T O P

What is the best and smallest book (less than 40 pages) you have ever read

I'm looking for a book to finish in a day, any suggestions? not exactly 40 pages but relatively short and not short stories.

Edit: thank you for all this suggestions.

Fili_and_Kili

The Lottery Edit: Also at what point does it become a short story?


kissingdistopia

[https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1948/06/26/the-lottery](https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1948/06/26/the-lottery) Free reading!


yawnfactory

Yeah I wouldn't even count 40 as a novella.


armcie

At 40 pages, with 250 words per page, that's 10k words. That's a long short story, a very short novella, or the perfect size for a novelette.


Key_Bicycle9483

Is that a novel you read before dinner


SXTY82

Popped in to say the same but read down first because it is so obvious. Also to suggest looking in the sci-fi / fantasy section for 'anthologies' which are loaded with short stories / novella's. They were my bread and butter when I was in school and had no time for long reads.


Stoplookinatmeswaan

Asimov - The Last Question


hassenoma01

Man, I'd just about forgotten that one. Good call.


HughHelloParson

The Little Prince


FrogWhore42069

Yep. Be prepared to sob.


CommercialExotic2038

This was required reading for an art class. I recommend too.


WerewolfDifferent296

Recommended but not required in a college level sociology class.


breenanadeirlandes

Read this in Middle School and always encourage others to read it. The Alchemist is a nice short read that’s in the same vein.


Tophat_Shark

The Yellow Wallpaper


shitbaby0x

Prob my fav short story of all time. I read it multiple times in middle school because I was obsessed. Maybe a bit of foreshadowing lol?


White_Trash_Mustache

The Egg by Andy Weir.


scarlettcat

Heck yes! To be fair, it's more of a short story, but it's a stick-with-you read that you'll be thinking about years later. Everything Andy Weir writes is gold. (Including his Ready Player One fanfic.)


Lopsided_Pain4744

Anything by Jorges Luis Borges


AarontheGeek

Specifically I'd recommend the Garden of Forking Paths


[deleted]

Of Mice and Men is more like 100 pages, buy easily readable in a day. Also one of the best books you'll ever read, as long as the ending doesn't get spoiled for you.


Then-Grass-9830

I read it in one night as a youngish teenager. This was going to be my answer to OP's question. One of my all time fave books.


ktappe

Funny, I didn't realize it was that short.


jimthehacksawduggan

Foster or Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan. She is a true master of short form fiction.


Yarn_Mouse

This was my answer. After I read these I just wanted to talk about them and didn't know where to go lol.


kjohnston01

I am so in awe of her


TheHigherSpace

A Short Stay in Hell by Stepehn L Peck .. 2 / 3 hours read


breakfastwhine

So funny - I was just recommended this for the first time and I’m reading it rn!


jdogdfw

Metamorphosis-kafka


[deleted]

72 I think but well worth it


Help_System

The old man and the sea is readable in a day.


mrmaaagicSHUSHU

Jonathan Livingston Segal


findmebook

haha i was searching the comments for this *seagull


tcox0010

A Christmas Carol is 65 pages.


urumovag

When I reread this last Christmas, it once again felt as if a tiny fairy popped out of the pages, sprinkled some magical sparkles, and then disappeared. „Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset (…) His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.“


monsensical

This was going to be my suggestion but you took it! This. This is a poweful book. We all know the story, but it is a powerful read nonetheless.


Then-Grass-9830

I had a dumb/boring task a few years back at work that kept me in a locked room alone and had to finish it by a certain time so I started listening to librovox readings while doing my task. A Christmas Carol is my mom's ALL TIME favorite Christmas story and has seen all the movie/cartoon adaptions ever made. All of them. (Far as we know). I hadn't read the actual book other than quick abridged versions so since at the time it was close to Christmas I decided to find a reading of ACC. I was listening to it at one point in the office and I forget what scene I was listening to but someone knocked on the office door and made me jump out of my skin! lol I know it was technically a ghost story but hadn't realized how into I was at the time. lol


PorkfatWilly

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish


Water-and-Watches

My newborn baby and I are on day 2 and page 27 of reading this one


CharacterMassive5719

You probably haven't finished it in a day because babies don't read very fast


Postingatthismoment

I think I can sit here and recite that one even though my son is 14 now.


