12 Classic Novels You Can Devour in One Sitting

If a book is around the 200 page mark, there's a pretty good chance I will knock it out in one sitting if I have a free afternoon or an evening to myself. It's shockingly satisfying, almost addicting, to read an entire book in just one day; to have a journey and resolution completed in one gulp. These novels were all stories I loved that I devoured in a single sitting. None of them needed a long page count to have a big impact, plus, they're all classics, so you can beef up your literary knowledge with these bite size books!

The Outsiders | S.E. Hinton (192 pages)- I seem to have missed this one in high school, but reading it as an adult was still really satisfying. Though the themes are smack you in the face obvious, it reads like someone is telling you a story in one big breath, talking a little too fast, and quite intense. That style makes it compelling and readable, this classic tale of social class warfare and coming of age. 

The Awakening | Kate Chopin (195 pages)- Shocking when it was published in 1899, this is a story of one woman's defiance of the strict social expectations of the South at the time, as she discovers her inner life and desires. This novel feels very modern, and while it definitely doesn't have a happy ending, it's a classic for good reason.

The Pastures of Heaven | John Steinbeck (207 pages)- I really enjoy Steinbeck, and so many of his novels are short and self contained. If you're interested in checking out this beloved author, you can easily pick up one of his shorter novels to get a good feel for his style. This particular one is representative of his fixation with the tension between natural instinct and desire to conform to society, of appreciating simple joys in real life, and the coastal valleys of California near Monterey.

84, Charing Cross Road | Helene Hanff (112 pages)- This is non-fiction, and is comprised of letters between the author in America and her English bookseller. The blend of her sassy wit and his more staid English humor is a great balance and makes for a really fun read that gives a peek into decades of history and of a real friendship.

Franny and Zooey | J.D. Salinger (201 pages)-  Less famous than Catcher in the Rye, but visits many of the same themes in an unnamed college town. The novel first revolves around a nervous breakdown of Franny while visiting her boyfriend, while the second half picks up a few days later, narrated by Franny's older brother and detailing the aftermath of her breakdown. If you read Catcher in high school and enjoyed it, there's a good chance you'll love this one just as much, if not more. 

Breakfast at Tiffany's | Truman Capote (157 pages)- Capote has a voice like no other, and the book is a much less saccharine version than the Audrey Hepburn movie most of us are familiar with. This is really such a delightful novel and character study, and it's honestly, truly un-put-down-able.

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A Christmas Carol | Charles Dickens (104 pages)- The perennial classic tale of Christmas, most people don't realize how short it is, given Dickens' reputation for being long winded. If you enjoy the many retellings and versions that exist in our culture, it's well worth reading the original text.

The Giver | Lois Lowry (180 pages)- A classic dystopian novel where all choices for people are made by the government, and in a world without color, one boy receives the memories of the past, infused with color and emotion, and the complex vibrancy that comprises real life. This obviously changes everything, and he must decide what to do with this knowledge. 

Mrs. Dalloway | Virginia Woolf (172 pages)- Essentially a dreamy stream of consciousness of a woman running errands and preparing her home for a party she is giving that evening, while reminiscing about her life, interacting with other characters, and examining the choices she's made to lead her to this day. The existential crisis of it all was shocking at the time of publication, and revered now today. Woolf is such a lush, graceful, and wise writer, that this book just sucks you in and wraps you up.

The Importance of Being Earnest | Oscar Wilde (76 pages)- I've waxed poetic about this perfectly hilarious and witty play before, but it's the classic I point people to when they think classics are stuffy and boring. Wilde is a genius, truly, and this farce of mistaken identity, double lives, and secret engagements highlights just how playful and funny his genius can be. 

The Picture of Dorian Gray | Oscar Wilde (177 pages)- Wilde strikes again, but in a very different mood. This classic tale of vanity and madness, and the deterioration of one man's spirit. Dorian Gray remains a haunting tale of art, beauty, cruelty, sin and selfishness, and Wilde remains secure in his reputation as a master writer and storyteller.

Gentleman Prefer Blondes | Anita Loos (216 pages)- I actually just bought this book, and can't wait to devour it one evening, but it is the book the famous Marilyn Monroe movie of the same name is based on, and has become truly iconic. I've heard its completely hilarious, intelligent, and a great parody of female stereotypes at the time, while being a wildly fun ride. 

 

What books have you been unable to put down and plowed through in one sitting? Let us know in the comments below or by tagging #TheArdentBiblioReads! We can't wait to try your recommendations!