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5 Fantastic books you can read within a day

5 Fantastic books you can read within a day

Starting a new book can feel like a bit of a commitment, but it doesn't have to be! Here are five books you can read in a single day

We all know a weekend reader—someone who spends their days off with their head in a book (or two). Not everyone has the time to embark on epic reads that could take weeks to fully get through. However, there are plenty of books that can be read in a day, for those who want to dedicate their time to a single tale when they have the opportunity. 

A day book has to be short, satisfying, well-paced, motivating to read and all-enveloping, so that the audience gets swept away in the magic of the story. These books knock it out of the park every time, encouraging plenty of new people to become a weekend reader and spend the day lost in the novel nature of a good narrative

The House on Mango Street

The House on Mango Street Sandra Cisneros

Released in 1984 and written by Mexican-American author Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street is only 103 pages long. It’s a rapid read for those looking to dip their toes into the water, but it still deals with complex themes and important subject matters including language, race, ageing and harassment. It’s a classic feminist text from the point of view of Esperanza Cordero, a Chicana girl growing up in Chicago on the titular street. 

"It’s compelling, and so succinct in its storytelling that it's perfect for a day read"

While it is a coming-of-age tale, it is not one that specifically appeals to young adults. Instead, this focuses on what it’s like to live life in a neighbourhood defined by gender, poverty and control, escape being the protagonist’s key aim throughout. It’s a moving read but one fuelled by hope for a better future, with the text never shying away from discussing these important topics head-on. It’s compelling, and so succinct in its storytelling that it's perfect for a day read. 

The Midnight Library 

The Midnight Library Matt Haig

The Midnight Library from the English author Matt Haig was released in 2020. It's 288 pages, which makes it a little more challenging but still absolutely doable in a single day. The novel is all about storytelling, with Nora Seed exploring the “what ifs” of her life. There are an infinite amount of books that could have been written about her journey, and The Midnight Library houses them all. 

Part science fiction, part magical realism, the themes explored here will resonate with every reader, from chances not taken to unfilled prospects and what future opportunities may be in store. The novel asks a massive question: what makes a life worth living? It’s a great book to mull over, investing in its imagery and inspiring in its ultimate message. A great novel to nurse a mug of tea with!

Things Fall Apart 

Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart debuted in 1958 from the Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe. It’s set in the South East of Nigeria in a fictional town and tracks the journey of a local wrestling champion and Igbo man, Okonkwo. The novel is essential in its portrayal of pre-colonial Nigeria and the impact the European invasion had on the nation. 

"There are three sections, each of which offers a different snapshot of the developing situation"

At 185 pages, it is another more manageable read for a limited time period, and an important one in understanding how colonisation changed lives. The book is spaced out into three sections, each of which offers a different snapshot of the developing situation. The themes discussed of racism, violence, identity and family are handled so intelligently, and the reader is transported so effortlessly through the sheer talent that's evident on the page. 

Stardust

Stardust Neil Gaiman

The 1999 novel by English author Neil Gaiman is a perfect encapsulation of the writer’s fantasy stylings at their best. Stardust, which became a major motion picture, sits at 256 pages. It’s epic in its scale, but the reader can fit the novel into a single day, giving them a true sense of absolute escapism to the fantasy land of Stormhold. The kingdom can be found just behind a mysterious wall, and is where a falling star has landed. 

The book is a massive ensemble and twists many of the tropes those familiar with the genre might be used to seeing. It’s whimsical, light-hearted and rip-roaring in its pace; a classic adventure that never outstays its welcome. Crucially, it isn’t a part of a much larger saga that could have risked making this an uneasy read. Gaiman is one of the most prominent storytellers in the world and Stardust exhibits why. 

The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo

The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo Zen Cho

Released in 2012 and written by the fantastic Malaysian-English author Zen Cho, the page count is an extremely manageable 76 pages, which makes this another effective first read for those starting out in the book-a-day club. The novel is set in London in the 1920s and follows the life of another writer, Jade Yeo. 

"The story offers a tantalising adventure that’s just as alluring to the reader as it is to the protagonist"

Yeo’s career is on the rocks after a scathing review of her work. Like every great romance story, that conflict turns into passion, as the writer begins to fall for the very critic who pushed back against her talents. It’s an interesting dynamic, and the story offers an excitingly tantalising adventure that’s just as alluring to the reader as it is to the protagonist. Beautifully, the story is mostly told through a diary, which effectively captures the voice of the writer and her world, as themes of love, acceptance, immigration and gender all entwine around this story. What really sings here is the hilarious, page-turning dialogue, which Cho masters. 

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