I’ve been nurturing my reading habit for years now, so I’ll admit, finishing a book in 24 hours or less is not something that I find too difficult to do. Once I get hooked to the story, I find it really hard to give it up without completing it. I’ve happily given up sleep in favour of some of the books on this list.
But I totally understand that it could seem like a daunting task if you’re not an avid reader. Most of the books on this list are fast-paced, delightful reads, with enough substance to warm your heart. There’s just one non-fiction book in this list, because I don’t think the nature of non-fiction is to serve as a fast read.
Go ahead and give these short novels a read! And yes, you should totally clear up a few hours in your schedule before you dig in, because you could well be tempted to finish some of these books in one sitting itself.
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1| THE LAST FLIGHT – JULIA CLARK (★★★★)
I tend to avoid reading thriller/suspense novels because most of them do not really live up to the hype. Especially since nearly all of them are billed as the next Gone Girl!
When The Last Flight came on my reading radar a couple of months ago, I was a bit skeptical, but also intrigued by the plot.
Claire and Eva are both running from their past and they both want to disappear without a trace. After a chance meeting at the airport, the women switch their tickets, with Eva now travelling to Puerto Rico and Claire to Oakland. But when the flight to Puerto Rico crashes, Claire has to figure out her next move, and whether she can truly make the clean break that she was hoping for.
So I decided to take the bait and I was rewarded for this with an absolutely unputdownable book in my hands. The Last Flight is fast moving and layered – nothing is as it seems, and both women have many things in common, despite their completely different backgrounds and lifestyle.
I literally raced through the book to see whether they both find their new beginning, and though the ending was a bit different from what I expected, it still tied up the loose ends in a satisfying manner. Loved this cracker of a thriller novel.
2| PARTY OF TWO – JASMINE GUILLORY (★★★★★)
I’ve read a couple of Jasmine Guillory’s romance novels before this one, but somehow I could never really appreciate the hype. I mean, they were enjoyable enough novels but nowhere near as good as some of other favourite readers seemed to indicate.
Thankfully, with a Party Of Two, I did not have any such problem. Olivia Monroe moves to Los Angeles to start a new law firm with her friend and business partner. She has a chance meeting with a gorgeous man at the hotel bar and they end up flirting heavily. Olivia realises only much later that the gorgeous man was none other than Max Powell, a rising political star in California.
Max then woos her by sending over delicious cake, and ultimately, they both start seeing each in secret. The real test of their relationship comes when they decide to go public and they have to face the intense media scrutiny. Can their relationship survive?
I absolutely loved Olivia, and her insecurities seemed utterly believable. It was sweet to see both Olivia and Max fall for each other, and try to figure out if they could make their relationship work. They are both extremely likeable characters, and I loved all the talk of food and dessert. Seriously, Max, that’s one hell of a way to charm a lady!
Party Of Two is mostly a light-hearted read, but it also does not shy away from tackling thorny issues like racial prejudices and white male privilege, albeit in a really non-preachy manner.
3| RED AT THE BONE – JACQUELINE WOODSON (★★★★★)
Red At The Bone is one the best novels I’ve read lately, and it’s really such a wonderful read. All the praise and the hype is well-justified.
The book opens in 2001, on the evening of 16-year-old Melody’s coming of age ceremony in her grandparents Brooklyn brownstone. The book then goes on to explore the lives of her parents and grandparents, who are gathered at the ceremony to celebrate her. There is a back and forth between timelines as the stories get told, but ultimately, it’s a novel about the choices that we make and the consequences that we must face.
I absolutely devoured this book. It helps that it’s an easily digestible tome. The writing is beautiful and evocative, and I found myself highlighting so many lines after lines. It’s a multi-layered book, and explores multiple themes with deftness – self-discovery, motherhood, racism, family ties, and the life choices that we make. 11/10 would recommend this one if you haven’t already read it.
4| THE RICHEST MAN IN BABYLON – GEORGE S. CLASON (★★★★)
This book is a classic for a reason.
I’ve been trying to get better with money, and amongst many other things, have been trying to educate myself and change my mindset. The Richest Man in Babylon helps with both.
