Great Books Under 300 Pages

The inspiration for Great Books Under 300 Pages came from a July, 2014 article on Book Riot called Why Are Books Getting Longer? I commented on this article that, sure enough, I have a book recommendation list called Time to Kill, which is where my favorite chunksters go. Author Jeremy Anderberg responded to my comment with this:

Well maybe you’ll have to start a new list for short books! Huzzah!

Well, here you go, Mr. Anderberg! Plus, sometimes you just need something short and sweet.

Why did I choose 300 pages? As I perused my reading spreadsheet, I noticed there were lots of books in the 300-400 page range, but that it was more rare for an author to make it under the 300 page barrier. 

Latest Addition(s) (April 6, 2017)

The Stranger in the Woods, David FinkelThe Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel
Nonfiction (Released March 7, 2017)
224 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Plot Summary: The true story of Christopher Knight, the man who lived alone in the Maine forest for 27 years before finally being arrested for stealing food and essentials from nearby vacation homes.

My Thoughts: This is one strange, but completely captivating story. Christopher Knight is one of those people who makes you want to figure out what makes him tick…and I waffled back and forth between feeling empathy for him and empathy for the people whose houses he broke into (and ultimately landed on the fact that they don’t have to be mutually exclusive). It’s like a mash-up between a wilderness story and a study of the introverted personality trait, coupled with a look at today’s extraversion-oriented society. And, the story of Finkel’s experience of developing a relationship with the man who has been dubbed “the last true hermit” is compelling in and of itself. This is a quick read (or listen, in my case!) that’s perfect for fans of Jon Krakauer (particularly Into the Wild) and Quiet by Susan Cain.

Great Books Under 300 Pages

A Better Place by Barbara HallA Better Place, Barbara Hall, Southern fiction
Fiction (Released July, 2014)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: 
Valerie Caldwell, a small-town Southern belle living in LA, leaves her screenwriter husband and returns to her Virginia hometown, creating upheaval for her old friends.

My Thoughts: A Better Place came to me from Pat Conroy’s publisher (hint hint: naming Pat Conroy in your pitch is a surefire way to get me to review a book!) and, for that reason, I decided to at least read the first chapter and see what I thought. Frankly, I wasn’t expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised! It’s a quick, easy read that would be great for fans of Southern fiction. Continue Reading…

A Separation, Katie MitamuraA Separation by Katie Kitamura
Fiction (Released February 7, 2017)
240 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: A young woman’s mother-in-law asks her to travel to Greece to find her estranged husband, who has stopped communicating, resulting in a rumination on the state of her marriage and the secrets they’ve been keeping.
My Thoughts: A Separation has catastrophically been described as a “whodunit” (by Elle Magazine) and “the literary Gone Girl of 2017″ (by The Millions). It is NOT either of those things. It is, however, a gorgeously dark rumination on a troubled marriage. It’s most definitely a “style” book (i.e. don’t look for a fast-moving plot), but I immediately adored the narrator’s voice and tone. Continue Reading…

All Grown Up, Jami AttenbergAll Grown Up by Jami Attenberg
Fiction (Released March 7, 2017)
208 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: Andrea Bern is single living in New York City and is struggling to find her place in the world…until some family struggles force her to confront her issues.
My Thoughts: All Grown Up is a raw, compact story of a young woman (Andrea) trying to find her way in the world, but it’s taking longer than society says it should. Attenberg uses little snapshots of Andrea’s life to share her struggles with being single in New York City (a situation I could relate to from years ago) and provide “yes, that’s exactly how it is” commentary on how society treats single ladies in their thirties. It’s one of my favorite books of 2017 so far! Continue Reading…

Boomerang by Michael LewisBoomerang, michael lewis, finance, business, european debt crisis
Nonfiction – Business (Released October, 2011)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: Lewis explains the European debt crisis by focusing on the culture and social norms of Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Germany, and, because it has striking similarities to these European countries, the state of California.
My Thoughts: Who would have thought a book about the European debt crisis could be funny? Lewis’ social commentary on how each country’s culture brought about its downfall is hilarious and makes Boomerang appealing even to those who aren’t remotely interested in finance. Continue Reading…

