contemporary life into the realm of literary fiction at last. Who else but Chuck Palahniuk would dare do such a thing? Who else could do it so well, so unflinchingly, and with such an incendiary (you might say) climax?

The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

the enchantedThe lady is watched by a death row inmate who finds escape in the books he reads from the prison library and by reimagining the world he inhabits–a world of majestic golden horses that stampede underground and of tiny men who hammer away inside stone walls. He is not named, nor do we know his crime. But he listens. He listens to York’s story. He sees the lady fall in love with the priest and wonders how such warmth is possible in these crumbling corridors. As tensions in “this enchanted place” build, he sees the corruption and the danger. And he waits as the hour of his own destiny approaches.

The Enchanted is a magical novel about redemption, the poetry that can exist within the unfathomable, and the human capacity to transcend and survive even the most nightmarish reality. Beautiful and unexpected, this is a memorable story.

Painted Cities by Alexai Galaviz-Budziszewski

painted citiesTo those outside it, Pilsen is a vast barrio on the south side of Chicago. To Alexai Galaviz-Budziszewski, it is a world of violence and decay and beauty, of nuance and pure chance. It is a place where the smell of cooking frijoles is washed away by that of dead fish in the river, where vendettas are a daily routine, and where a fourteen-year-old immigrant might hold the ability bring people back from the dead.

Simultaneously tough and tender, these stories mark the debut of a writer poised to represent his city’s literature for decades to come.

 Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

wide sargasso seaThe novel is prequel to Charlotte Brontë’s famous 1847 novel Jane Eyre. It is the story of Antoinette Cosway, a white Creole heiress, from the time of her youth in the Caribbean to her unhappy marriage to a certain English gentleman—he is never named by the author—who soon renames her, declares her mad and then requires her to relocate to England. Caught in an oppressive patriarchal society in which she belongs neither to the white Europeans nor the black Jamaicans, Rhys’s novel re-imagines Brontë’s devilish madwoman in the attic. As with many postcolonial works, the novel deals largely with the themes of racial inequality and the harshness of displacement and assimilation. – Wikipedia

The Call by Yannick Murphy

the callWhen a hunting accident leaves his son in a coma, the son’s veterinarian father tries to find the man responsible while maintaining normalcy for his family until an unexpected visitor asks a favor that will test his resolve and force him to come to terms with what it truly means to be a family.

  • 2011 Won Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year
  • 2012 Won L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award
 
The Story of a Marriage by Andrew Sean Greer
story of a marriageIt is 1953 and Pearlie, a dutiful housewife, finds herself living in the Sunset district of San Francisco, caring not only for her husband’s fragile health but also for her son, who is afflicted with polio. Then, one Saturday morning, a stranger appears on her doorstep and everything changes. All the certainties by which Pearlie has lived are thrown into doubt. Does she know her husband at all? And what does the stranger want in return for his offer of $100,000? For six months in 1953, young Pearlie Cook struggles to understand the world around her, most especially her husband, Holland.
  • 2009 Nominated Lambda Literary Awards
  • 2009 Nominated Publishing Triangle Awards

Gilded Age by Claire McMillan
gilded ageIntelligent, witty, and poignant, Gilded Age presents a modern Edith Wharton heroine-dramatically beautiful, socially prominent, and just a bit unconventional-whose return to the hothouse of Cleveland society revives rivalries, raises eyebrows, and reveals the tender vulnerabilities of a woman struggling to reconcile her desire for independence and her need for love.
Returning to her home in Cleveland after a scandalous divorce and stint in rehab, Ellie, unable to feel socially complete without a husband, uses her beauty and connections to identify a second marital candidate.

 

 

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