Get Me To My GoodReads Challenge On Time!

For those of us who set GoodReads challenges (number of books to read in the calendar year) it’s crunch time.

I personally have just under two months to read 10 more books. This will get me to my goal of 50 books for the year. I made my 2012 Challenge of 40 books last year but just barely.

Once you get to crunch time it’s important to read books that are entertaining and short, but that don’t feel like cheating. For example, earlier this year I read Michael Pollan’s Food Rules which is largely pages with one or two sentences and beautiful illustrations. If I read it at the end of the year just to hit my goal it would feel more like cheating than when I read it part-way through the year.

So without further ado, my list of 10 short-but-validating books (under/around 200 pages) that you can read to help get you to your challenge finish line:

10) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (223 pages) or The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (156 pages).

Take this opportunity to re-read a classic children’s book or pick one up for the first time. I just finished Oz #1 which I truly enjoyed despite my dislike for the Wizard of Oz movie.

9) Graphic novels like Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi (153 pages).

A graphic novel can seem like an easy skim-to-read but (despite what my mother thinks) have true artistic and literary value. Don’t just page through glancing at the drawings and words, take the time to really appreciate the complexity of the story-line that matches text with image and the themes and message of the book.

8) The Matisse Stories by A.S. Byatt (144 pages).

Short story collections are good to read at work during a lunch break because of shorter story lines that won’t be as disrupted with frequent interruptions (at the end of your half hour).

7) The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (110 pages).

I didn’t like this book when I read it in my high school English class but revisited it in college and fell for it the second time around.

6) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (180 pages) or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (227 pages).

Finally read one of the classic novels you’ve never gotten around to reading. While many classics are behemoths (The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck comes to around 455 pages and Middlemarch by George Eliot is a hefty 904 pages) there are plenty that are short but wonderfully-written reads.

5) Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery (160 pages).

Whether you’ve read The Elegance of the Hedgehog or not this is an interesting story about a grouchy gourmand.

4) Hector and the Search for Happiness by Francois Lelord (134 pages).

Like Le Petit Prince but for adults.

3)Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (13 hours).

Audiobooks! This year my commute doubled to around 40 minutes each way, which I felt seriously cut into my reading time. My solution has been audiobooks. I’ve borrowed audiobook CDs and Playaways from the public library to listen to in my car (I have a cord that plugs the Playway so it comes out through the car speakers) or download an audiobook to my phone. It’s a great way to work my way through more books, and BookRiot has a great list of top audiobooks through which I am slowly making my way.

2)The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (213 pages).

How did I not read this in high school? A fast-paced read about a teenage outsider.

1) Cowboys are my Weakness by Pam Houston (192 pages),

Last year when I was begging my friends for suggestions of short, fulfilling books to get me to my GoodReads Challenge goal, my friend Brian lent me his copy of this book and I fell in love. A compelling collection of short stories  (remember the tip above about lunchtime reading?) featuring strong women, I also highly suggest Waltzing the Cat which revolves around one character.

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