Is it just me, or does the reality of the lack of progress on our reading goals always become painfully obvious by the end of June?
I usually start off strong in the beginning of the year, devouring all the new books I acquire over the holidays. However, the time I spend reading directly correlates to how beautiful it is outside. By late March, reading sessions next to the fireplace turn into tossing a frisbee on the beach instead. Once people start expressing their shock that “it’s June already?!” I realize that I’m a few books behind on my reading goals.
That’s why every July, I stick to reading books that are shorter than 250 pages or listening to audiobooks that are less than 5 hours long. By focusing on small books, I can explore more authors, more topics, and get back on track to reach the finish line strong.
I know what you are thinking: do you really spend all of July reading classics? While classics are often short and sweet, you don’t need to limit yourself to classics to read or listen to a book in one sitting. Here are six books that prove that even newer titles can come in small packages:
Brood by Jackie Polzin | 240 pages | 4 hours 50 minutes
Over the course of a single year, our nameless narrator heroically tries to keep her small brood of four chickens alive despite the seemingly endless challenges that caring for another creature entails. From the forty-below nights of a brutal Minnesota winter to a sweltering summer which brings a surprise tornado, she battles predators, bad luck, and the uncertainty of a future that may not look anything like the one she always imagined.
Do You Mind if I Cancel? by Gary Janetti | 176 pages | 3 hours 39 minutes
Gary Janetti, the writer and producer for some of the most popular television comedies of all time and creator of one of the most wickedly funny Instagram accounts there is, now turns his skills to the page in a hilarious and poignant book chronicling the pains and indignities of everyday life.
Gary spends his twenties in New York, dreaming of starring on soap operas while in reality working at a hotel where he lusts after an unattainable colleague and battles a bellman who despises it when people actually use a bell to call him. He chronicles the torture of finding a job before the internet when you had to talk on the phone all the time, and fantasizes, as we all do, about who to tell off when he finally wins an Oscar.
Infinite Country by Patricia Engel | 208 pages | 4 hours 58 minutes
Talia is being held at a correctional facility for adolescent girls in the forested mountains of Colombia after committing an impulsive act of violence that may or may not have been warranted. She urgently needs to get out and get back home to Bogotá, where her father and a plane ticket to the United States are waiting for her. If she misses her flight, she might also miss her chance to finally be reunited with her family in the north.
Will Talia make it to Bogotá in time? And if she does, can she bring herself to trade the solid facts of her father and life in Colombia for the distant vision of her mother and siblings in America?
Little Weirds by Jenny Slate | 240 pages | 4 hours 19 minutes
To see the world through Jenny Slate’s eyes is to see it as though for the first time, shimmering with strangeness and possibility. As she will remind you, we live on an ancient ball that rotates around a bigger ball made up of lights and gasses that are science gasses, not farts (don’t be immature).
Heartbreak, confusion, and misogyny stalk this blue-green sphere, yes, but it is also a place of wild delight and unconstrained vitality, a place where we can start living as soon as we are born, and we can be born at any time. In her dazzling, impossible-to-categorize debut, Jenny channels the pain and beauty of life in writing so fresh, so new, and so burstingly alive, we catch her vision like a fever and bring it back out into the bright day with us, and everything has changed.
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw | 189 pages | 4 hours 6 minutes
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church’s double standards and their own needs and passions.
With their secret longings, new love, and forbidden affairs, these church ladies are as seductive as they want to be, as vulnerable as they need to be, as unfaithful and unrepentant as they care to be, and as free as they deserve to be.
The Ten Loves of Nishino by Hiromi Kawakami | 240 pages | 5 hours
Each woman has succumbed, even if only for an hour, to that seductive, imprudent, and furtively feline man who drifted so naturally into their lives. Still clinging to the vivid memory of his warm breath and his indecipherable sentences, ten women tell their stories as they attempt to recreate the image of the unfathomable Nishino.
Do you have a trick for catching up on your reading goals? Head over to our Instagram (@digitalbookmobile) and let us know!