Last year, I shared with you some of my favourite books that are under 200 pages. Well, I have read quite a few more since then and I have loved so many of them and feel the need to gush about them! It is interesting because at that time I mentioned that I prefer books that are longer because the characters are more fleshed out. My views on that have started to change as I have come to realize that some authors can do amazing things with their characters and their stories in under 200 pages. The books I am going to talk about today are a testament to that.
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
# of pages: 170
I have read three of the books in this series so far and each one of them has been an absolute gem. They are each so unique and it is incredible the worlds that Seanan McGuire is able to create in so few pages. You become completely immersed in the story and invested in the outcome. The storytelling in this series is better than many books I have read that are over 500 pages… she just gets right to the heart of the matter. It is brilliant! I have to say I think the second book (Down Among the Sticks and Bones) is my favourite so far- it is so dark!
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
# of pages: 170
It is rare for me to read, or even find, a nonfiction book that is under 200 pages. They are often so full of facts and information that they are more likely to push closer to the 500 page mark. That is what made reading The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating so special. While it was short, it was incredible informative (I had no idea how cool snails truly are!) and surprisingly touching. Bailey has found the perfect balance between nature writing and memoir. You quickly become invested in her relationship with this snail. I will admit to tearing up at the end!
Peter Darling by Austin Chant
# of pages: 164
Peter Darling has everything that I look for in a retelling. It breathed new life in to the story of Peter Pan- something that was very much needed. I just thought that what Chant did with these iconic characters and their stories was genius! This is the one book on this list that I do wish was a little bit longer just because I want to spend more time with Peter Pan and Captain Hook. Seeing their relationship evolve from enemies to lovers was so charming. Peter Darling has so much to offer and I am shocked by how few reviews it has on Goodreads. Read this book!
Lady Susan by Jane Austen
# of pages: 180
I never thought that I would say that a Jane Austen novel was underrated, but I do feel as though that is the case when it comes to Lady Susan. I feel like maybe the reason it is often overlooked is because it is so short? I don’t know, but I will tell you that I thought that it was a lot of fun. It is told through a series of letters and it is so gossipy and full of drama. I loved every single second of it!
Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss
# of pages: 152
Ghost Wall was longlisted for The Women’s Prize this year and, in my opinion, it should have been a contender to win. There is so much about this book that is absolutely genius. The subtle tension slowly builds as the story goes on and you can physically feel it as you are reading- it actually made me feel claustrophobic. You can just tell that every choice that Sarah Moss made was completely deliberate and it paid off. 152 pages was all that she needed!
The Test by Sylvain Neuvel
# of pages: 112
I read The Test the day that it was released because I just adore Sylvain Neuvel that much. It absolutely blew me away- as expected! He is so thoughtful with his story telling and he knows how to get your heart racing. This book took a turn I was not expecting and I was riveted. I think 112 pages was all that he needed to get his point across. He nailed it as usual! I have been told that it reads like an episode of Black Mirror (which I haven’t seen but really should watch). So if that is your thing I would check this one out.
Peter and Alice by John Logan
# of pages: 96
Now, Peter and Alice is something a little bit different from the rest of the titles on this list because it is not actually a book but a play. Do not like that scare you- it is very readable! There is a dreamlike quality to this play and it is so visual. It is about the real life Peter Pan and Alice from Alice and the Adventures in Wonderlands. It is such a bittersweet story and I still find myself thinking about it quite often.
We Have Always Lived in a Castle by Shirley Jackson
# of pages: 146
We Have Always Lived in a Castle was the first and only Shirley Jackson novel that I have read. I have heard mixed things about The Haunting of Hill House, but I truly loved this story. It is so creepy and weird and you never really know what is going on. You have this eerie feeling the entire time you are reading it and you never quite figure out who you can trust. It is so well done- something I will be compelled to read every October.
84, Charring Cross Road by Helene Hanff
# of pages: 97
84, Charring Cross Road is a nonfiction novel that is told through a series of letters between a book lover (Helene Hanff) and the people who work at a bookstore across the pond. This is a book that is meant to be read by book lovers. It truly is a love letter to books. It is such a charming, bittersweet, and sometimes hilarious little book. I highly recommend this one when you need something light that will bring some joy in to your life.
I also want to shoutout a few amazing books that are just over 200 pages- Tin Man by Sarah Winman (208 pages), The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (224 pages), Heavy by Kiese Laymon (256 pages), Small Spaces by Katherine Arden (218 pages), and A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (237 pages).
Let me know your thoughts on short novels! Do you enjoy them? What are your favourites?