It’s not just because of the limited time we all have: We love short books for their burst of energy and epiphany. Short books whisk us off to another world and then (usually) deposit us right back where we used to be, a little more exhilarated or enlightened. This list of quick reads includes nonfiction and fiction (even though many of us were assigned John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men in middle school, it’s worth visiting again and worth checking out our review of the book from 1936, when we called Steinbeck “a genius and an original”). For more good short fiction and nonfiction, check out byliner.com, Kindle Singles and Melville House’s The Art of the Novella series. Meanwhile, you should be able to get all these books read by the time we publish next week’s list, so get cracking!
A deceptively rich and cumulatively powerful novel.
At the outset, this might seem like minor Morrison (A Mercy, 2008, etc.), not only because its length is borderline novella, but because the setup seems generic. A black soldier returns from the Korean War, where he faces a rocky re-entry, succumbing to alcoholism and suffering from what would subsequently be termed PTSD. Yet perhaps, as someone tells him, his major problem is the culture to which he returns: "An integrated army is integrated misery.Read full book review >