The easiest and simplest way to get out of a reading slump or to get into reading in the first place is to begin small. Novellas offer (almost) the sumptuousness and holisticness of novels. But they also don’t strain the mind too much because they are quick reads. Here are 10 short and easy to read books that will help beginners start reading. This list of novellas and short novels that are easy to slip into, not just because of their length but also because of the style of writing itself.
10 Short and Easy to Read Books That will Help Beginners Start Reading:
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata
- The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
- Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
- Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
- The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller
- A Room With A View by E M Forster
- On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
- Afternoon Raag by Amit Chaudhuri
Animal Farm by George Orwell
This well crafted allegory for the Russian revolution is a fable full of anthropomorphic characters. It basically follows a bunch of farm animals who unite in order to overthrow the oppressive human regime. They soon become famous as the farm run by animals and not humans. But slowly the leaders of the regime begin to corrupt and what seemed like an idyllic situation turns into a nightmare. The fable proves – the most radical revolutionary becomes conservative one day after the revolution.
Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata
This snowclad and icy book is the quaint and restraint-filled story of a man who traves by train to the coldest region in Japan. Here he meets his ex-lover, the geisha and contemplates the future of their togetherness. This book is quiet yet powerful in subtle ways. It also captures the rural life of Japan with tenderness, much like the other novels of the Nobel laureate Kawabata. It’s also a quick read because of its brevity and lyricism.
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
This is the perfect way to enter the vast and fertile territory of American Literature. Fitzgerald’s masterpiece follows the narrator, Nick Carraway who moves into the West Egg of New York. Amidst the materialism and decadence of the Jazz age, he encounters a host of eclectic characters. The central and titular story focusses on Gatsby, a nouveau riche, idealistic man who is in love with his ex-girlfriend Daisy, now married to a jerk called Tom.
Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
This collection of short stories by Murakami is indeed very short, but a delight to read. There are several stories which capture the essence of the quintessential Murakami writing – the magical realism, the lonely protagonist and the search for the irretrievable. Among these are the story of a student who forms a love triangle with his best friend and his best friend’s girlfriend. There’s also the reverse-Kafkaesque story of a beetle who transforms into a human and becomes a misfit in the human world. In the titular story, a man picks up a call to realize his ex has passed away, prompting a reflection on men without women.
Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
In this story, written with brilliant wit and dazzling situational humour, Marquez recounts the events that lead up to a man’s death. Everyone seems to know about because the killers confess it in hopes that someone will stop them. Plus, everyone knows for the reason behind it to. Everyone, that us, apart from the man himself, who unwittingly walks to his own death.
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
In this profoundly philosophical and poetic book, Gibran, through a prophet delivering lectures to a village before parting, talks about the varied facets of life. These include love, joy, beauty, work, leisure, marriage, children and more. What emerges is a vibrant and colourful book full of advice about life.
The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller
This is a love story that took the world by storm. And like almost all love stories that surpass and transcend the realm of fiction and become real, tangible stories, this one is tragic. We follow a man, Robert Kincaid, who ends up at the home of an Italian-American woman, Francesca. Francesca lives in Madison County, Ohio. While her husband and children are away, they strike up, unintentionally, a passionate whirlwind romance. But at the end, when it comes to choosing between her love and the reputation of her husband in a small town and her children, she makes the ultimate sacrifice.
A Room With A View by E M Forster
This summery Italian romance follows Lucy Hale as she encounters a number of vibrant characters in Italy. There’s the extravagant novelist of romantic novels, lower class Mr Emerson and his passionate and extraordinary son. When she returns to the bleak, disciplined and boring England, she reminisces on her life in Italy. Additionally, she clamours for its freedom. And this choice manifests in the decision she must make between two suitors. These suitors personify the values of the two countries.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
In this lyrical and extremely poetic book, Vuong recounts, through bits and pieces that we piece together like a puzzle, his life as a Vietnamese immigrant in America. The book talks about his encounters with his druggist boyfriend, his mother’s nail salon and his grandmother’s fractured life. As a gay Vietnamese, Vuong explores the implications of a racist and sexist society.
Afternoon Raag by Amit Chaudhuri
This book is the story of a lonely Indian man in Oxford. In the book, he pieces together vignettes of his past and present to craft poetry-prose. The book is plotless for most part, and is full of ethereal imagery which strikes a chord.