Can a great story be told in 250 pages or less?

I’m setting aside a place on my bookshelf. It’s the start of something not entirely new but nevertheless I’m still excited by.

Those that know my reading habits will know my struggles with reading books of a certain length. The last time I read a book, over 250 pages, was back in 2013. It’s become a personal benchmark; subconsciously I have chosen not to buy any new books other than graphic novels.

I’m missing some great books

Then I had a grand idea for a book reading theme(yes, not the first time I’ve had one of those) – why not hunt down and read books with a page count below 250? I’ve already read some great books that have this small page count – Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation is one good example – so surely there a many more classics that are contained within a nice small package?

My current 250 pages or below bookshelf – time for it to grow!

Well the short(…I know) answer is yes. Some of my most memorable reads, from years gone by, have been short on the page count; Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Charles Bukowski’s Post Office and William S. Burroughs’ Junky are just three that I’ve loved reading.

I know there will be many books, that have great stories and immersive characterisations, that I will miss by sticking to this 250 to less page ceiling. It’s also possible I’ll miss out on sequels that come along too.

But here’s the thing…I need to start somewhere. Reading for pleasure should never be underrated and a book with 250 pages normally takes me around 4-7 days to read. It could also be this exercise that allows me an occasion where I pick up a longer book and actually finish it.

What books are in my reading list?

The next two books that are in my 250 and under list are:

  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding – 225 pages
  • The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson – 224 pages

I will be tackling Lord of the Flies first but both these books have got me excited about reading again. Plus the ‘searching for short fictional stories in less than 250 pages’ is something of an adventure in itself and will no doubt lead me to post my thoughts here in the future.

If you have a suggestion of a book that falls into this category, please feel free to leave the suggestion in the comments below or send a message over Twitter.


One thought on “Can a great story be told in 250 pages or less?

  1. Aaron Lee

    This is a terrific idea, Dave. I’m ashamed to say that my backlog of books now stretches so far into the distance that I’d need a second lifetime to read them all.

    So, I’ve decided to work my way through the books that I got or were recommended to me some five years ago. Just started George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London.

    A fantastic book under 250-pages is Animal Farm by George Orwell. One of the best books I’ve read in the last 10 years. Good luck with your new reading method.


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