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Never say you don’t have enough time to read again.

| By Antonia Day | Journal

Short on Time? These 9 Books Are All 200 Pages or Less

Never say you don’t have enough time to read again.

We’ve all used the excuse of not having enough time when it comes to pretty much anything. Rearranging the linen cupboard? “Don’t have enough time.” Starting a new TV series? “Don’t have enough time.” Finally making that recipe you’ve been eyeing off for weeks? “Don’t have enough time.”

Reading is unfortunately something that also falls into the category of things we don’t have enough time for – but luckily for you, we’ve found a loophole.

Next time you find yourself saying you don’t have enough time to read a book, refer to this with eight books that are all under 200 pages or less.

1. The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Set in modern-day Seoul, Han Kang’s three-part novel The Vegetarian tells the story of Yeong-hye who decides to stop consuming meat after waking up from a bloody, nightmarish dream. This personal act of independence becomes a catalyst for troubles within her marriage, along with an increasingly grotesque chain of events at home. Originally written and published in Korean, this gripping tale of power and obsession has been celebrated by critics around the world.

2. Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin

This haunting and suspenseful novel blurs the lines between reality and a nightmare. Set in rural Argentina, the story unfolds through a conversation between Amanda, a woman lying in a rural hospital bed, and David, a mysterious young boy who may hold the key to understanding her unsettling circumstances. As Amanda recounts the events leading up to her hospitalisation, including her encounter with David's mother, Carla, the narrative becomes even more disorienting and surreal.

3. The Vet’s Daughter by Barbara Comyns

In a sinister London suburb lives a vet, his bedridden wife, and his daughter Alice. After her mother’s death, Alice is left alone with her emotionally distant and abusive father. While dealing with the oppressive circumstances of her existence, Alice discovers she has a strange and unsettling power: the ability to levitate. This compelling and unsettling tale will linger in your mind long after the final page is turned.

4. Speedboat by Renata Adler

Originally published in 1976, this strangely wonderful modernist novel retells a fragmented account of Jen Fain's life, a young journalist living in New York. Spoken through Jen’s cuttingly perceptive and darkly funny tone of voice, we’re brought in and out of the present moment, making this iconic piece of literature a novel, memoir, commonplace book, confession, and critique all at once.

5. Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

This poignant coming-of-age novel delves into the lives of two families interconnected by an unexpected pregnancy. Set in Brooklyn, the novel moves forward and backward in time, following the repercussions of sixteen-year-old Melody's actions. Exploring themes of identity, class, race, and the weight of familial expectations through alternating perspectives, Red at the Bone navigates the complexities of love, loss, and the enduring bonds that connect generations.

6. Winter in Sokcho by Elisa Shua Dusapin

This captivating novel is set during the off-season in the small South Korean town of Sokcho. The story follows a young woman working at a guesthouse who becomes drawn to an enigmatic French graphic artist visiting the town. As the two form an unlikely connection amongst the cold winter landscape, they navigate cultural differences and personal struggles. Through spare yet evocative dialogue, Dusapin explores themes of loneliness, identity, and the transient nature of human connection.

7. Western Lane by Chetna Maroo

Set in the fictional village of Western Lane in the heart of rural India, live three generations of women: Rukmini, her daughter Maya, and granddaughter Jyoti. Against the backdrop of social and economic change, this novel explores the challenges faced by these women as they navigate traditional expectations, personal aspirations, and the evolving dynamics of their community. Western Lane offers an insightful portrayal of life in rural India, while celebrating the resilience and strength of its female protagonists.

8. Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Revolving around a mystical chair that sits in a small cafe in Tokyo, customers take turns sitting in it, using it to travel back in time to revisit moments from their past. But there’s a catch: they must return before their coffee gets cold. Through a series of interconnected vignettes, this novel explores emotional impact these time-travelling encounters have on the characters. Grappling with unresolved regrets, lost loves, and unspoken words, Before the Coffee Gets Cold tells a lesson on the importance of seizing the moment and cherishing the connections that define our lives.

9. You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris

Three words: prepare to cry. This poignant memoir captures the emotions of a man who lost his wife, Hélène, in the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks. Through his grief-stricken journey, Leiris refuses to let hatred consume, choosing instead to honour his wife's memory by embracing love and resilience. Leiris navigates the complexities of loss, fatherhood, and the search for meaning in a world shattered by violence. Have your tissues at the ready.

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