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Sometimes there’s nothing like a big, fat hardcover that you can get lost in for weeks. But other times, they can just feel like another notch on the ole to-do list. When efficiency’s the name of the game, we recommend these ten quickies--easily started and finished before the weekend’s over.

“Fun Home”

Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir--which inspired this year’s Tony Award-winning musical--deals with some pretty heavy themes. (Growing up gay in a small town with a difficult dad is apparently not such a picnic.) But it’s also completely gripping and goes by quickly, like an extended comic strip.

“Gone Girl”

Arguably the biggest page-turner of the last decade, Gillian Flynn’s psychological thriller is so full of plot twists, you won’t be able to do anything else before you find out what happens.

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

As Holly Golightly says, “Sometimes the only thing to do is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s.” And if you can’t do that, the next best thing is to read about it in Truman Capote’s charming novella, which clocks in at a svelte 160 pages.

“The Husband’s Secret”

We love Aussie author Liane Moriarty, who writes smart, fun novels about suburban Sydney life--usually with an edgy twist. They’re all great, but our fave is The Husband’s Secret, about a housewife who unearths something devastating from her otherwise stable husband’s past.

RELATED: Put These 14 New YA Books on Your Fall Reading List

“I Feel Bad About My Neck”

Before she became known for penning the world’s best romantic comedies, Nora Ephron was a magazine writer, and her mastery of the short, pithy form shows in this collection of essays about aging. It’s as wise, warm and witty as any of her movies.

“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

OK, so this one isn’t exactly short. Reading it will take up most of your weekend. But if you haven’t yet given up 48 hours to the heart-pounding story of Lisbeth Salander and the mysteries she hacks her way into, you might want to put it on your agenda soon.

“The Great Gatsby”

If you’re hankering for a little getaway to West Egg but don’t think you have the time for a classic, think again. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece is just 180 pages--perfect for a leisurely afternoon read.

“The Time Traveler’s Wife”

For a sweet love story with enough compelling twists to keep you turning pages quickly, we recommend Audrey Niffenegger’s 2003 best-seller, about a woman and the time-traveling man who has been visiting her for as long as she can remember.

“Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?”

We’re all pretty sure that if we knew Mindy Kaling, we’d be BFFs. Reading her hilarious memoir-slash-essay-collection gets us one step closer--and it’s easily done in a day.


If you only know Steve Martin from SNL and Father of the Bride, you’re missing out on a whole other side of him--the thoughtful, elegant, writerly side. This lovely novella about a lonely department-store clerk is the perfect, low-commitment introduction.

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