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Chapter 13 - The Big Short

Sometimes you want to read a good book but you don't have time for 300-plus pages and you just don't like short stories. Enter the world of the big short - good books that are less than 300 pages. These are perfect for a car ride, airplane trip, or even just to keep in your car for those times when you are at the doctor's office or waiting for someone.

Writing a shorter book isn't as easy as you might think, however. The author has to make sure the story is told succinctly and thoroughly. This can present a literary challenge. Also the author of a shorter work can't leave his/her reader in doubt about the ending.

Some classic authors have succeeded admirably in the shorter fiction genre, think Steinbeck, Fitzgerald, and Hemingway, for example. But now almost everyone is writing big books. Here are some suggestions for those times when you just can't read big.

Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons - In her debut novel, written in the first person, Gibbons tells the story of Ellen, a little girl living a hardscrabble life in the South. After her mother dies, Ellen goes through a lot of challenges before she finds her place in the world. This book clocks in at 144 pages.

A Virtuous Women by Kaye Gibbons - At 174 pages this wonderful book by Gibbons tells of Ruby Stokes and her husband Blinking Jack. Ruby is from a wealthy family and Jack is a tenant farmer. Taking place in rural North Carolina, this book is a testament to love that can be found in the most unexpected places.

The Pecan Man by Cassie Dandridge Selleck - The shortest book in the list at 144 pages, The Pecan Man is about Ora Lee Beckworth and Eddie, a homeless old black man Ora Lee hires to mow her lawn. When the police chief’s son is found stabbed to death near his camp, Eddie is arrested and charged with murder. As Ora sets the record straight 25 years later, she learns more about herself than she thought possible.

Walking Across Egypt by Clyde Edgerton - Mattie Rigsbee, a young 78 year, old finds herself taking in strays - a dog, a boy. It doesn't matter to her, she is pretty sure she can fix them all and she just might be right. This book runs about 240 pages.

What We Keep by Elizabeth Berg - Ginny Young is on a plane to see her mother, a woman she hasn't seen or spoken to for 35 years. As she is traveling she recalls events which happened in 1958 and how they impacted her life and the lives of those she loves. This book is a mere 274 pages.

Do you have any short books you'd like to share? Let me know!

You can order these and other books at

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