Brain on Fire by Susannah CahalanBrain on Fire, Susannah Cahalan, psychosis, memoir
Nonfiction – Memoir (Released November, 2012)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: The true story of 26 year old New York Post reporter Susannah Cahalan’s unexplained “descent into madness” and her subsequent struggle to recover her identity.
My Thoughts: Brain on Fire is a fascinating medical mystery. Susannah’s first symptoms were flu-like (true of 70% of patients with her illness), which then spiraled into numbness, seizures, hallucinations, paranoia, memory loss, loss of motor skills, and catatonia. After weeks of doctors haphazardly diagnosing her with all kinds of things (alcohol withdrawal was my favorite), she ended up at the renowned NYU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center for a month while the experts there struggled to figure out what was wrong with her. Continue Reading…

Concussion, Jeanne Marie LaskasConcussion by Jeanne Marie Laskas
Nonfiction – Medical Mystery/Sports (Released November 24, 2015)
288 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: The story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, a native of Nigeria, who immigrated to the U.S. and used his neuropathological research into brain injuries to football players (i.e. CTE) to take on the National Football League (NFL).
My Thoughts: Concussion is a so much more than a “football book”; it’s a medical mystery, a David & Goliath story, an immigrant’s story, and a story of a big-business cover-up…and, it’s my favorite nonfiction of 2015! Continue Reading…

Dirty Chick by Antonia MurphyDirty Chick, antonia murphy
Nonfiction – Memoir (Released January, 2015)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: 
After sailing the world for a few years, San Francisco urbanite Antonia and her husband, Peter, settle in a remote farm community in New Zealand (Purua) hoping to find a stable environment for their developmentally delayed son…and end up becoming amateur farmers.
My Thoughts: Dirty Chick is a fun, eye-opening, hilarious romp through what happens when a city girl decides to become a “lifestyle farmer” (i.e. farming for the fun of it, not as an actual occupation). It’s a quirky book and is chock full of gross animal stories (i.e. if you can’t handle reading about the bodily functions of goats, this book is not for you!). Continue Reading…

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste NgEverything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng, fiction
Fiction (Released June, 2014)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: 
When Lydia, the favorite teenage daughter of a Chinese-American family living in 1970’s Ohio, turns up dead, the family is forced to examine strains that have been lying just below the surface.
My Thoughts: I wanted to read Everything I Never Told You after seeing Shannon at River City Reading’s glowing review of this debut novel. Plus, I had great luck with 2014 debuts! I wouldn’t say I loved this book as much as Shannon did, but I did like it a lot, even though it turned out to be a bit different than I expected. Given the book opens with this doozy, I was expecting a thriller focused on how and why Lydia is dead. Continue Reading…

Ghosts of Manhattan by Douglas BruntGhosts of Manhattan, Douglas Brunt, novel about wall street, wall street, mortgage bubble
Fiction (Released October, 2012)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: 
Amid the 2005 mortgage bubble, thirty five year old Bear Stearns bond trader, Nick Farmer, faces disillusionment with his career decision, personal life, and strategy decisions at Bear.
My Thoughts: I was a little skeptical because I’d read so many “Wall Street excess tell-alls” that they had started to run together in my head and ceased to be interesting. There’s only so many times you can read about money, drunkenness, cocaine, and hookers before it becomes a bit repetitive. But, this book was different…in a good way! Continue Reading…

Hillbilly Elegy, J. D. VanceHillbilly Elegy by J.D.Vance
Nonfiction – Memoir (Released June 28, 2016)
272 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: Vance’s hybrid memoir of his childhood growing up poor in an Ohio town (Middletown) / social analysis of the plight of poor Appalachians.
My Thoughts: Before reading Hillbilly Elegy, I’d heard it compared to Jeanette Walls’ The Glass Castle (which I loved) and I agree that the memoir portion does bear some resemblance. But, Vance takes Hillbilly Elegy to the next level (5 star level for me!) by seamlessly blending in social analysis of why the poor, white working class is failing to achieve upward mobility. Continue Reading…

Muckers by Sandra Neil WallaceMuckers
Fiction (Released October, 2013)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: 
Based on a true story, quarterback Red O’Sullivan and his underdog Hatley High School football team attempt to bring hope to their failing mining town by winning the 1950 Arizona state championships.
My Thoughts: My first thought when I started reading Muckers was that the team and the setting were a bit like the East Dillon Lions in “Friday Night Lights” (the TV show version), which made my day, as I think “FNL” was the best show that’s ever been on TV in my lifetime. Continue Reading…