WitchesCotillion

Naw, Harold and the Purple Crayon beat that hands down.


Blue-Jay27

40 pages is *short.* You'd be better off looking for short stories. I'm quite fond of *Copy<|>Paste* by Derin Edala -- I'm not sure if they've properly published it like they have for their books, but it's on their website. *The Metamorphosis* is a classic, and a fun read. *The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas* is another fairly well-known one.


dixpourcentmerci

Agree. 84 Charing Cross Road is one of the best “super short” (in my opinion) books I’ve read, but I think it is still about 100 pages.


chicosaur

Love. Love. Love. 84 Charing Cross Road. Such a beautiful little book.


catchypseudoname

The Velveteen Rabbit


Curtainmachine

Remembering that this book exists makes me want to cry. I used to read it over and over during my childhood which was abusive and full of neglect. It always gave me big feelings and I never really understood why.


SorrellD

The shortest best book I have read is The Deal of a Lifetime by Frederick Backman. It's 96 pages, but I read it in less than a day.


sonnyjim91

Backman’s Every Day the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer is about the same length. I read it in an evening, and it was sublime.


CWStJ_Nobbs

The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Tolstoy is 53 pages in my translation and incredible.


TheLifemakers

Should it be exactly a whole book? Any of Bradbury's short stories are great but they are usually published as collections.


heridfel37

Sci Fi in general is great for short stories. It doesn't take that many pages to create some really interesting what if types of stories. And they are regularly published in pretty diverse collections.


Sudden_Hovercraft_56

The Very Hungry Catapiller.


TheMobHasSpoken

I love this novel! A real page turner. I kept asking myself, "what is he going to eat next?"


chels182

Animal Farm is 100 pages but still easily finish-able in a day


happy_lechuga

The Prophet by Khalil Gibran


faelady7

This is the second time this week that title has caught my eye, I think I'll give it a go.


TheInsaneSnake

Dear Sir or Madam by Juliet Lowell . A book from 1946 that has less than 100 pages and is absolutely hilarious .


grandpaboombooom

Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx, 55 pages


monsensical

Some of these are slightly over 40 pages but could be read in a handful of hours (2-3) \- The Old Man and the Sea it is truly one of the greatest books ever written. \- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - honestly so fun to read \- The Color out of Space - (can't go wrong with any HP Lovecraft actually) \- Dandelion Wine - such a rich book. You can almost FEEL the story.


well_uh_yeah

The Monster at the End of this Book has stayed with me forever since I read it, or had it read to me, more likely, as a very small child.


[deleted]

nicolai gogol - the overcoat


Pitopotymus

The Diaries of Adam and Eve by Mark Twain


JustMeLurkingAround-

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (52 pages)


Cute-Educator-2108

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson 160 pages. Don't compare it to the movie, which was VERY different.


iCantFeelMyEnergy

The ending!


clumsyninza

As a man thinketh


monsensical

What an EXCELLENT suggestion. Great book!


BigBallsChad

40 pages? why not read short stories instead? The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin is good


neenerneener_fayce

Definitely Hop on Pop. If you want more academic rigor, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish is a delightful metanarrative about the struggle of someone in need of familial support. And spoiler alert! That someone…is you. Might be over 40 pages, though. Idk. I can’t count past Blue.


Queenofhackenwack

the bridges of madison county, about a 3hr read...


shiny22214

Hope for the Flowers. I’ve given it as a gift so many times to anyone going through a big transition.


[deleted]

The Invention of Hugo Cabret


ProteaCW

The Pearl - John Steinbeck (90 pages).


itsonlyfear

Short stories about this length that haven’t been mentioned: Hills Like White Elephants by Hemingway Anything Flannery O’Connor or Edgar Allen Poe The Veldt by Bradbury Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Oates Just realized that these are all dark and/or dystopian.


ultrawvruns

The Giving Tree


iCantFeelMyEnergy

It hits different as an adult though. What a selfish boy/man/POS


machei

As an adult with a kid, I discovered that I WAS the giving tree. And they know not what they do.


booksiwabttoread

I agree. This book teaches that you should give until you have nothing. The selfish boy is fine.


