Winter, opens a new window by Dieter Amberg, opens a new window / CC By 2.0, opens a new window

As the year draws to a close and the days get shorter I always get in the mood to find a cozy spot and read. However, that’s also when I have a thousand holiday events to go to, final projects and exams to finish and am inevitably running behind on my reading goal for the year. The solution that allows me to have my winter reading time and still meet all my obligations is short books! Here are just a few of my favorite bite-sized reads.

Convenience Store Woman is a book that’s hard to describe but easy to love. Keiko, the offbeat, socially awkward protagonist, similar to Eleanor from Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, is desperate to keep her job as a greeter at Smile Mart, despite her family’s growing objections. To gain their approval and stay where she’s happiest, she hatches an unusual scheme that brings about a world of unintended consequences.

Intimations is a series of gorgeous, lyrical essays by the brilliant Zadie Smith that reflect on the pain and absurdity of the first half of 2020. Because it was published in July of 2020 it is incredibly timely yet reads like a historical document. These essays are a reminder of how much has changed since last summer and how much remains exactly the same.

All Systems Red is the first book in the hilarious, totally unique Murderbot series. The protagonist is a security android who has disabled its internal regulation and become fully sentient. It calls itself Murderbot as a joke. Strictly speaking, it shouldn’t be able to joke, or have a favorite TV series or get attached to the humans it protects. But Murderbot is anything but normal.

Maggie Nelson’s books are strange and beautiful, transcending genre and strict timeline to express deeper emotional truths than would be possible in a traditional memoir. More than anything, The Argonauts is a love story about her relationship with her gender-fluid spouse and her pregnancy with their first child.

A man returns home for a funeral only to be confronted by strange, seemingly impossible memories of his childhood in The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It all began with the death of a mysterious opal merchant and an unexpected meeting with the magical, wonderful girl from the farm down the road. All the rest couldn’t possibly have happened. Could it?

Do you have any favorite short books? Have you met your reading goal for the year?

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By Amy

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