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Great quick reads: 9 novellas to read over a weekend

Language: English
Genre: Fiction, Short fiction
Age group: Adults
Man sitting at a desk reading a book and drinking a cup of tea

If life feels too hectic for immersing in a novel or you're daunted by the thought of starting a series, why not dip into some of our favourite short reads? Enjoy on the go, over a weekend or race through in a single sitting. We collated our top picks from the classics, memoir, fantasy and more!

Stephen Snyder Yoko Ogawa The Housekeeper and the Professor

An astute housekeeper takes on an unusual job: she must care for an elderly maths professor whose memory is limited to eighty minutes. Every morning they meet again, and every day the housekeeper and her son are flung into a world of mathematics: where numbers are poetry, and the universe can be understood through shoe sizes and baseball games. This beautiful book challenges conceptions of memory, and rethinks what it is to live in the moment.

Truman Capote Breakfast at Tiffany's

Truman Capote's novella was made famous by the Audrey Hepburn film of the same name, but it's an enjoyable read in its own right. There are enough twists and turns here that you'll still be surprised, even if you've already seen the film.

Victoria Mackenzie For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy on My Little Pain

Set in the 1400s, this book follows two women – Margarey who has left her husband and fourteen children behind to journey down to Norwich, and Julian, an anchoress, who has not left her cell for twenty-three years. The meeting of these two women is life-changing. Despite its short length, this book masterfully depicts faith, motherhood and the connection between women across history.

Robert Louis Stevenson Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Today Robert Louis Stevenson is arguably one of Scotland's most famous authors, but his work was originally dismissed by critics for being too popular. It's easy to see why - this short psychological thriller is just as chilling as it ever was.

Susanna Clarke Piranesi

Piranesi is an unusual man in an unusual house: the rooms are infinite, filled with crumbling statues and wild birds and an entire ocean with tides that sweep through the halls. Piranesi's diary helps him make sense of the house – that is, until someone new appears, revealing a new world Piranesi could never imagine.

Max Porter Grief is the thing with feathers

Part short novel, part poetry collection, this exquisite story will speak to anyone who has experienced grief. A book to turn to in your darkest times.

Fatima Daas Lara Vergnaud The Last One

Fatima is the 'the last one': the youngest daughter of Algerian immigrants living in Paris. Through the book's short and snappy chapters, Fatima addresses us directly, telling the reader about her life in Clichy-sous-Bois, a majority Muslim suburb of Paris, as well sharing her culture and sexuality. A compelling read led by a bold character and a study into what is, and what shouldn’t be, taboo.

Toni Morrison Sula

Toni Morrison's novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue and richly detailed characters. Sula brings all of this and more.

Muriel Spark The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

This classic is just 140 pages long, and well worth your time. In 2018, every public library in Scotland received a complete collection of Muriel Spark novels, as part of a celebration marking 100 years since the writer's birth.

Sara Gran Come Closer

Nothing is out of the ordinary in Amanda's life – that is if you can ignore the knocking noise in her flat, the memos at work replaced with aggressive notes, and the night she burns her husband with a cigarette. For fans of horror, this psychological thriller will grab you and refuse to let you go.