For most non-readers, classics can be incredibly daunting. Given its verbose language and tedious length, it’s no wonder why new readers don’t gravitate toward these old gems. A classic misconception about classics is that most books range over 1000 pages and take months to finish. But if truth be told, some of the most well-read masterpieces are as short as 25 pages! A single sitting is all it would take to consume stories that hold immense value and spend a great afternoon doing so.
Curious? Take a look at the 5 most addictive classics under 50 pages.
1. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
At just under 30 pages, The Lottery elicited such a powerful reaction from its audience that it was adapted for stage, radio, film and television. The story revolves around a fictional town in America that observes an annual tradition called “The Lottery”. The twist? This is a lucky draw that no one wants to win.
2. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
At approximately 29 pages, this story is a semi-autobiographical tale about postpartum depression. While delving into the deeply chilling mind of the protagonist, who is suffocating under her husband’s “treatment”, it also raises a discussion on the contemporary social expectations of women.
3. The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield
Weaving a timeless tale of an unequal society and the gulf between social classes, The Garden Party stands at approximately 25 pages. The story follows our protagonist, an upper-class teenage girl whose sheltered universe comes to a standstill when faced with the reality of the world.
4. The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe
Despite being one of Poe’s shortest stories, the tell-tale heart is a fan favourite. The macabre tale follows an unnamed narrator as he tries to convince the reader of his sanity while simultaneously plotting the murder of an old man. This iconic story examines the ugliness and immorality of the human soul in just under 31 pages.
5. A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift
This essay / short story is a brilliantly funny satire mocking the ineptitude of the Irish politicians, the hypocrisy of the wealthy, and the oppression of the English government. At around 26 pages, this short read proposes a shockingly cold yet sarcastic idea to end poverty in Ireland once and for all.
© 2022 Suneha Gowda