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The GBSP Bookshelf: Short Reads for the Short Month of February

Written by gbspcamp on Monday, February 2, 2015

The GBSP Bookshelf: Short Reads for the Short Month of February

February is a short month, and fewer days means less time to reach your reading goals. We at GBHQ are all about savoring books that you can’t let go of, and devouring books when you can’t wait to know what’s next, but we also know sometimes you just have to read quickly. Here are recommendations to swiftly carry you through the next 28 days.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane  by Neil Gaiman -  Clocking in at 181 pages, this short novel started as a short story, and reads like one. It’s about a man returning home and dredging up a dark, fantastical past that is perfectly Gaiman-esque. (Find Heather a book list category, she will find you a Gaiman book that fits it.)

The Symposium  by Plato -  Craving some philosophy during this short month? Look no further than  The Symposium , one of Plato’s shorter reports of Socrates’ philosophical dialogues. The seven scholars in  The Symposium  each deliver a speech on the genesis and nature of  Eros , or Love—an excellent primer for Valentine’s Day.

Passing  by Nella Larsen - Though only 102 pages in length,  Passing  is a novel of incredible beauty and remarkable depth. It chronicles the reunion of two mixed-race women, childhood best friends Clare and Irene, in Harlem in the 1920s. The central theme—and central tragedy—of this short novel centers around Clare’s passing as a white woman in order to marry her white husband, Jack. Nella Larsen is worth reading all year long, and is especially relevant in February during Black History Month.

Can’t and Won’t: Short Stories  by Lydia Davis - Lydia Davis’s most recent collection of work is critically acclaimed for its poetic ability to tell beautiful, complicated stories in very few words. Many of the pieces in this collection might be considered Flash Fiction, which focuses on conveying narrative in as few words as possible. Flash fiction is an extreme way to get your reading done quickly this month, and  Can’t and Won’t  is a gorgeous place to start.

The Strange Library  by Haruki Murakami - Graphic novels are a great go-to when your reading time is compressed. Because words share space with pictures, there is less to read, and meaning is usually conveyed in more ways than one. This is certainly true of Murakami’s 96-page masterpiece about a young boy who is locked in a library and forced to memorize the books he wishes to learn from. Unfortunately, he soon learns there will be consequences to such book learning. We at GBHQ are huge fans of Murakami’s lovely strangeness, and—of course—even bigger fans of books about books.

Category : Bookshelf

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GBSP Bookshelf: National Book Award Nominees, 2015

GBSP Bookshelf: National Book Award Nominees, 2015

The Verdict: A Little Life ought to win for its beautiful scope and intimacy with its characters. The Turner House will win for telling the story of a place as much as a family, especially because Detroit stands out among a pool of novels that take place in New York and the San Francisco Bay Area. Fortune Smiles will win for its creative diversity of perspectives. All are absolutely worth reading, no matter which one the judges pick tonight.

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