Originally published in 1926 as a series of pamphlets on thrift and financial success using parables set in ancient Babylon, the book continues to be as relevant today as it was then. Save more. Invest smartly. Manage your debt wisely. These have forever been the basic hallmarks of creating wealth, so I am not surprised that the book is meaningful even today.
With less than 150 pages to it, The Richest Man in Babylon might appear simplistic, but I’ve found that lessons told in the form of stories tend to stick for much longer. Give this book a try if you’re either just starting out your wealth journey or if you’ve been struggling with money lately.
5| ONE TO WATCH – KATE STAYMAN-LONDON (★★★★)
If you’ve read my in-depth review of this novel, you’ll know that I adored this book and it’s main character, Bea Schumacher.
Bea Schumacher is a successful plus size blogger and she seems to be living a coveted life, what with her jet-setting schedule, friends & family who support her, and a large social media fan base who seem to adore her. When her alcohol fuelled take-down of Main Squeeze (a very The Bachelor-esque show) goes viral, she gets a a call from the producers of the Main Squeeze, asking her to be THE Main Squeeze for the show’s next season!
She finally agrees to be on the show, believing that she’s setting the terms of the engagement, not knowing that she’ll be forced to get real and vulnerable and dig down deep as she tries to find real happiness.
I am not a fan of reality TV shows in general and have never seen any of shows from The Bachelor school of drama and content. And yet, I took quickly enough to this book, mostly because it was a refreshing take on the conventional romance novel heroine.
One to Watch is a cute and breezy read, and there is a lot of depth in the telling, as it tackles difficult themes – fat shaming, fat-phobia, non-conforming characters – with nuance and grace.
6| NORMAL PEOPLE – SALLY ROONEY (★★★★)
Also mentioned in this roundup of books.
Normal People is a charming and moving novel about falling in love and the fragility of young love.
Marianne and Connell are unlikely friends – Connell’s mother works as a housekeeper for Marianne’s family – who are highly attracted to each other. The novel traces their journey from their teenage years through adulthood and the many ways in which their lives keep intersecting even after they move out of their hometown.
Marianne and Connell’s love story is angsty, and there’s a lot of coming together and separating and repeat but it somehow still feels realistic. They are both incredibly human and hence, flawed, dealing with their own individual circumstances, and learning to navigate growing up through it all.
I loved this modern love story, told in a deceptively simple, yet highly relatable and delectable fashion.
7| A BURNING – MEGHA MAJUMDAR (★★)
I will admit – I was a bit hesitant about including this novel in this reading list. Not because I was worried that it can’t be read in 24 hours – it takes way lesser than that – but because I didn’t love the book as much as the numerous glowing reviews seemed to warrant. Ultimately, I decided to let it be on the list, because well, I seem to be in the minority in my opinion on this one, so you might end up enjoying it yourself.
I’ve been keen to read more novels written by Indian authors, so I definitely did not want to skip this, given all the praise that was being heaped on the book. But I was left feeling mostly unsatisfied.
In the aftermath of a terrorist attack on a train, the three main characters find their lives somewhat entangled. Jivan, a Muslim girl from the slums gets accused of a terrorist conspiracy when she posts a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir, a sports teacher from her former school, could potentially help her, but his own political ambitions take centre-stage. Lovely, a dancing transgender woman, tries to help Jivan – the girl used to teach her English – but ultimately, she has a difficult choice to make.
While I did appreciate how A Burning explores the theme of rising aspirations of regular, average people in a rapidly developing India, I found the overall offering rather slim. It’s nowhere near the “force of an epic” that the blurb seems to promise, and I found it a rather simplified, cursory telling of a complex subject matter.
While these are some of my recent reads, I’d be remiss if I didn’t add some other favourites to this list. Namely, The Idea of You by Robinne Lee, Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuinston, The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez, and American Royals by Katherine McGee. I’ve spoken ad nauseam about most of these books, so I won’t bore you one more time talking about how much I love these novels. They are the perfect novels for a quick read with stories gripping enough that you won’t be able to give them up without reading it cover to cover.
These short novels are also perfect if you’re trying to get out of a reading rut, or if you’re getting back to reading after a while.
What other books would you add to the list? What books have you read lately that you completed in just one sitting? Let me know in the comments below! I am always looking to add more books to my ever growing reading list. :)