Following my last short book recommendations post I have gathered another five brilliant books that I think you’ll love.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (146 pages)
Perfect for this time of year, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a sharp little knife of a book that is shrouded in mystery and creepiness. You follow Mary, as she tells the reader what happened to her family and why all of the local villagers don’t want to go anywhere near her house. Jackson has such a punchy writing style that I think this is a great place to start if you haven’t read any of her work yet.
To Be Taught, if Fortunate by Becky Chambers (160 pages)
If you’re a fan of Becky Chambers’s other work then this is a must read. In my opinion this is her best work as it brings together her excellent characterisation and unique science fiction ’world’ building but as its only 160 pages the plot is much punchier than her other works that can feel a little plotless at times.
In this novella, you follow a crew of explorers as they travel through multiple solar systems to uncover the secrets of planets and their potential to sustain life – a very cool concept excellently executed!
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (163 pages)
This is often described as a weird book and those people aren’t wrong! It just so happens that I love weird and this bizarre, darkly quirky book totally compelled me. Keiko, our protagonist, is unapologetically herself to the embarrassment of pretty much everyone around her. In 160 pages, the author tackles some intense topics, but it’s handled brilliantly, the dark social commentary also provides fantastic insight into Japanese culture in the microcosm of a convenience store. Total genius.
Slaughterhouse-five by Kurt Vonnegut (192 pages)
Nobody else suspected he was going crazy.
We follow sweet old Billy Pilgrim as he navigates his PTSD and then a slow descent into insanity. Slaughterhouse-five is a devastatingly gentle exploration of the impact of war on the human psyche and how the mind often tries to protect itself from horrific memories. This novel is wonderfully written as you bounce back and forth through time with Billy as he pieces his life together. The absurdity of the alien narrative becomes impossible to ignore and increasingly powerful as the story moves forward. This is a simplistic yet stunning story – a classic for a reason.
Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer (208 pages)
At just over 200 pages, Annihilation is unlike anything Ive ever read and firmly sits in the ‘weird’ category. This isn’t filled with jump scares, as lots of horror tends to be, instead it is a slow colonization of your consciousness. You’re not forced to push through fear to continue, instead, slowly page by page you make apprehensive progress through the story as the Biologist’s strange words whisper to you.
Be warned, you receive no answers but it doesn’t really matter. You don’t feel scared you feel totally uncomfortable and that somehow feels worse.
There we go, five fantastic short books that I implore you to check out this autumn/winter. Do you have any short recs?