With the shortest month of the year upon us, how about a book list full of short yet spectacular fiction reads to match? You’ll be sure to whiz through these stories in no time, and the limited page counts (with each title clocking in under a streamlined 220!) in no way limits the literary power contained in these slender volumes.
The Godmother: A Crime Novel by Hannelore Cayre (185 pages)
This French crime caper spins the tale of a middle-aged-police-translator-turned-drug-dealer and is rife with dark comedy, social commentary, and page-flipping action.
And the Bride Closed the Door by Ronit Matalon (137 pages)
Our eponymous bride only manages to get out the repeated words "Not getting married" in this short and humorous tale—from behind the eponymous closed door, no less. On the other side is her family, her fiancé(?), her not-so-soon-to-be-in-laws, and a rich cast of supporting characters, all trying to get that darn door open and figure out what exactly is going on.
The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud (143 pages)
This counterpart to Camus’s The Stranger introduces readers to Harun, the brother of "the Arab" (given the name here of Musa) who is murdered by Meursault in the original tale. It’s a smacking rebuke of colonialism and a thought-provoking exploration of Arab identity. (P.S.: If you’ve never read The Stranger, it’s under 150 pages—now’s the time!)
Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson (175 pages)
The Free Library’s One Book, One Philadelphia featured selection for 2018, this work tells the story of August and her three best friends as they encounter the promise and peril of adulthood in a 1970s Brooklyn neighborhood that is also undergoing transition. Powerful themes of memory, loss, friendship, and identity emerge in its lyrical pages. Bonus: Once you’ve finished, check out the podcast made with the author during her visit to the Free Library!
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (216 pages)
Having read this (not voluntarily) in high school and left scratching my head, I reread it a few years later and began to understand what all the fuss was about. I continue to pick it up every few years and always garner new insights into the world of Jay Gatsby, a "self-made" millionaire living on Long Island and desperately trying to re-create the past. Its fabulous parties are a shiny gloss that can’t quite cover painful realities about nostalgia, excess, and the "American dream."
As I’ve already paged through these shorties but goodies, I need some recommendations for the month ahead: What are your favorite short reads?