Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Read in One Sitting

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme created by The Broke and the Bookish blog, and now hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week, I’m tackling a previous topic from the archives: Books to Read in One Sitting.

For this, I’ve included books that are less than 130 pages. Short – but not necessarily sweet – and well-worth the read.



84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (97 pp.)

Every bibliophile should read this charming epistolary memoir.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark (128 pp.)

There’s a lot lurking beneath the surface in this novella about an unorthodox teacher and a group of students at an all-girls Scottish boarding school.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (52 pp.)

Sweden had the right idea: this feminist text was passed out to every 16-year-old student in the country. It’s a concise and powerful essay with a message that needs repeating.

Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey (119 pp.)

This delightful 1930’s novella reads almost like a play. A whimsical cast of characters are gathered together for a slightly chaotic wedding day.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (112 pp.)

Of Mice and Men may be a short read, but it’s a mighty one. Once you’ve read it, the ending will stick with you forever.



A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf  (114 pp.)

Another essential feminist essay, A Room of One’s Own is an empowering battle cry for women’s intellectual and financial independence.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (67 pp.)

One of the wittiest plays ever written.

Peter and Alice by John Logan (96 pp.)

This contemporary play imagines what may have happened during the real-life meeting between Peter Llewelyn Davies, the inspiration behind Peter Pan, and Alice Liddell Hargreaves, the inspiration behind Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It is incredibly stunning and heartbreaking.

Night by Elie Wiesel (120 pp.)

This poignant and personal account of life during one of the darkest chapters in history, should be required reading. Elie Wiesel’s story of the horrors he endured as a child in Nazi concentration camps is unforgettable.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin (116 pp.)

The Awakening is a surprising, evocative, and unsettling novella. Kate Chopin’s frank and honest writing, and her memorable heroine were well ahead of their time. I still find myself thinking about the ending…



Have you read any of these (in one sitting or otherwise)? Do you have a favorite book that’s under 130 pages?



30 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Read in One Sitting

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  1. Great list! I agree, Peter and Alice is heartbreaking – I wish I’d seen it performed – and I think We Should All Be Feminists should be required reading. The Driver’s Seat is another fantastic novella from Muriel Spark that I would definitely recommend reading in one sitting.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry about the previous comment. I hit “send ” halfway through by accident. I meant to say that yes, I’ve read Summer. I would have included that on my list too but my copy has too many pages!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A great list. I have read four of the above. I think short books are a good way to try new authors, and others you mentioned have been added to my too long tbr list! I would also recommend A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr (85 pages) and Gigi by Colette (only 57 pages), which shows a book doesn’t have to be long to be great.

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  3. The irony of ‘Of Mice and Men’ being on this list and, yet, we took a whole school term to read it back when I was in secondary. LOL. I do love this list though. I feel like We Should All Be Feminists and A Room of One’s Own should be required reading.

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  4. I’ve read 8 of these, I loved 84, Charing Cross Road and Cheerful Weather (both also have excellent movie adaptations). I tried to watch the film version of Miss Jean Brodie and I just couldn’t get into it, disappointing because I love Maggie Smith and I know she won an Oscar for her performance (fun fact: her co-star Gordon Jackson went on to star in Upstairs, Downstairs as Hudson the butler). And I adore Oscar Wilde, Earnest is the best!

    Off the top of my head, two other books I know I’ve read in one sitting were Up at the Villa by Somerset Maugham (a favorite quick read) and Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, which is just brilliant, I think it’s my favorite of her works. I think I’ve also read a couple of Trollopes in one sitting, I think Miss Mackenzie and Cousin Henry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved the adaptation of Cheerful Weather, and will have to check out the 84, Charing Cross Rd one. That’s too bad to hear about Miss Jean Brodie; it sounded so promising with Maggie Smith as the lead. I loved both Up at the Villa and Ethan Frome too. I think they are slightly over 130 pages, or they probably would’ve made my list!


  5. Love that you dug into the archives for this one! I’m always intrigued by people’s choices for older topics and what people consider to be good books to read in one sitting. There are so many good books on your list.. My personal favourite is “We Should All Be Feminists” but it’s definitely tied with “A Room of One’s Own”–woo! Great job.

    Liked by 1 person

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