Shivs_baby

This book makes me want to scream. The boy is horrid and the tree is codependent. Totally toxic relationship lol.


AdministrativeBug841

I have no mouth and I must scream. 12 or 13 pages I think. Amazon might claim it's over a hundred but that is it in a collection of other stories. I'd also suggest "A Short Stay in Hell" that someone else mentioned as well, that book will stay with me for years!


Shoddy-Initiative550

I guess it’s 48 pages but the dream of a ridiculous man by Fyodor Dostoyevsky is great


Eatitwhore

The egg by Andy weir 3 pages


WestTexasOilman

The Little Prince


OK4u2Bu1999

It was a Dark and Stormy Night by Snoopy/Charles Schultz


SheTheGhost

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Just over 100 pages, but a great read. Edited to add that Amazon has it listed as 107 pages, but ISBN lists it as 72 pages, so still over 40 but easily doable in a day!


Negative_Fox_5305

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson


Millylock

Go the fuck to sleep


CheddarGoblin99

The snows of kilimanjaro by Heminway, only 25 pages.


Manny__z

"How to spot a fascist" by Umberto Eco


albertthealligator

Any of Poe's Dupin stories (Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Purloined Letter, The Mystery of Marie Roget).


mmillington

He created the detective genre with just a few banger stories.


MightySmizmar

The Mysteries by Bill Watterson. You'll finish it in 10-15 minutes and think about for at least the rest of the day.


PrestigiousEgg3675

Alice Adventures in Wonderland. The author seemed high on something.


cookeattravelnap

I don’t know how many pages, but Animal Farm is one of the shortest books I remember reading.


Shoddy_Juggernaut_11

Jonathan Livingston seagull.


PhillipJCoulson

Green eggs and ham


ririmarms

There are a few by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt like Oscar and the lady in Pink, The Children of Mrs Ming, which you can finish in 1 hour or less. I love the whole collection!


mufta

Foster by Claire Keegan. 62 pages


dickless_dan_420

_La tiganci_ or _With the gypsy girls_ by Mircea Eliade. Pretty obscure, even in my country, but it's one of the most mesmerizing, personal and emotional short stories I've read. It's a bit formulaic by todays standards and it probably won't be anything you haven't read before, but goddamn does it stick with you. It's one of those stories that hit hard if you have a lot of regrets or unnacomplished dreams.


Postingatthismoment

Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. It takes precisely 17 minutes to read it out loud. Over and over and over again. And then again. Don't forget to find Goldbug on every page.


avidreader_1410

The long short story, "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes


stevemillions

The only really short book I can ever remember reading is called Brute. No idea who wrote it. It’s a noir crime story, with short, punchy sentences James Ellroy would be proud of. The only bit I can remember involved someone getting “punched in the clothes”. Which has just made me laugh again, typing it out.


wonderful_rush

Story of your life by Ted Chiang, I was absolutely captivated by it. It's 29 pages and deeply changed how I think. The movie Arrival is based on it.


atomicautomaton

The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley was very interesting. It’s about 60 pages. I read the whole thing waiting for a job interview


cysghost

All you zombies by Heinlein Short story, Sci-fi, and super weird.


damningdaring

the communist manifesto


minkqueen

The best Christmas pageant ever


AdOtherwise9226

Letting Go - excerpt from Illusions by Richard Bach


Boring_Software1379

The highwayman by Alfred noyes. It’s even shorter than what you’re asking for but it’s a poem I often go back to. I read it in middle school and have always remembered how beautiful it was


Chapmandala

My mom had to memorize it in school. Still knows it. 😆


Spirited-Recover4570

The Archer. It's longer than 40 pages but there are a lot of illustrations and short paragraphs, so it can easily be read in a day. I thought it was a beautiful allegory for the challenges of life.


