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8 Classic Books That Are Surprisingly Short

If you missed out reading the classics in high school or college, then you’re probably not motivated to pick any of them up. Unless a teacher is going to fail you for not reading East of Eden (which is roughly 600 pages), then you’re probably just not going to read it. Which would be unfortunate, by the way, because that book is juicy as hell.

 

Not every classic is intimidatingly long, though. Here are some classic books that are surprisingly short (which, for the purposes of this list, is 250 pages or less).

 

1. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway – 46 pages

 

Old Man and the Sea

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It’s a Hemingway story about an older Cuban fisherman and a fish. Fun, right!? Well, shortly after its publication, Hemingway won the Nobel Prize in Literature. It’s forty-six pages. Read it!

 

2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – 98 pages

 

'A Christmas Carol'

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Whether you’ve read it or not, A Christmas Carol has probably wiggled its way into your psyche. The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come probably walk around your imagination during the holiday season. At less than 100 pages, you might as well curl up on a cold December night and knock this one out.

 

3. Night by Elie Wiesel – 120 pages

 

Night

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Night is one of the few classics that’s 100% earned its place as a high school requirement. At 120 pages, there’s no excuse not to read Wiesel’s autobiographical account of how he survived his time in concentration camps. It’s a tale of suffering, cruelty, and, in a way, resiliency. It’s not great for the faint-hearted, but it’s necessary.

 

4. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison – 224 pages

 

'Bluest Eye'

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Toni Morrison’s classic follows Pecola Breedlove’s quest to fit in despite the color of her skin and brown eyes. It was Morrison’s debut novel, but she tackled heavy issues like race, beauty, and alienation. At a slim 224 pages, put this on your to-read list!

 

5. Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger – 208 pages

 

Franny and Zooey

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This one is actually two-for-the-length-of-one! ‘Franny’, a short story, was first published in 1955 and Zooey, a novella, in 1957. But they’ve since been published together as Franny and Zooey. The stories follow the two siblings of the Glass family, who were a particular obsession of Salinger’s. Jump into the mind of Salinger with this tale of family drama!

 

6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – 112 pages

 

Of Mice and Men

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Best friends forever, George and Lennie finally score a sick job as ranch workers in California’s Salinas Valley! Things don’t go so well, and…you know what? It’s short. Just read it.

 

7. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson – 240 pages

 

Treasure Island

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Long John Silver! Billy Bones! Jim Hawkins. Okay, the last one is kind of lame. This classic tale of swashbuckling and seafaring sits at a cozy 240 pages. Between its brevity and exciting tales of piracy, you might be able to finish this on your next day off!

 

8. The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark – 112 pages

 

Driver's Seat

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Opening with the main character’s death, Spark’s masterpiece tells the strange story of Lise’s last day alive. It’s a classic among fans of the strange and unsettling. If that’s not your thing, it’s only 112 pages. You might as well give it a try.

 

Feature Photo by Prasanna Kumar on Unsplash