Even ardent bookworms will tell you that they wish they had more time to read while those that might have picked up a book in the past now find themselves frightened by any works longer than a couple of paragraphs. And that's more than understandable.
After all, with technology giving us everything at the touch of a button, we can binge watch an entire Netflix season one day, then gorge on the latest trending YouTube videos the next. Great forms of entertainment, no doubt, but the simple pleasures spawned from the pages of a book shouldn't simply be dismissed
With that in mind, here are 10 brilliant books that can be read in one sitting for readers struggling with time or those who find it hard to pick up a book in the first place.
1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Christopher John Francis Boone is a know-it-all. He knows every country in the world and their capital cities. He can also tell you every prime number up to 7,057. But his emotional intelligence isn't as developed.
Autistic, Christopher thrives off a routine, but things change when his neighbor's dog is killed, and he embarks on a quest to find out what actually happened. A great read for all ages, Haddon's simple-to-read, and funny dialogue, gives readers a greater understanding of the struggles autistic teenagers go through on a daily basis while offering a story that already appears to be a literary classic.
2. The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller
Robert Waller's sweet novella about an out-of-town National Geographic photographer who has an affair with a middle-aged Iowa housewife called Francesca Johnson became an instant best-seller and would go on to sell over 50m copies worldwide. The prose was sweet but not superfluous, and the story arch was long enough to allow the reader to immerse themselves in their world fully.
Touching on the universal themes of tragedy and separation as well as love, Waller's classic love story can be read in less than 4 hours and is a must for those who enjoy a good tearjerker.
3. Heartburn by Nora Ephron
Famed for writing the classic Hollywood scripts You've Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, Ephron's writing career was highly esteemed, and even after her death, remains one of the most lauded female writers in Hollywood.
That said, Ephron's career dabbled in all kinds of writing, and she made a name for herself by starting out as an office clerk at Newsweek in the 1960s. It was there that she famously took on her male bosses over equal pay in the workplace after realizing men were taking credit for her and her female colleagues' research. Later establishing herself as a columnist for a litany of famous magazines before moving to Hollywood, Ephron also wrote fiction, with Heartburn, a hilarious and somber account of the breakdown of a 2-year marriage proving just as popular with critics as her scripts.
4. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Patrick Ness is an award-winning children's author, but he wasn't known by a wide audience until his story about a 12-year-old boy coming to terms with his mother's cancer hit the bestseller lists.
Titled, 'A Monster Calls', the quick-to-read story involves a tree monster who comes to life at night in the protagonist's back garden. It sounds silly and could at first come across as a story akin to a Brother's Grim tale, but in actuality, the story reads more like a children's Don Quixote, with the monster reciting three important tales that will ultimately change a grieving boy's outlook on life forever.
5. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Done well and gay relationships in literature can make for fascinating reads, especially in areas of the world where same-sex relationships aren't welcomed. Annie Proulx's novella Brokeback Mountain, for instance, is an excellent example of how compelling such a story can be, and this story beautifully titled story is no different.
Poetically recited, the story of the relationship between two Mexican-American 15-year-old boys as they struggle to come to terms with their identities and their love for each other is profoundly poignant, particularly at a time where Mexican culture finds it hard to accept America's more liberal approach to gay relationships.
6. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Consumed by over 65 million readers, the Brazilian author Paulo Coelho’s narrative is one which offers hope to people who believe in the beauty of their dreams. And, with a beautifully written spiritual prose, you may just finish the book believing your life can be whatever you want it to be.
A simple story, but also an empowering one for anyone who fears their life has no direction.
7. Shopgirl by Steve Martin
Written by the famed Hollywood actor and comedian, Steve Martin proves he's equally as adept with the written word as he is with the spoken one, with his debut novella providing a beautiful portrait of one woman's loneliness in the urban dwellings of Los Angeles.
A New York Times best-seller for 15 weeks, Martin is one of the few actors to have achieved commercial and literary success with a novel, and he subsequently adapted it into a movie of the same name in 2005.
8. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
This brilliant depiction of a group of teenagers' lives and their socioeconomic standing in a town characterized by an ongoing feud between rival gangs the "Greasers" and "Socs" is a coming of age classic and has influenced many stories like it over the years.
Published when S.E. Hinton was she was just 18-years-old, The Outsiders is a mainstay fixture in the curriculum of many US high schools, though has been banned on numerous occasions due to its graphic violence.
9. Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garciá Márquez
Gabriel Garcia Marquez's books are famed for their magical realist prose, but one of his last works as a fiction writer saw him take a different approach and explore the themes of love and morality in more detail.
Depicting the life a 90-year-old journalist who falls in love for the first time when he beds a virgin prostitute, the lines in this brilliant novella are breathtaking and once more illustrate Marquez's awe-inspiring command of the written word.
10. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
Truman Capote was one of America's greatest writers, and as well as writing the classic crime novel In Cold Blood, he authored the charming novella, Breakfast at Tiffany's.
The story sees the unnamed male protagonist befriend a prepossessing New York socialite called Holly Golightly, a character many famous models and actresses have claimed was based on themselves. Not long after the encounter, the unnamed protagonist soon finds himself enamored by Tiffany as she recites the various dates and relationships she has had with some of the city's wealthiest men.