I love to read, but I’m slow at it. A long book takes me a very long time to read. And, with lots of other responsibilities filling my time, sometimes I forget who a character even is when I’m reading a long book. That’s why it’s so nice to come across a short book; I get to enjoy a full story in a reasonable amount of time. Here are three short novels (around 250 or fewer pages) I recently read that touched my heart. They are all short and sweet.
Hug Chickenpenny: The Panegyric of an Anomalous Child by S. Craig Zahler must be read. This intriguing title only hints at the unusual and special orphan you will come to love. As unusual as the title may be, this story relies on one of the most common human desires, the desire to belong and be loved. Hug Chickenpenny certainly is anomalous, strange, and different because of the way he looks but also because of the way he loves. He sees the best in every person he meets on the meandering journey his life takes. Your heart will swell, break, and be uplifted by Hug Chickenpenny. This book is 264 pages.
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa (translated by Stephen Snyder) will probably be one of my favorite books for all my life. A single mother who works as a housekeeper in Japan is assigned to keep house for a math professor who was in a car crash. He can remember everything before the crash, but since the crash his memory only lasts for eighty minutes. So, each morning, the professor meets the housekeeper again for the first time. He uses numbers to help ease the discomfort of meeting someone he doesn’t know but who knows him. His lessons on numbers are intriguing and show his skill and compassion. How a bond can be formed with someone who never remembers you the next day is heartwarming. This would make a good book group choice because there are also things in the professor’s past that he does remember, but choses not to, making for great discussions. This book is 192 pages.
The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-mi Hwang (translated by Chi-Young Kim) is a best-selling classic from Korea. In reviews, it has been compared to Animal Farm and it’s been called an Korean Charlotte’s Web; however, I don’t think that is an accurate comparison except that all three books have animal characters who speak to each other. It’s not a political commentary nor is it a story children would appreciate. This novel brings the ache of unfulfilled dreams to life as the hen hopes for more than living in a box laying eggs. She is about lost in despair, but this actually drives her to try to make her dreams come true. Though she is a chicken you’ll be able to relate to the hopes for something better, the disappointment of reality, and the joy that can come from accepting that you still made a difference. This book is 134 pages.
--Amanda, Part-time Library Assistant