September 6 is recognised as ‘Read A Book Day’. This got us thinking about the many wonderful books that you can pick up and finish today (and by that we mean, in a day). That’s right, the books on this list shouldn’t take more than a few hours to read. It’s worth reading them over trying to do anything else this weekend.
Metaphorposis, Franz Kafka
It’s incredible that such an influential book is so slim. Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis is one of modern literature’s most popular stories that inspired many South American writers. Kafka’s dark fantasy, about a man who transforms into a giant beetle has been dissected countless times, but the author’s ultimate inspiration behind the story remains unknown.
The Old Man And The Sea, Ernest Hemingway
Another well-known classic on our list, The Old Man And The Sea is arguably Ernest Hemingway’s most famous work. The book tells the struggle of an old Cuban fisherman against a violent, thrashing, giant marlin and weaves a fascinating tale of courage under defeat in a way no book ever has.
Anthem, Ayn Rand
Anthem is about a future when man has no name, no freedom and no human values to fall back on – just a committee telling humans how to live. You have seen this theme play out in movies before, but nothing compares to the thrilling story of Equality 7-2521 who seeks individuality in a world bereft of ideas.
Heart Of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
This short yet horrifying book, written more than a century ago, will tell you everything you wanted to know about racism, poverty and slavery in Africa at that time. Although fictionalized, Joseph Conrad’s story is both beautiful and horrible. It’s slightly dense so be prepared to read it again once you’re done with it.
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The Prince, Niccolò Machiavelli
Perhaps the oldest book in this list, Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince was written in the 1500s and continues to be a best-seller in many languages to this day. A book that extols the rule of force over the rule of law, it essentially tells you how to keep power once you have it.
The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Can you truly know the exact moment when you begin falling into despair and madness? This slow unravelling is depicted in fine detail in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story The Yellow Wallpaper to great effect. Although written during Victorian times, the book feels surprisingly modern and is known for its feminist slant. It’s a must-read for its claustrophobic depiction of a descent into madness.
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
It pains us when readers stare back blankly if you mention this little gem of a book. Most people haven’t heard ofThe Little Prince – the story of a small boy who travels the universe to learn how adults live. The book teaches valuable lessons in how to live a compassionate and complete life without getting too preachy.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach
This is a simple little book that will tell you why you need to follow your dreams. There isn’t much to add to this book apart from Bach’s belief that each gull must fly higher and reach his destination, which is a clear metaphor to readers about how they need to take charge of their lives and do what makes them happy.
Memories Of My Melancholy Whores, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The longest book on our list is also one of the most well-known. Written by the godfather of South American literature, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Memories Of My Melancholy Whores is what you wish you don’t turn out to be when you’re old, bereft of love, and incredibly lonely.
Strange Library, Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami is one of the world’s greatest living authors. If you haven’t read a Murukami novel yet, here’s a perfect little book to sample the author’s fare. Strange Library is an illustrated book that tells the story of a boy, girl and sheep-man plotting their escape from a strange library.
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