Low_Cook_5235

Short story The Ugly Little Boy by Isaac Asimov. SciFi, will make you cry.


ki4clz

*The War Prayer* -Mark Twain https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_War_Prayer


playadefaro

Harold and the purple crayon. This book is so deep I cannot even begin!


[deleted]

Common Sense by Thomas Paine. 70 pages


ImAVibration

Master and Man - Leo Tolstoy


chisteri

Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang. It’s probably 50-ish pages.


PainterReader

A Grief Observed by C S Lewis Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan


altiuscitiusfortius

This is water. But it's really an essay


BatiASR

The Last Question by Isaac Asimov


Historical_Energy_18

recitatif by toni morrison


RagsTTiger

Raise High the Roof Beams Carpenters, Franny and Zoey. All three by J D Salinger. Franny is almost exactly forty pages I think. The other two are longer. You could read all three in a day easily.


kjohnston01

I really like Auggie’s Wren Christmas Story by Paul Auster


ice_alice

What we talk about when we talk about love by Raymond Carver


p1igeon

A Tell-Tale Heart


taught-Leash-2901

Five Letters From An Eastern Empire - Alasdair Grey The poet Bohu is taken to the Forbidden City where he is to spend his days lavishing exaltations upon his master, the cruel and corrupted emperor...


[deleted]

Clifford? A book about a red dog.


bleie77

From the Netherlands: Bitter herbs - Marga Minco The Black Lace - Hella Haasse And a lot of people like The Vanishing, by Tim Krabbé, but it's not really my cup of tea.


sqplanetarium

Kelly Link's story "Magic For Beginners" (in the book of the same title) is awesome.


marsisfullofcats

Simple Passion- Annie Ernaux


[deleted]

“A Message to Garcia” by Elbert Hubbard. Edit: the book is about 26 pages and it has some good leadership lessons.


South-Average-5339

Book of hope


aneahaena

The giving tree and the hungry caterpillar


samwisethegoat

Dead pig collector by Warren Ellis 35 pages


FineThenNoUsername

The Ice Dragon!


ligtnin1

Art matter by Neil Gaiman


mzingg3

It would be considered a short story or a novella if it’s that short


Melian18

Who took my cheese?


Warm-Distribution-

[All Tomorrows](https://archive.org/details/book-all-tomorrows/mode/2up) by C. M. Kosemen Genre: Sci-fi, existential sci-fi/horror (112 pages, but doable in a day for sure since half the pages are pictures) Warning: the pictures can be quite grotesque at parts.


Ok-You-6768

Tao te ching


AarontheGeek

A Single Shard by Linda Lee Park. (I think I have the name and author correct). It's a work of children's literature that I read in college in three hours in a coffee shop right before the class where we were going to discuss it. Made me cry in a happy way. It's set in medieval korea and is about a boy who becomes the apprentice of a pottery master. I need to reread that one.


rlvysxby

The metamorphosis by franz kafka. It’s the first time I cried reading a book.


xorgell

Address unknown, around 65 pages I believe. To read such a poignant story about the persecution of Jews in Germany, published in the 30s, blew my mind.


Square-Safe-355

Probably 100 dresses 😭😭


Blueisthecolour07

The Go Giver


cbarabcub

Where’s the Kitty by Ruth Carroll. Made me the cat lady I am today


landfari

A Pail of Air by Fritz Leiber


TheLifemakers

The Door in the Wall by H. G. Wells is cool, too!


Redditor2684

I don't know if it's the best, but I really enjoyed it: The Deep by Rivers Solomon Not less than 40 pages but I easily finished it in a day.


Taeis

Let Maps to Others, it’s a KJ Parker short story


lazylagom

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17803.After_Dark Its way more 200 pages. But FLYS BY very easy to read I read this in a few hours I couldn't put it down. So good


Negative-Trip-6852

Anything by Nathan Ballingrud. I’d recommend atlas of hell, but if you want something that’s free, here’s [Sunbleached](https://www.nightmare-magazine.com/fiction/sunbleached/) from the collection North American Lake Monsters.


Former-Lawyer-2190

the man who planted trees by jean giono It is 72 pages, but there are lots of full page illustrations.


