According to Nielsen Holdings, the average length of a Super Bowl broadcast is 3 hours and 35 minutes. We’ve rounded up eight quick reads you can cover in less time than it takes to watch the biggest game of the year.
The Ballad of Ballard And Sandrine by Peter Straub
Or, the polar opposite of The Super Bowl. Two lovers are widely separated in age but bound together by an erotic obsession. Their story, which takes place over a period of twenty-five years, is primarily set on a mysterious yacht making its way down the Amazon river. Straub’s dark novel combines horror, love, and suspense in an entirely new and unexpected way.
Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery
This little book is as widely read as the Super Bowl is watched, and has become a cult favorite among readers around the world. The synopsis — an aviator whose plane is forced down in the Sahara Desert encounters a little prince from a small planet who relates his adventures in seeking the secret of what is important in life — is simple, but this sweet little title packs an enormous punch.
“In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing.” This book celebrates a different American pastime and is based on the author’s childhood fishing in Montana’s Big Blackfoot River. Though more widely known for the movie, this tale of nature and family is a short, but exquisite classic.
Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger
If you’re a fast reader, you can cover this text in a single sitting. “Franny” debuted in The New Yorker in 1955 and was soon followed by the novella, “Zooey” in 1957. Together they tell the story of the two youngest members of the Glass family, a subject frequently covered by Salinger. He writes: “I love working on these Glass stories, I’ve been waiting for them most of my life, and I think I have fairly decent, monomaniacal plans to finish them with due care and all-available skill.”
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams
As beloved at the Super Bowl, this small little book wins over absolutely every one of its readers. Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor. Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide. It’s too fun not to read.
Sleep Donation by Karen Russell
In less time than it takes to get to the halftime show, transport yourself with Karen Russell’s novella about an insomnia epidemic turned deadly. In this story, Russell’s protagonist, Trish, works for an organization called Slumber Corps, traveling the country telling the story of her sister’s death in hopes of gather “sleep donations” from healthy sleepers. In our review of the novella Sadye Teiser writes: “…we may be alone in our dreams, but as Sleep Donation shows us, we are useless without them.”
We Have Always Lived in The Castle by Shirley Jackson
Shirley Jackson’s novel about the Blackwood sisters who live in isolation on the outskirts of town is a mysterious tale about a dark family secret. This scary story is quick and complex, and will keep you on your toes throughout. You won’t soon forget the agoraphobic Constance and the increasingly volatile Merricat.
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
Jeff VandeerMeer guest judged our Fall Fiction Contest this year so it’s no surprise we’re fans of his work. And if you haven’t read Annihilation, the first book in his Southern Reach trilogy, you should start immediately. It’s a story about Area X, which has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decade. It begins with an expedition to provide information on this strange land. An anthropologist, surveyor, psychologist, and biologist must gather data and avoid contamination if they hope to return home.