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After my dismal failure to finish my first Russian classic, Bulgakov’s Master & Margarita, I’ve decided to set my sights a little lower, at least in page count. I’ve decided to read five short novels that interest me. Maybe then I’ll tackle DeLillo and Bolano …

Of course, reading one short novel is a good start, but I thought why not make a list of it…

1.  Some Prefer Nettles by Junichiro Tanizaki (1929) – 160 pages

First off, this Japanese classic about the clash of cultures that occurred in Japan after its ‘opening’ to the West from 1866 onwards. I actually read an article on this book as part of my MA, but never the book itself, so a good place to start.

2. The Brothers by Asko Sahlberg (2011) – 112 pages

From small publishing house Peirene Press, this “Shakespearean drama from icy Finland” looks like it should be a good read. And I’ve never read anything by a Finnish author.

3. Hiroshima by John Hersey (1946) – 256 pages

This book sounds fascinating – John Hersey describes the events of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in detail, focusing on the accounts of six individuals. The accounts were serialised in the New Yorker, and later published as a book.

4. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway (1952) – 112 pages

I’ve never read Ernest Hemingway, which is unfortunate as I both love travelling and have been to Cuba. Maybe it’s because I don’t like fishing. Hmm. Anyway it’s high time I changed that, and this slender novel seems to be a good place to start.

5. The Lost Weekend by Charles Jackson (1944) – 224 pages

A classic in the “booze lit” genre. Being a fan of Keruac and Hunter S Thompson, I’m hoping I’ll enjoy this one too.

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