Last year, I recommended 12 short books to help you hit your reading goals before the year’s end. Now, I’m back with even more. Check out these 10 great books to blaze through and reach your target by 2024.
Under 200 pages
The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark, 144 pages
In a world where humans coexist with otherworldly beings, the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities manages the interactions between the magical and the mundane. Senior Agent Hamed al-Nasr and his new partner, Agent Onsi, begin the day on a routine exorcism mission. Soon, however, they unravel a complex mystery surrounding the origins of a dangerous demon inhabiting a possessed tram car.
Numamushi: A Fairy Tale by Mina Ikemoto Ghosh, 112 pages
Burned by napalm as an infant and raised by a river spirit, Numamushi discovers a newfound fascination with humanity when a lonely man moves in next door. The two form a tentative friendship when they find their shared love of frog hunting. As the man teaches Numamushi to read, their new relationship leads them on a transformative journey of healing and growth.
While it’s a short book, Numamushi isn’t one you’ll soon forget. Mina Ikemoto Ghosh’s debut novella explores trauma and redemption through a fantasy lens. This novella leaves behind lingering thoughts that are perfect for the end of the year.
Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan, 112 pages
The weeks leading up to Christmas are the busiest time for coal merchant Bill Furlong. When a routine delivery to the local convent reveals a startling discovery, Bill must confront his own past and the silences of a town controlled by the church.
The cold and dreary setting makes Small Things Like These a great book to curl up with at the end of the year. A small but mighty read, Claire Keegan’s Booker Prize-nominated novella is a beautiful story of empathy and quiet heroism.
Sleep Donation by Karen Russell, 110 pages
In a sleep-deprived America where thousands have lost the ability to sleep, the Slumber Corps aims to solve the crisis. They encourage healthy dreamers to donate sleep to insomniacs. After seven years as a recruiter for the Corps, Trish Edgewater begins questioning her motives and beliefs when faced with the enigmatic “Baby A,” the first universal sleep donor, and the mysterious “Donor Y.”
Karen Russell’s ability to mix the absurd with true compassion is unique and fully present in Sleep Donation. This short book is another one that will linger with you long after you’ve finished.
An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten, 184 pages
88-year-old Maud has embraced a solitary life of adventure. With a penchant for mischief, she foils a former lover’s engagement, navigates a celebrity crisis and even deals with a murder in her apartment complex. Will Detective Inspector Irene Huss see through Maud’s charade?
An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good is a darkly funny group of linked short stories. Translated from Swedish, the stories were written when author Helene Tursten was asked to contribute to a Christmas anthology. As a result, this slim, zany collection is perfect for the holiday season.
Under 300 pages
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam, 256 pages
Amanda and Clay’s idyllic retreat to a rental home on Long Island takes a tense turn when an older couple, Ruth and G.H., claiming to own the property, seek refuge due to a city-wide power outage. With no way to verify the situation and cut off from communication, the couples grapple with trust, uncertainty about the events in New York, and the safety of their isolated holiday home.
This lowkey-thriller just became a movie starring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke, Myha’la Herrod and Kevin Bacon, so there’s no better time to read Leave the World Behind. Rumaan Alam’s short book quickly builds tension and even dread, putting a unique spin on the end of the world.
Shady Hollow by Juneau Black, 222 pages
Intrepid reporter Vera Vixen may be a newcomer to Shady Hollow but has a keen nose for news. While investigating a suspicious death, she becomes determined to prove it was murder. As she digs deeper, Vera uncovers new mysteries and obstacles that suggest someone in town will go to great lengths to keep her from solving the case.
Shady Hollow is the first book in a mystery series by author duo Juneau Black. Full of adorable woodland creatures who are more than meets the eye, you’ll smile through the novel and clamor for the next installment.
Bliss Montage by Ling Ma, 228 pages
In Bliss Montage, Ling Ma presents eight stories exploring the intersection of fantasy and reality. Delving into love, loneliness, connection, home and more, the stories range from a woman cohabiting with all her ex-boyfriends to a toxic friendship based on an invisibility-inducing drug. With careful prose and quirky plots, this collection beautifully weaves the strange and mundane together.
Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford, 208 pages
Ada and her father live on the edge of their isolated village, healing the people who hate them by burying them in the reviving Ground. When a man named Samson arrives for help, he and Ada begin an affair. As Ada grapples with the conflict between her old way of life and new possibilities with Samson, her decisions may permanently change the town and the healing Ground they rely on.
Fascinating and frightening, Follow Me to Ground reads like a folktale gone wrong. Sue Rainsford’s debut novel isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s gorgeously dark and atmospheric.
A Dangerous Business by Jane Smiley, 224 pages
Ever since her husband died, Eliza Ripple has worked in a brothel. The madam is kind, and the position offers Eliza financial security, but everything changes when the bodies of young women turn up outside of town. Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s detective Dupin, Eliza dies in the investigation, all while struggling to survive in a country on the brink of the Civil War.
I love a good, modern Western, and A Dangerous Business is no exception. Jane Smiley’s newest novel is a short book and a fast read that will easily help you finish out your reading goals.
There you have it! 10 more fantastic short books to help you achieve your reading goals before the year ends. How many books have you read this year? Let us know below, and check back for even more reaching recommendations.
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