Reading is one of my favorite activities. Finding pleasant company in the different characters of my favorite fiction novels and from my favorite non-fiction works offers new interesting anecdotes to weave into conversation. With the stresses of school, it’s difficult to carve time out of our busy schedules to sit down and read a book for pleasure. As someone who’s always loved reading, even I find that once the school year starts I read for fun significantly less than I do over the summer or on vacation. Every summer, I find myself speeding through a great book, wondering to myself why I don’t read more often. Then, vacation ends, and the same book that I was so engrossed with stays on my shelf, unopened for the coming months.
So, I became eager to find ways to incorporate reading into my usual routine, not only when other life responsibilities faded into the background. I’ve started giving myself thirty minutes before my classes to read something that isn’t assigned to me. One great way to reintegrate reading into your routine is to pick books that are unintimidating and manageable to finish, such as some from this list of books that are under or around 200 pages. These shorter works of literature give the reader the opportunity to delve into the world of another person or writer without the long-term commitment.
Many classic novels rank under 200 pages, such as George Orwell’s Animal Farm, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and Ernest Hemmingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. However, one of my personal favorites, and the first book on this list is The Great Gatsby, an iconic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, in which the reader follows Jay Gatsby on his quest to reunite with his love interest of years earlier, Daisy Buchanan. Usually, reading one of the “classic” great works of literature is a cumbersome task; yet with Gatsby, you could read the novel in an afternoon or two. Most of us have probably read this book already for a high-school literature class or seen the popular movie adaptation starring Leonardo DiCaprio, but I think there is something new to be gained by reading this novel.
At 126 pages, On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder is another interesting book to read that won’t squander too much of your time. Looking back on European history during the 20th century, Snyder analyzes and explains what enabled democratic governments to devolve into authoritarian regimes in various European countries. Without explicitly naming President Trump and the current administration, Snyder offers advice and anecdotes educating the reader on how to recognize, be wary of, and prevent the rise of tyranny. This book is extremely thought-provoking, guiding its audience to think about the implications of living in an eroding democracy while drawing parallels between the not-so distant past and our current political environment.
There are plenty of lists online categorizing books by their page length that can help you pick a book that’s right for you and your schedule. But I encourage you to start with the ones I’ve discussed in this article!
COVER PHOTO: AARP