Short Books to Inspire You to Read

I imagine I’m not the only one finding it difficult to complete a book at the moment. Despite the accomplishment finishing a long novel may bring, I sometimes think inspiration to read can be found elsewhere.

This list contains five short books of different genres that are more about the experience of reading than the book. Whether or not you’re reading right now, you still enjoy it. These books will make you excited about that again!

Icarus – Ovid

The Metamorphoses is a 15-book work of Latin poetry written in the form of an epic. Sometimes you just don’t have time for that, you know?

The book I’m talking about is an easy English retelling of the Icarus story – one of the most commonly known within Greek myth. Aside from the enjoyment of revisiting this story for the first time since likely you learnt about it in school, I find delving into short versions of works that are part of the Western literary canon are great options to get you excited about reading again.

We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This lovely short book (with excellent cover design), is a textual version of Adichie’s seminal 2012 TEDx talk. If you would rather read the words (the speech is thirty minutes), this is a great option.

It’s not a novel – it doesn’t have to be read front to back. Instead, I think it’s nice to jump in and out, engaging with a succint analysis of why the issues portrayed within matter.

The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway

This story, about a fisherman not catching any fish, is not only short but a classic. Perhaps this book about struggling not to give up will inspire you in your own reading journey.

Unlike the others, this book is one you can (and likely should!) read from beginning to end. Like the others, however, it’s enjoyable because it makes you think. While this novella may not be a long read, it is packed full of literary imagery and themes.

Hamlet – The Shakes

I know, I know. There’s no way a play that takes three hours to be performed is a ‘short’ read. I’ve included it on this list because I’ve engaged with Hamlet so many times I like reading this work as a way of dipping in and out of one of my favourite plays.

Similar to other books on this list, I think engaging with some Shakespeare is more about the #inspo. You still want to get excited about books, even if you cannot finish them!

Night Sky with Exit Wounds – Ocean Vuong

I think I talk about Ocean Vuong’s work way too much on my blog but, hear me out. If you want to read some truly excellent poetry, read this book.

Again – it’s poetry – you don’t have to read it in order. It’s inevitable you’re not going to like every poem in any book, so I never feel any guilt about skipping things I don’t like. Rather than the story, it’s always about the language, how it makes you feel, whether you want to write and read more after it.

What do you think about this list? Hopefully it’s prompted you to get excited about reading again!

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