6 Short Books That Blew Me Away


Hi everyone. I’m Rincey and I am one of the
contributing editors over at Book Riot. So I’m someone who really likes books that are
on the shorter end of the spectrum. Not that I have anything against big books, obviously
I read big books every now and then. But a book that is around the 300 to 400 page mark
is usually like average for me. And when I can find a book that is like under 200 pages
that’s really well done, I am just completely blown away by them. Like I find it extremely
impressive not when someone can write like a huge massive tome, but I’m more impressed
when people can take this limited amount of space, or you know choose to take a more limited
amount of space to create these well drawn out plots and these really complex characters.
I am just so amazed whenever I come across a book that’s on the shorter side and just
is so fully fleshed out in a way that sometimes I feel like 400, 500 page plus books aren’t.
So today I have five books for you guys. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 books for you guys. I should
probably start counting my books before I start my video but I just kind of grab them.
So I have six books for you guys that I want to recommend if you haven’t read already that
are on the shorter side. The parameter I put on myself is that it has to be less than 200
pages long. Obviously there are books that are like less than 300 pages that are also
really great, but just so this video wasn’t a half an hour long I gave myself the parameter
of less than 200 pages. Although it would be kind of ironic if I had like a 20 minute
video that was about short books. So the first two books that I have for you guys are two
classic novels. The first one that I have is Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and the
second one that I have is Animal Farm by George Orwell. Of Mice and Men is very well known,
most people read it when they’re in high school. But if you haven’t read it already, you must.
The characters in here are amazing. I honestly think that one of John Steinbeck’s strengths
is his characters. The story follows these two men named George and Lenny who are kind
of like an unlikely pair. George is kind of a smaller man and Lenny is a bigger man, but
he isn’t very intelligent. They say he has like the mind of a child. So they sort of
like look out for each other and they form this friendship and bond and this story just
follows them as they are traveling throughout California. They’re basically just looking
for work wherever they can and eventually they find a job but they can’t seem to stay
out of trouble. Yeah, I don’t know. I feel like everyone who reads Of Mice and Men is
just completely aware of how amazing it is. John Steinbeck is able to create these characters
who you form such a strong attachment to even though, at least this edition of the book
I believe is less than 100 pages. But it’s amazing like within those 100 pages how strongly
you care for these two characters and just when bad things happen to them you are completely
heartbroken. As for Animal Farm by George Orwell. I mean, George Orwell I feel like
is the master of precise writing. George Orwell doesn’t waste any space. George Orwell worked
as a journalist for a while and I feel like most journalists know how to pack as much
information in as small amount of space as possible because with newspapers and magazines,
the printed version, you only given so much space. And you have to try your best to fit
everything that you need to fit into that specific word count. And I feel like George
Orwell is sort of the master of that. Every sentence of his is well crafted, there’s so
much information in them. I picked out Animal Farm in particular just because it is on the
shorter side. But it’s also just such a great allegory. If you haven’t had to read this
one for school, again it’s totally worth picking up. It’s so clever and so well done. I absolutely
love it. And I feel like George Orwell is such a great writer in general. The next two
books that I have for you guys are books from Melville House’s Art of the Novella series.
The first one that I have is The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy and the second one
is Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley. If you aren’t aware, the Art of the Novella
series. Melville House is basically taking these classic novellas and reprinting them
in these great little square different colored formats. They look really fantastic on a shelf
together. It’s just really, really great. In this story you are following this woman
who is married and she sort of feels like her husband is the one who gets to go off
and lead this fantastic life. Or no, I’m wrong about that, it’s not a woman who’s married.
It’s a woman who’s living with her brother. He is leaving the house to go do work and
traveling for work and things like that and she is basically just always stuck at home
taking care of the house and she never really gets to do anything on her own. And so one
day she’s given the opportunity to join this Parnassus, which is basically a bookmobile.
And so she joins the Parnassus and goes around selling books. This story was originally published
in 1917 but it reads completely like a contemporary novel cause there’s nothing about the language
or the writing style that is particularly difficult like you might think a book from
the turn of the century is. But it still feels very fresh and very modern, which I think
is why i was so drawn to it and why I was able to fall into the story so much. It’s
just a really, really fun story and I think that if you want something that isn’t, you
know, quite so heavy or anything like that then this is just the perfect one to pick
up. If you do want something that is slightly more heavy and philosophical, then the Leo
Tolstoy one is the one for you. You are following this judge who gets sick and then eventually
realizes that he’s basically dying. So this judge is basically looking over his life adn
the job that he’s done as a judge convicting people to their own deaths, things like that,
and sort of musing on the topic of death and just really exploring those ideas. This gets
a little bit dark, but I think it’s just such a fantastic book. It’s not too philosophical.
If you’re someone who’s always wanted to read Tolstoy, but you’re like super intimidated
by like War & Peace and Anna Karenina, for obvious reasons, then this one I think is
a fantastic place to start. This one doesn’t have a lot of plot, but I find that the judge’s
thoughts and musings are just so well developed that you get drawn into his story and it really
has you thinking a lot about the ideas of death and morality. It’s just really, really
fantastic. And then the final two books that I have for you guys are two books in translation.
I swear, I didn’t pair these off on purpose, but it just happened to work out this way.
The first one is Man Tiger by Eka Kurniawan. Oh man, I hope I said that correctly. And
then the second one is Down the Rabbit Hole by Juan Pablo Villalobos. Down the Rabbit
Hole takes place in Mexico and you are experiencing this story through the eyes of a child named
Tochtli, hopefully I’m saying that correctly. He is this boy who is extremely isolated.
He’s someone who is tutored and is just like given everything that he wants. His father
is a very rich man, which you find out why within the story. And he’s just obsessed with
hats, as well as his own private zoo that he has. And he is obsessed with getting a
hippopotamus for his zoo from Africa, I believe. This story is really fantastic because Villalobos
really unravels this sort of mystery that you don’t realize that you’re in until you
start. I mean, it’s not like a mystery, but because you’re viewing everything through
the eyes of a child, you don’t have a full sense of everything that’s happening until
the story progresses and you’re given more details and you as an adult are able to put
pieces together that a child might not be able to. This child is surrounded by a lot
of dark and not so great people and you start to realize what’s actually happening in his
situation. And what Villalobos is able to do in again, I think it’s less than 100 pages,
is just so so masterful and I really, really enjoyed it. And then in Man Tiger, this book
is recently long listed for the Man Booker International Prize, which is why I picked
it up. This is a story that also sort of has a mystery type element to it where in the
beginning you find out that there is this man in this Indonesian village who has died
because he’s been attacked by a young man. And the young man literally bit into the older
man’s neck and killed him, which is obviously very violent and very gruesome. And so you
start there, but then you go back in time and you follow these different characters
and you see their development and you see what events occurred in these two families
in order to lead up to this death. The way that the author is able to provide so much
background on these characters in less than 200 pages is really fantastic. He creates
such complexity and depth that I feel like you don’t see in longer novels. There are
also points in this story where it feels like the author is going on tangents or he’s sort
of going off topic and you’re not really sure what’s happening. But if you follow the thread
all the way through you see how everything sort of wraps around and comes full circle.
And I kind of want to re-read this book just to see how everything sort of fits in with
each other even better now that I have all of the pieces. This is one of those stories
that I think needs to be given the warning of read past like the first 50 pages or read
at least to the halfway point because I feel like when you first start off, it seems a
little bit confusing cause you’re not really sure what’s happening. Like I said, there
are some details that are given that you’re just like, how does this fit into everything
else. But it all really does wrap up so fantastically that I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
So there are my recommendations of some short books that blew me away. If you read any of
these books, feel free to write a comment down below letting me know if you guys enjoy
them as well, or not. If you didn’t enjoy them that’s fine, too. Or if you have your
own recommendations of short books that really blew you away, feel free to leave that down
in the comment section as well. I’m always looking for short books that are like really
well crafted. I have a couple of short books sitting on my TBR that I’m excited to get
around to to see if they blow me away as well. So yeah, that’s all I have for now and thanks
for watching.

