I was recently approached by someone looking for a book recommendation. When I asked what kind of books she liked, she responded, “big, thick, chapter books.” We worked through what she was really looking for and I was able to make some recommendations, but ever since this interaction, I have had page counts on my mind.
Like they did with that patron, longer books seem to make an impact. They are easy to see on a shelf, and working through long books can sometimes feel like an accomplishment. Goodreads values page count by displaying stats on how many pages users have read in a year and highlighting the longest title off to the side. When I read Night by Elie Wiesel, a 109-page non-fiction title, I noticed that the cover of this particular edition had a New York Times quote calling the book “a slim volume of terrifying power.” It may not have been the intention, but this seems like it is justifying the book’s page count. Would that have been necessary if it was 400 pages?
I certainly have nothing against long books (thanks to Goodreads I know that the longest book I have read so far this year had 694 pages), but I do appreciate finding good stories that will not weigh down my purse on my commute. I have compiled a short list of books with 260 or fewer pages* that have been award winners, list makers, and/or simply fun reads.