1. by Elizabeth Strout Don’t be intimidated by its Pulitzer
Readers love those books that are hard to put down, the ones that keep you up all night reading just one more chapter. And readers with busy lives often get breaks from the mental load when they have a good book in hand.
But let’s face it: sometimes, you have to put down your book. And sometimes it feels like you almost never get a long stretch of time to read.
Breaks to read can be rare and brief, and there’s always a kid or chore that demands attention.
The key during these times is to find books that allow you to keep reading, but that also allow you to dip in and out with little difficulty.
They don’t necessarily need to be short, but they need to keep you coming back for more, and they can’t be difficult to get back into–or to stop reading when you need to.
So here are 10 books that I found I was able to read in short stretches of time.
It’s been a number of years since I read this book (and the other three that come after it), but what I remember most about this memoir is how much fun I had reading it. I recall telling another bookish friend at the time, “These books are just making me happy right now!” There is no large, dramatic story here, but James Herriot’s telling of his life as a country veterinarian in Yorkshire is warm, funny, and touching. Herriot spares himself no embarrassment but proves himself keenly observant and sensitive as he interacts with the characters—human and animal, by turns eccentric, sad, and inspiring—who pepper his stories. This is true comfort reading for me, and the way the connected stories are told–in small vignettes–makes it easy to jump in and out of. Read More.
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This sweet book follows Don Tillman, an Australian genetics professor who decides to embark on what he calls The Wife Project to find his perfect partner. Don likely has Aspergers syndrome, and he figures his best chance of finding someone is using a scientific approach.
Along the way, he meets Rosie, a woman he quickly eliminates from The Wife Project, but who intrigues him with her search for her biological father. He quickly jumps into The Father Project in the first of many bursts of spontaneity and excitement that Rosie brings into his well-ordered life.
A book of “advice on love and life” is not the kind of thing I would normally read, but the raves piqued my curiosity. Strayed, known as “Sugar,” the anonymous advice columnist for The Rumpus, gives the kind of advice we all hope to get from our best friends, or our therapists. She doesn’t always have the answers, but she does have perspective, and she is searingly honest in her analysis of some of life’s biggest questions. Strayed’s columns are short and to-the-point–perfect for the overwhelmed reader and not something that needs to be read all at once or in order. Read More.
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