My Name is Lucy Barton, Elizabeth StroutMy Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
Fiction (Released January 5, 2016)
208 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: During a long hospital stay, Lucy Barton has a heartfelt conversation with her mother spanning topics from her difficult childhood to gossip from her hometown to her marriage and motherhood.
My Thoughts: My Name is Lucy Barton was an unexpected winner for me…in the way I felt about it and what it was actually about. I expected a story focusing on Lucy’s relationship with her mother, and it certainly covers this territory, but it felt much more about Lucy’s own life: her childhood, what it was like to grow up poor and never quite fit in, and her adult life. Continue Reading…

My Salinger Year by Joanna RakoffMy Salinger Year, Joanna Rakoff, memoirs, J.D. Salinger
Nonfiction – Memoir (Released June, 2014)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: 
The story of Rakoff’s experience as a young woman in the 90’s living in NYC and working at the literary agency representing reclusive legend, J.D. Salinger.
My Thoughts: 
Though the title mentions Salinger, he is not the main focus of My Salinger Year. Sure, he makes appearances, but this is more of a coming of age story about a young girl trying to make it in NYC and a company trying to adjust to the modern world. You do not have to be a Salinger fan to enjoy this book. I was pleasantly surprised by this and ended up loving this book. Continue Reading…

My Southern Journey, Rick BraggMy Southern Journey by Rick Bragg
Nonfiction – Essays (Released September 15, 2015)
256 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: A collection of Bragg’s previously published (in various magazines and newspapers) articles about Southern life and culture.

My Thoughts: Bragg shows off Pat Conroy-caliber writing in his essay collection about Southern life. His introduction to this collection is a thing of beauty. He shares that he tries to avoid writing about the South in cliches (i.e. “no pig pickin’, frat parties, or cutthroat beauty contests”) and he truly does accomplish this. Dare I say that his writing about the South reminds me of Pat Conroy’s (for regular readers of this blog, you know this is a huge compliment from me)? And, a minute after this comparison occurred to me, Bragg mentioned having dinner with Conroy. I thought, “of course.” Continue Reading…

Never Leave Your Dead, Diane CameronNever Leave Your Dead by Diane Cameron
Nonfiction – War (Released June 7, 2016)
176 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: The true story of Donald Watkins, a WWII veteran (and the author’s stepfather) who murdered his first wife and mother-in-law long after returning from the China theatre.
My Thoughts: I have to be honest…this book was a total surprise for me. The story sounded interesting, but I had no idea truly how interesting it would turn out to be. I could not stop reading (despite the tiny print of my PDF-formatted ARC) and I ended up taking so much away from these compact 176 pages! Though the writing and story-telling is a bit choppy, the story of Donald Watkins blew my mind. Continue Reading…

Reunion by Hannah PittardReunion, Hannah Pittard, fiction
Fiction (Released October, 2014)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: 
As Kate faces turmoil in her own life, she is summoned to Altanta to join her somewhat estranged, extended (I don’t mean cousins and aunts…I mean ex-wives and half siblings!) family for her father’s (Stan) funeral.
My Thoughts: Reunion is a hilarious and irreverent take on marriage, stepmothers (four, in this case), half siblings (seven, in this case), strained parental relationships, the bond with siblings you grew up with, and the occasional ridiculousness of the rituals of death. I loved the combination of Pittard’s informal, straight forward writing style with the depth of the issues she covers. Continue Reading…

Still Points North by Leigh NewmanStill Points North, Leigh Newman
Nonfiction – Memoir (Released March, 2013)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: 
Following her parents’ divorce, Leigh Newman spent her childhood splitting her time with her Dad in Alaska and her Mom in Baltimore before tackling early adulthood as a travel writer in New York City.
My Thoughts: This fantastic memoir has eccentric parents reminiscent of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and outdoor adventures reminiscent of Wild by Cheryl Strayed – a great combination in my opinion! Continue Reading…

Striking Gridiron by Greg NicholsStriking Gridiron, Greg Nichols, nonfiction, sports, football, 1959 steel strike
Nonfiction – Sports (Released September, 2014)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: 
The story of a Pennsylvania steel town’s (Braddock) high school football team’s amazing 1959 season during the longest labor strike in U.S. history.
My Thoughts: My husband and I are big football fans and harbor soft spots for goose bump-inducing high school football stories. So, Striking Gridiron was right up my alley. The big question was if Nichols would be able to give me goose bumps in a situation where I already knew the ending…but, he succeeded! Continue Reading…

