Book Recommendation · Bookish List

Short Reads For the End of the Year

Hello friends! Vera here, and I’m ready to flood your to-read lists with shorter books you can consume extremely quickly. In the past couple of years, I’ve been known to set my yearly reading goal to a number I can easily reach, however, as someone who used to aim for a challenging number, I know the struggle December is for some of readers as they try to reach their reading goal. Not to mention that even if I’ve reached my goal months ago, I always have a desire to read more and do better than I did last year, so I tend to seek out quick reads during December.

Today, I brought you nine short, fast reads that will hopefully help you conquer your reading goal. Don’t forget to leave a comment with YOUR favorite short reads, we could all use some recommendations.

Click on the covers to be taken to Goodreads!

Night by Elie Wiesel
length: 115 pages

While I don’t make it a habit to read heartbreaking, difficult novels, I’m glad I had to read Elie Wiesel’s Night for one of my seminars, as it is one of the most impactful novels I’ve ever read. It is based on the author’s own experiences as he tells the readers how him and his father were taken from their home to Auschwitz in 1944. Given that surveys constantly show that many don’t even know what Auschwitz is (and don’t get me started on those who don’t believe the Holocaust happened), I believe it’s important to keep recommending books that deal with the Holocaust.

Tender Is the Flesh by Augustina Bazterrica
length: 224 pages

To all my horror loving friends, let me introduce you to Tender Is the Flesh by Augustina Bazterrica, also known as one of the most impactful horror novels I’ve ever read. It tells the story of a world where, due to a virus, all animals had to be killed so now, instead of animal meat, humans consume humans, i.e. “special meat.” The portrayal of how humans are bred and raised to be eaten is brutal, and while the novel serves as a critique of the meat industry, it is also speckled with other sorts of social criticism. A captivating and mortifying read, but one that I’d nonetheless recommend.

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
length: 251 pages

Another hard hitting book, but I promise, there’ll be softer, more relaxing ones down the line. In the Dream House is a nonfiction novel told in vignettes, in which Machado talks about her relationship with her abusive ex-girlfriend. This is easily one of the best written nonfiction books I’ve ever had the chance to read. Machado’s emotions are palpable and her writing is flawless; she drags you into her book and will not let you go until the very end.. maybe not even then. For those who are interested in the topic of same-sex intimate partner violence, In the Dream House is a great start, as Machado takes the time to introduce materials she found useful and educational.

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales
length: 288 pages

The quick switch between a traumatizing nonfiction book and an adorable contemporary YA might leave you reeling.. if Only Mostly Devastated wasn’t more complex that its cover promises. This novel follows Ollie and Will, two boys who have a warm, loving summer romance. However, when Ollie accidentally ends up as the new student at Will’s high school, he is devastated to see that Will refuses to acknowledge him. As this book deals with someone who is in the closet due to very real fears, it is not always an easy read, but it’s always a fantastic one. Not only was the romance thoughtful and beautiful, but the friendships and the elements the Sophie Gonzales adapted from Grease also left me speechless.

Act Like It by Lucy Parker
length: 295 pages

Have I recommended Act Like It countless times on the blog? Yes. Will I recommend it again in the future? Also yes, as this is one of the best rom-coms I’ve ever read. It follows West End actors Laine and Richard who are forced to fake-date due to Richard’s bad reputation dragging down the show they’re in. This is a thoroughly entertaining novel that had me hating Richard until he started to show that he is more than a grumpy, arrogant actor who might actually be perfectly suitable for Lainie, who is the epitome of a sunshine characters. If you like banter and sass, Act Like It is for you.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
length: 288 pages

I’ve only read two novels by Kazuo Ishiguro so far, but even so, I would confidently call him one of my favorite authors. Never Let Me Go is a dystopian novel about what it means to be human in a world where certain people – if they are to be considered people – are used and discarded. It’s a heartbreaking story, and one that will leave you with a lot of food for thought and a lot of different interpretations. If we’re talking about Ishiguro, I also need to mention The Remains of the Day by him, the historical novel that originally made me fall in love with his writing. I can’t recommend these books enough to you, I really can’t.

A List of Cages by Robin Roe
length: 310 pages

Even though A List of Cages is more than 300 pages long – and I wanted to dedicate this post to shorter books than that – I knew I needed to include it, because it’s an incredibly powerful novel that I rarely talk about. A List of Cages tells the heartwarming and heartbreaking story of domestic abuse, family, brotherhood, and friendship. While this book has some horrific scenes, it was ultimately the uplifting and bright moments that remained with me after I closed the book. For those who enjoy contemporary YA with only a touch of romance (barely noticeable, I swear), A List of Cages is a must read.

Trade Me by Courtney Milan
length: 336 pages

Listen, I remember what I said about books on this list being below 300 pages, but Trade Me is one of my favorite romances and it’s an extremely fast read. The novel follows Tina and Blake who decide to switch places and bank accounts after billionaire-Blake makes an offhand comment about what it means to be poor. I hate billionaire romances ferociously but this one works. Courtney Milan builds the characters’ relationship with extreme care, and she also includes important issues like eating disorders, a topic that is rarely talked about in connection with men. I can’t recommend this book – and Milan’s other romances – enough; she is a fantastic author.

I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest
length: 272 pages

We finish this post on a soft, underrated road trip contemporary, all about following your dreams. All Chloe wants is to be a professional ballet dancer and the next step towards that is attending an audition at a prestigious dance conservatory. However, her overprotective mom is not ready to let her daughter attend a school two hundred miles away, so Chloe is forced to drive down to the audition in secret. The first speed bump? Her annoying neighbor insists on hitching a ride with his dog, or else he’ll tell Chloe’s mother about the plan. This is the start of a cute road trip romance you can fly through extremely fast.

Let’s chat!

Are you done with your reading goal? Do you like to go over your goal? (I sure do.) Have you read any of the books I recommended? What are your favorite quick reads?

15 thoughts on “Short Reads For the End of the Year

  1. Great recommendations! I’ve heard amazing things about Tender Is The Flesh and I Wanna Be Where You Are is on my december tbr. I’m excited about it, Kristina Forest seems to write such feel-good rom coms โค

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Short books are such a great idea for the end of the year, I have been reading a lot of holiday novellas for the festive season ๐Ÿฅฐ I really, really need to read A List of Cages, I’ve had this book on my TBR for ages, yet I never got around to reading it ๐Ÿฅบ Happy to hear that you liked it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t really set any reading number goal to avoid pressure so I’m not in any rush, but I love this post idea anyway! I have a list of cages and really need to get around to reading it. I also have some of these on my want to buy and read list such as night, tender is the flesh, in the dream house and only mostly devastated!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve heard great things from Tender is the Flesh! I think it’s a really unique concept, and I don’t reach much horror at all so I do think it is worth branching into the genre.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have Night and Only Mostly Devastated on my tbr but I’m adding I Wanna Be Where You Are to my list because it sounds so cute! I would love to read road trip books.
    My recommendation would be the Wayward Children series as they’re all super short! I’ve only read the first two and I really liked them.

    Liked by 1 person

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