Here at ProEdit, we like to read. And apparently we like lists too, because this is our third one this month. The following books are perfect for that business trip across the country or for your vacation down to Jamaica (I would have gone with you if you had asked). All genres are included, and each book is short enough to read on a plane, train, or car ride (all less than 200 pages) yet meaningful enough to leave a lasting impression.
by Paul Harding
George Washington Crosby is dying, and that’s the only teaser I’ll give you. Simultaneously heartbreaking and life affirming, Harding weaves a powerful story about love, loss, illness, faith, and the unfailing beauty of nature.
2. This is Water
by David Foster Wallace
DFW has a remarkable gift of making you laugh and yet feel introspective and slightly depressed after just one sentence. It’s not exactly a peppy read, but it is inspirational and thought provoking nonetheless.
by Elie Wiesel
Searing, horrific, and painstakingly moving, Night is a poignant autobiographical account of Wiesel’s survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps.
4. Animal Farm
by George Orwell
This classic is an allegorical and dystopian novel that’s even got communism bacon. What else do you really need in a book?
5. Interpreter of Maladies
by Jhumpa Lahiri
This Pulitzer Prize-winning book comprises nine meticulously crafted short stories that address cultural differences between India and America and how they affect interpersonal relationships and worldviews.
6. The Old Man and the Sea
by Ernest Hemingway
Don’t rule this book out because of a seemingly boring title: It was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1953.
7. The Prince
by Niccolo Macchiavelli
Even though the author died in the 16th century, this is a must-read for all those interested in seizing a country or destroying their enemies—political philosophy at its finest.
8. Steal like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
by Austin Kleon
This is a great and humorous read for all creative types in the age of digital devices and the debate of re-appropriation.
9. The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The book is always better than the movie, and this American classic is no exception. Sorry, Leo.
10. A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
Both chilling and heartwarming, this masterpiece has never been out of print and won’t be as long as it reigns as the best Christmas story ever told.
11. We the Animals
by Justin Torres
This contemporary novel is an autobiographical short story about a boy trying to understand the adult world and his place in it.
12. The Time Machine
by H. G. Wells
One of the first and finest science fiction books, The Time Machine is centered on a distant time where humanity is divided into two social classes, telling a tale both vivid and disturbing.
13. The Bridges of Madison County
by Robert James Waller
I cheated on this last one. It’s 208 pages, but, because it’s the bestselling hardcover of all time, I deemed it worthy of mention.