18 Good Books You Can Read In A Day | Reader’s Digest

from Readers Digest

18 Classic Books You Can Read In One Day If you, like the average American adult, can read about 300 words per minute (or 18,000 words per hour), then you can devour a literary masterpiece in a single afternoon.

Source: 18 Good Books You Can Read In A Day | Reader’s Digest

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“All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.”
The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, ~16K words. A crashed WWII pilot meets an alien prince stranded in the desert. While they work to escape, the Prince describes his inter-planetary journey to return home to the flower he loves. File this hand-painted masterpiece under “books for kids that every adult needs to read.”

“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.”
Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, ~17K words. Things turn sour when a Scottish general takes career advice from three witches, then sourer when he takes advice from his wife. You won’t toil and trouble over Shakespeare’s shortest play, as it’s also one of his best. But if tales of war and witchcraft don’t lift your kilt, any other Shakespeare can be conquered in mere hours; Hamlet, his longest, is only 30,000 words.

“Home is where you feel at home. I’m still looking.”
Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote, ~26K words. Witty, wistful, and all too fleeting, Capote’s fabulous novella shares a lot in common with its star character, Holly Golightly. Now a byword for a freewheeling soul, Holly will leave you feeling the same way she leaves the story’s narrator: wanting more.

“The classroom was a jail of other people’s interests. The library was open, unending, free.”
etween The World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, 152 pages. Coates’ clutch of personal essays on being black in America takes the form of a letter to his adolescent son, inviting you into his life with power and passion. Possibly the best-reviewed book of 2015, this collection is, in Toni Morrison’s words, “as profound as it is revelatory.”

“Why do old men wake so early? Is it to have one longer day?”
The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway, ~27K words. An old man goes to sea, proving the strength of both. Hemingway’s shortest novel is Moby-Dick for beginners, starring a protagonist you actually hope will survive to fish again.

“Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.”
Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt, ~28K words. This dazzling novel-turned-movie-turned-Broadway musical about a rural family who drank the spring of immortality bears a message as timeless as its forever-young characters: The worst and best parts of life come hand-in-hand. You read it in school—time to read it again.

“She had an evil face, smoothed by hypocrisy; but her manners were excellent.”
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson, ~28K words. The original mad scientist makes a potion to mask his inner evil, which, as you know, sort of backfires. One of the great allegories on human nature, read it if only to brag to your friends that you have (it’s what Hyde would do.)

“I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why.”
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, ~29K words. A quick-witted schemer and his gentle giant companion try to make good as California ranchers, but bonds of love are tested when the giant turns not-so-gentle. Based on Steinbeck’s own hobo years, this Depression-era portrait is required school reading for a good reason.

“Marley was dead: to begin with.”
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, ~29K words. A cranky miser says “bah, humbug” to goodwill and human decency—until three ghosts crash his pity party. This cheerful classic is so funny and heartwarming at any time of year, it barely needs Muppets to improve it.

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
Animal Farm, by George Orwell, ~30K words. Orwell funnels all the cynicism of 1984 into a barnyard romp about talking animals who overthrow their human oppressors. Is it an allegory of the Russian Revolution, or a more realistic version of Charlotte’s Web? You decide.

“Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday; I can’t be sure.”
The Stranger, by Albert Camus, ~38K words. Navel-gazing Camus delivers an Idiot’s Guide to Absurdism in his story of a nihilist who takes a beach vacation that ends in murder (sort of like Weekend at Bernie’s, except French and joyless.) Goes down quicker than a bottle of Bordeaux, which you’ll probably need by the gut-punching conclusion.

“There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house.”
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, ~46K words. In the dystopian future, all books are illegal, and “firemen” are the one who start fires. Bradbury’s chilling vision of censorship gone amok may have been published in 1953, but its drama and heart still smolder in the hands of whoever holds it.

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.”
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, ~46K. A U.K. man and his chum become homeless when Earth is demolished to build a bypass. Interplanetary hijinks ensue in the first book of the most beloved sci-fi comedy series ever written.

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, ~47K words. Jay Gatsby lives in excess of everything except love. The Roaring Twenties go out with a bang in this beautifully written classic about finding something real behind walls of painted gold.

“All this happened, more or less.”
Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, ~50K words. Vonnegut, a real POW, relives his grim memories of the Dresden firebombing through the eyes of Billy Pilgrim, a fake POW, optometrist, and time traveler. Equal parts sci-fi, satire, and WWII memoir, Mr. Vonnegut’s opus will leave you spinning.

“I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf…”
We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson, ~56K words. Shirley Jackson’s final novel takes all the creepiness of The Lottery and stretches it to the snapping point over a small New England town. Featuring arsenic poisonings, rioting villagers, a burning mansion, and the sisterly love that survives it all, this grim fable will make you thankful for whatever weird family you have.

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker, ~66K words. Beginning in the 1930s and spanning decades, this story of one poor black family tells the story of an entire generation of women in the American South. Yes, it’s hard… But so is life.

“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green, ~67K words. Ten million teenagers can’t be wrong about this story of young love complicated by cancer. You will laugh. You will cry. You will cry some more. Go read it.
More: Culture Books

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