Thank You for Your Service by David FinkelThank You for Your Service, David Finkel, Iraq war, Afghanistan war, PTSD in soldiers, Traumatic brain injury in soldiers
Nonfiction – War (Released October, 2013)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: 
An exploration of mental and emotional trauma facing soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and the military’s efforts to curb this group’s high suicide rate.
My Thoughts: Thank You for Your Service was named one of the Best Nonfiction Books of 2013 by Publishers Weekly and one of the Top 10 Books of 2013 by the Washington Post…and I wholeheartedly agree. This is a heartbreaking and moving series of stories about various members of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion and their families dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) following war zone deployments. Continue Reading…

The Beautiful Bureaucrat, Helen PhillipsThe Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips
Fiction (Released August 11, 2015)
192 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: When Josephine moves to a new city with her husband and takes a job at a data processing facility, strange things begin to happen, leading her to further investigate the company she works for.
My Thoughts: Helen Phillips’ debut novel is a tiny ball of weirdness…reminiscent of a demented “Office Space”…that had me on the edge of my seat. I was on the edge of my seat virtually the entire time I was reading. I just had to know…what the heck is going on here?! The entire book feels like a riddle that the reader needs to unravel. And, once the the riddle of Josephine’s company has been solved, you’re left with much broader questions to ponder. Continue Reading…

The Big One by David KinneyThe Big One, David Kinney, striper fishing, Martha's Vineyard, Martha's Vineyard Striper and Bluefish Derby
Nonfiction – Sports (Released April, 2009)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: 
A behind the scenes look at the annual Martha’s Vineyard Striper & Bluefish Derby, a month-long, 24/7 fishing tournament that draws an eclectic mix of competitors (including locals, foreigners, professionals, amateurs, grandmas, and kids).
My Thoughts: You don’t have to be an avid fisherman to enjoy this book, although serious anglers certainly will love it.  Kinney gives you an entertaining mix of Martha’s Vineyard history, fishing strategy, love of competition, eccentric personalities, and unexpected results.

The Big Short by Michael LewisThe Big Short, Michael Lewis, 2008 market crash, housing bubble, mortgage bubble
Nonfiction – Business (Released March, 2010)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: 
Lewis explains how and why the housing bubble and 2008 burst happened by focusing on the mentality of the few people (one of whom suffers from Asberger’s Syndrome) who saw it coming and acted on their instincts.
My Thoughts: Lewis is the master of making complex financial concepts relatively understandable AND making them entertaining. The Big Short is the best book out there on the housing bubble and should be required reading for anyone interested in business. Continue Reading…

The Great Beanie Baby Bubble by Zac BissonnetteThe Great Beanie Baby Bubble, Zac Bissonnette
Nonfiction – Business (Released March 3, 2015)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: 
An in depth look at Ty Warner and the story of the mid-1990’s speculative bubble surrounding his Beanie Babies…and its subsequent crash.

My Thoughts: I was in college during the height of the Beanie Baby craze (1996-1998), so I was fairly unaware of exactly what “craze” meant in relation to these cuddly little creatures. I obviously knew they were popular, but did I know that adult collectors were “investing” in $5 stuffed animals as if they were stocks? Absolutely not…because that would be really weird, improbable, and somewhat creepy! The Great Beanie Baby Bubble analyzes the how and why…and the who behind it all (Ty Founder and CEO, Ty Warner). Continue Reading…

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldThe Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fiction (Released April, 1925)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: 
The story of wealthy interloper, Jay Gatsby, and his obsession with the very much married Daisy Buchanan.
My Thoughts: I’m admittedly due for a re-read of this quintessential example of “wealthy people behaving badly”. And, I didn’t realize until recently that this classic was only 217 pages! 

