Books to Read in an Afternoon

The holiday season also means the season for stowing away with a new book. Whether it’s a new gift or something you’ve been meaning to sit down with for a while, there’s no better time to knock some items off of your To Be Read Pile. But between family commitments, lengthy meals, or various conversations with your estranged cousin about who you’re dating and what you’ve been doing, we know it can be difficult to actually get that quality reading time in.

So, here are our favourite titles that will only take you an afternoon to read. Sit down, snuggle in, and soak up these adventures in less than 200 pages:

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Though it’s a children’s story, The Little Prince, or Le Petit Prince for you Francophiles, is the sweetest of the short stories we know. It’s the story of a little boy who lives alone on a tiny planet, and his great adventure into the rest of the universe. Along the way he meets all types of humans, animals, and plants, each with a lesson to impart. It’s a story of mission and love and loneliness, and with its few pages it’ll change the way you tend to your roses and look into the stars.

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

If you enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant, you’ll like this one, too. Keiko Furukura is making her way through her mundane and regimented convenience store job the only way she knows how. She follows the rules, she copies what others do, and she acts as normal as possible — despite being labeled as strange her whole life. But when a new face turns up in the store, her routine is turned upside down. Convenience Store Woman is a most wonderful vignette into a unique life, full of humour and just enough awkwardness for you to fall head over heels with it.

Grief is The Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

If there’s any animal to teach us about the ways of grief, we suppose a crow is the most sensible option. Grief is The Thing with Feathers is the poetic debut from Max Porter, which follows a family who has just lost its mother. Enter Crow and his nonsensical, well-meaning, ever-present counseling. Over the months, this little family gets used to its new world with its new visitor. Split between the perspectives of Crow, the father, and the two sons, and told with lyricism and heart, we get a tender and well-rounded view of what it means to heal.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Yes, we recommend a lot of children’s titles, but it’s nostalgic, right? Coraline comes from the wonderfully weird world of Neil Gaiman, in which a young girl is just trying to escape from her less-than-ideal family life. She steps through a little door into another world that seems far more better than her own — but once she realises she might not want to stay forever, she learns this new life isn’t entirely willing to let her go. It’s whimsical, it’s creepy, and you’ll find yourself falling in love with a favourite new heroine.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Why not round this list off with a bit of Orwell, the master of satire? Full of tyranny, revolution, and…. pigs, Animal Farm is an unforgettable commentary on freedom. Written in 1945 and originally thought to be aimed at Russia, it’s still eerily applicable today. The book that’s been banned  in multiple countries for various amounts of time is the perfect one to curl up with this holiday season. Enjoy!


As always, thank you for reading, and be sure to tweet us @AgoraBooksLDN with your favourite short books to devour in an afternoon!