The skinny reader

Cover of Dept. of SpeculationNowadays hardly anyone comes into a library and asks for a skinny little book. Which is a pity, as there are some terrific reads that fit the "small but perfectly formed" description.

I'm a skinny reader - of books with fewer than 150 pages that is; they must have been published fairly recently and they must be well written. Actually, these small books are not that easy to track down, so here is a list of skinny reads that I have enjoyed. My favourites from the past few weeks are:

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill. There are only a handful of books that I can honestly say have changed my reading life - and this is one of them. Read this brilliant little book if any of the following apply to you: you were once dumped and it hurt like hell, you've never been dumped and wonder what all the fuss is about, you think you are happily married, but...

Cover of While the women are sleepingThat covers just about everyone I know.

While the Women Are Sleeping by Javier Marías is a small read of only 126 pages comprising 10 short stories that "inspire the reader to look at the normal things of life aslant." Highly praised for his trilogy Your Face Tomorrow, Marías writes in Spanish and has been likened to Proust. I started to read this book because I love the cover. Then, as promised, the very first story threw me aslant.

The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide is a tiny read of just 140 pages. Translated from the Japanese (there is a trend here), it is the only book I have ever read that has caused me to have to draw the floorplan of the home of the two main characters. Nothing much happens in this book, but the spatial orientation seemed absolutely critical to me.

Cover of The Guest CatI'm going to be travelling soon. I've got my iPad loaded with a couple of books from Overdrive. But, when I am feeling all international in sundry departure lounges (after I've given the nearest pilot a wave), I like to don my dark glasses (OK, prescription dark glasses for the pedants out there), pluck one of these skinny books from my cleavage, and settle in for the long haul.

Ah, the joys of travel!

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