The Mother, Yvvette EdwardsThe Mother by Yvette Edwards
Fiction (Released May 17, 2016)
256 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: When Marcia Williams, drowning in grief following the murder of her sixteen year-old son, faces his teenage killer at the trial, she is forced to make sense of how something so horrible could happen to her son.
My Thoughts: This novel kicks off with an incredibly powerful first chapter that pulled me in immediately, even though it was obvious this would be an emotionally difficult read. The Mother is part story of a mother’s grief, part courtroom drama, part portrait of grief’s impact on a marriage, and part statement about race, poverty, and what happens to people born into a rough life on the streets. Continue Reading…

The MothersThe Mothers, Brit Bennett by Brit Bennett
Fiction (Released October 11, 2016)
288 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: While seventeen year-old Nadia Turner is mourning the shocking loss of her mother, she starts a relationship with Luke Sheppard, her pastor’s son, resulting in an unwanted pregnancy.
My Thoughts: The Mothers was one of the most hyped books and the big debut novel of this Fall (author Brit Bennet is only 25 years old and was named to the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35). And, it completely lived up to the hype! The first page is one of the best first pages I’ve ever read and I highlighted three passages before moving on to Page 2. Continue Reading… 

New New Thing, Michael LewisThe New New Thing by Michael Lewis
Nonfiction – Business (Released 1999)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: 
The story of the Internet age, as illustrated by Jim Clark, the eccentric entrepreneur behind Netscape, Silicon Graphics, and eventually, Healtheon.
My Thoughts: While Lewis’ depiction of such a fascinating time in Silicon Valley was certainly interesting, what really made this book for me was Jim Clark. That guy is weird…in the most entertaining way! For example, he’s totally obsessed with his computerized yacht (i.e. it can sail itself)…which he sunk a gargantuan fortune into. And, yes, Lewis’ ability to make business and industry interesting is on displace here.

The Love Affairs of Nathanial P. by Adelle WaldmanThe Love Affairs of Nathaniel P
Fiction (Released July, 2013)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: 
As Nate becomes a more well-known figure in the Brooklyn literary scene (due to the imminent release of his first novel), he struggles with women and his new found status.
My Thoughts: I am ashamed to say that I bought this book because one of the ex-Bachelor contestants tweeted (I guess I am admitting that I follow ex-Bachelor contestants on Twitter – how embarrassing!) that it was the most fascinating look into guys’ heads she’d ever read. I’m not sure I feel THAT strongly about it, but it was a pretty interesting take on a guy’s view of relationships and dating, especially in New York. Continue Reading…

The Roanoke Girls, Amy EngelThe Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
Fiction (Released March 7, 2017)
276 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: When Lane Roanoke hears her cousin (Allegra) is missing, she returns to the Kansas estate where she spent one fateful summer as a teenager and must face the dark truth about her family.
My Thoughts: The Roanoke Girls features quite possibly the most dysfunctional (although, supremely F’d up is probably more accurate) family I’ve ever encountered in fiction. It’s the kind of book that I was slightly embarrassed to be reading, but was completely unable to put down. The extent to which Engel pushed the premise of this book is preposterous (think The Flowers in the Attic on steroids mixed with a bit of Sweet Home Alabama). Continue Reading…

The Rules Do Not Apply, Ariel LevyThe Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
Nonfiction – Memoir (Released March 14, 2017)
224 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: A searing memoir of self-examination by a current New Yorker staff writer (also a native of my current town).
My Thoughts: I immediately fell for Levy’s writing as she takes a brutally raw and honest look at her life including love, massive loss, and bad decisions. It’s a risky thing to market a book as “for readers of Cheryl Strayed” and, while I’m not putting Levy on equal footing with the giant, the comparison is not unfounded. Continue Reading…

Star Side of Bird Hill, Naomi JacksonThe Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson
Fiction (Released June 30, 2015)
294 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: After their mother becomes unable to care for them in Brooklyn, sisters Dionne (16) and Phaedra (10) are sent to live with their midwife grandmother (Hyacinth) on Bird Hill in Barbados.
My Thoughts: Everything about this debut novel is just gorgeous: most obviously the writing, but also the coming of age story with generational and cultural clashes front and center. Dionne and Phaedra have been raised in troubling circumstances in Brooklyn and experience quite a culture shock when they arrive on conservative Bird Hill. Continue Reading…

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle ZevinStoried Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin
Fiction (Released April, 2014)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: 
A.J. Fikry, the recently widowed and irritable owner of Island Books, is given the chance to turn his life around.
My Thoughts: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry was a common presence on book blogs a few months ago and I finally got around to reading it! And, in this case, definitely better late than never because I am unabashedly hopping on the A.J. Fikry bandwagon…I absolutely adored this book! I’m not even sure what type of book to say this is…it has great characters, gorgeous writing, and a twisty story…it has it all! Continue Reading…