17 thoughts on “6 Short Books That Blew Me Away

  1. Two Old Women by Velma Wallis. Native American story based on a true story about two elderly women left to die in the cold. Please someone make this into a movie. I'm going to pick up Down the Rabbit Hole and Man Tiger. Those two books sound great.

  2. You and everybody else have probably heard of these novels but I LOVED them. The ocean at the end of the lane by Neil gaiman it was beautiful and I've read it three time now and white is for witching by Helen Oyeyemi. I'm obsessed with Oyeyemi I can't read her books fast enough!

  3. I'm going to bump MAN TIGER, OF MICE AND MEN, and ANIMAL FARM up my mental tbr. Thanks Rincey! ^_^ Great topic!

  4. Anne Tyler's books are short and very good. A long time ago when life was simpler I really enjoyed reading The Accidental Tourist, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant and Breathing Lessons, among others. Her latest, A Spool of Blue Thread is invigorating.

  5. been trying to get into some Tolstoy for quite some time now, so maybe The Death of Ivan Ilych might get me started faster than Anna Karenina.oh and Animal Farm is one of my all time favourites. cheers 🙂

  6. I read 3 of them: The death of Ivan Ilych. Animal farm, and Of Mice and men. They are all amazing especially The Death of Ivan.

  7. Just read one yesterday that's one of the best books I've ever read – 'Flight' by Sherman Alexie. My edition is 180 pages.

  8. You should see the old movie from the fifties or forties of " of mice and men" it is a very good heartbreaking movie. Love your videos, just subscribed..HI ! 😊

  9. You had several good books that you recommended here, esp Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. My mom loves Steinbeck, has quite a few of his books, and I read Travels With Charley last year and loved it. I want to read more of his books, need to raid my mom's bookshelves one of these days. 😊

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