Short reads under 300 pages to get you through reading week. 

By Megha Alam

Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote

This novella is the one that the 1961 film is based on and focuses on the iconic character of Holly Golightly from the point of view of a struggling writer who lives in the same brownstone and quickly falls for her. An early version of the manic pixie dream girl, Holly’s character, while two-dimensional, is still somewhat fun making this a short and sweet read.

84, Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff

This epistolary story displays a correspondence between Helene Hanff, a struggling playwright in New York, and the antiquarian bookseller Marks and co that was based in London. This will be a quick and cosy read that will reignite your passion for books. By the end of it I found myself both elated at the fact that these were real letters and distraught that a Mcdonald’s now sits on 84, Charing Cross Road and all that is left of the bookstore is a blue plaque. 


On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – Ocean Vuong

Vuong wrote this debut novel in the form of a letter from a son to his mother who cannot read. The narrator, Little Dog, is Vietnamese-American and gay, and his mother raised him as a single mother in a poor, suburban America. With graceful prose, Ocean Vuong explores identity, masculinity, love, intergenerational trauma, family and race beautifully in the space of 246 pages making this a short yet impactful read that will continue to live on in your mind long after you’ve read the last page. 


The Queen’s Gambit – Walter Tevis

Dark academia never fails to make you feel intellectual despite the fact that you’ve spent the entire day procrastinating on starting your essay that’s due the next day. Unfortunately most dark academia cult classics (The Secret History, I’m looking at you) are rarely less than 500 pages. The Queen’s Gambit will hopefully satiate your dark academia needs in a much shorter number of pages. Although many of you are probably familiar with the phenomenal Netflix adaptation, the novel is equally as engaging and will keep you entertained during reading week. 


Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

There’s nothing like a fast-paced murder mystery to keep you captivated enough to not dwell on your upcoming summative deadlines, and what better one to recommend than the one of the most iconic stories to be penned by the Queen of Crime herself, Agatha Christie. This is one of her most famous stories that you may already be well-acquainted with, in which case any of her 65 other detective novels will serve the purpose of getting you through reading week just as well. 



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