The Throwback Special, Chris BachelderThe Throwback Special by Chris Bachelder
Fiction (Released March 14, 2016)
224 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: Bachelder uses an annual gathering of a group of middle aged men to reenact the 1985 NFL play where Lawrence Taylor broke Joe Theismann’s leg (and ended his career) to opine on broader life themes.
My Thoughts: The Throwback Special is a book that’s about far more than the title and summary suggest. It’s about life (marriage, parenting, insecurities, human behavior, etc) with a weird football tradition as the backdrop, not the other way around. Continue Reading…

The Truth and Other Lies, Sascha ArangoThe Truth And Other Lies by Sascha Arango
Fiction (Released June 23, 2015)
256 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: “Dark, witty, and suspenseful, this literary crime thriller reminiscent of The Dinner and The Silent Wife follows a famous author whose wife—the brains behind his success—meets an untimely death, leaving him to deal with the consequences.” – Amazon
My Thoughts: The Truth And Other Lies is the first summer book to blow my mind (and, it’s a translated debut)! It’s a tightly packed, demented thriller that kept me guessing from page one through the end. Continue Reading…

The Wife by Meg WolitzerThe Wife, Meg Wolitzer
Fiction (Released March, 2003)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: 
On a flight to Helsinki to watch him receive a prestigious literary prize, Joan decides to leave her famous novelist husband, Joe, after a decades long marriage.
My Thoughts: The Wife is easily one of my favorite books I read in 2014 and would have been a contender for my Best Book of the Year had it been published in 2014. Why? Because of the absolutely gorgeously perfect writing (and, yes, it needs 2 adverbs and an adjective)…that’s why! Continue Reading…

Woman Next Door, Yewande OmotosoThe Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso
Fiction (Released February 7, 2017)
288 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: A searing memoir of self-examination by a current New Yorker staff writer (also a native of my current town).

My Thoughts: The Woman Next Door was a fantastic surprise for me…and it’s likely to end up on my Underrated Gems of 2017 list. It’s like Grumpy Old Men crossed with Desperate Housewives set in South Africa and involving race. The story kicks off with snarky humor before taking a more contemplative turn. Continue Reading…

We Were Liars by E. LockhartWe Were Liars, E. Lockhart, young adult fiction
Fiction (Released May, 2014)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: 
A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends – the Liars – whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An Accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. The Truth.
– Amazon Book Description
My Thoughts: We Were Liars was the most talked about book of the summer of 2014. And, this review will be short on details because it’s a book best enjoyed by going in blind. Here’s what I will tell you: this is a quick, page-turner of a read. With the luxury of a beach day without kids, I think I could have read it in one sitting! Continue Reading…

Where All Light Tends to Go, David JoyWhere All Light Tends to Go by David Joy
Fiction (Released March 3, 2015)
274 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Summary: Jacob McNeely, son of his small North Carolina mountain town’s biggest outlaw, struggles to separate himself from the life of crime he was born into and to fight for the girl he loves (Maggie).
My Thoughts: I’ve read some great “Grit Lit” this year (Bull MountainThe Shore, The Animals), so I knew I had to make time for David Joy’s debut novel. It’s a story about fathers and sons, loyalty, love, and trying to claw your way out of your given circumstances. Continue Reading…

Why They Run the Way They Do, Susan PeraboWhy They Run the Way They Do by Susan Perabo
Fiction – Short Stories (Released February 16, 2016)
208 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Plot Summary: A collection of short stories featuring the darker undertones of daily life.
My Thoughts: Short stories have historically been a tough sell for me, but I’m trying to be more open to them after loving Nickolas Butler’s Beneath the Bonfire last year. I’m so glad I gave Why They Run the Way They Do a shot (or, more accurately, that Tara at Running N Reading convinced me to give it a shot) because it’s now only the second short story collection I’ve truly enjoyed from start to finish. On the surface, these stories are about mundane daily life…a harmless middle school prank, a child’s toy, spending time with your mother after some bad news…but, they have a darkness simmering just underneath. Continue Reading…

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2 Responses to “Great Books Under 300 Pages”

  1. Dana DiPasquale

    LOVED a Storied Life!! I was sneaking it into work on my Kindle phone app. I could not put it down!

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