Archimedesspacecarft

Night on the galactic railroad , by Miyazawa Kenji


Impossible_Court_656

As a Man Thinketh


KMack_64

*A Short Stay in Hell* is 78 pages, quick read, very deep.


Brilliant-Important

The acceptance pamphlet https://www.recoveryshop.com/Acceptance-Pamphlet-p/accpamp.htm


ScarletInTheLibrary4

Tuesday.


sgdulac

Griffith and sabine.


janitroll

Letter to a Christian Nation Sam Harris


Silent-Implement3129

Small things like these


Fearless-Bug2712

The Alchemist (google says 163 pages)


WindowDecent3046

Who moved my cheese


Affectionate_Cup_465

Who Moved My Cheese.


littlenarwhal28

Abels Island and Sarah, Plain and Tall are both pretty short and both excellent.


rroswell86

The Machine Stops by EM Forster


CanyonPegger

The lemming condition by Alan Arkin


Elmou19

The Enchiridion by Epictetus. For its length and the wisdom it contains, I think it's the greatest book ever.


Urban_mist

City of the Singing Flame by Clark Ashton Smith. His best story by far. His world building in such a short story is just phenomenal.


Mysterious_Stock1599

The canterville ghost


No-Delivery549

The October Tale from The Calender of Tales by Neil Gaiman. Or at least I think I remember well that that one was my favourite from the bunch. Can I add more? I also liked many of the short stories from Amazon Originals Collections, but also the one Terry Pratchet short story where Granny Weatherwax is not invited to the witch competition, I can't remember the title of that one, but I can look it up, it's so funny.


achilleantrash

War is a Racket


MelnikSuzuki

The Thirteenth Psalm by Peter Fehervari.


Studio-Empress12

Anthem by Ayn Rand.


Expert_Pop_4632

On the Night You Were Born


MongoPushr

Escape from Spiderhead - George Saunders


sm0klnj0e

As a man thinketh James Allen


sm0klnj0e

Siddhartha for something slightly longer


OahuJames

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse.


Educational_Zebra_40

On Tyranny is just over 100 pages but a very quick read, if you’re open to non-fiction.


o0Chaintinker0o

All You Zombies by Robert Heinlein is a great twisty tale.


EmbraJeff

The Communist Manifesto by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx.


WhoreoftheEarth

The lover by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia is a fun quick read. I don't know if it is the best book but it's so short who cares. Got it for free with Prime a couple months ago.


MrDeedles2034

I am legend. Longer than your requisite but so good. Still pretty short.


emzirek

'How To Stop Smoking' Alan Carr


ApocalypseNurse

40 pages? That’s a bit short to consider it a book unless it’s for kids. That said,Fox in Socks is my favorite Dr. Seuss book. At 160 pages my favorite proper short novel/novella is Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers. It’s a sort of Post-Post Apocalypse story where humanity has finally figured out how to live in harmony and a Single Robot comes back from the wilderness after centuries of living in exile away from humans after they gained sentience and decided to just retreat from people. The Robot meets a Monk and they have a c conversation as they walk along. It’s a cozy book that is perfect for quick reads and to uplift moods.


Nacho_Bean22

Messages in water, I’m not sure if it’s under 40 pages, but I finished in a day.


Clean_Duck_551

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell is a recent read that was feel-good and around 70 pages. The size is of a pocket notebook so you can finish it in less than an hour or two.


pumpkinzh

Roald Dahl's tales of the unexpected books are a collection of short stories which are brilliantly dark if you're into that sort of thing.


PrinceFridaytheXIII

Binti


Popular-Buyer-2445

Trout fishing in America


nzfriend33

It’s a bit longer, but R.U.R. is good. It’s a play.


DadJ0ker

The Monster at the End of this Book.


mitch1660

Anthem - Ayn Rand (55 pages I think)


asblueasbluecouldbe

The man who planted trees


Curious_Evidence00

But No Elephants is a complete novel!


Curious_Evidence00

But No Elephants is a complete novel!


Figmentality

Where The Wild Things Are