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Our picks for short classics

One of our followers on Instagram requested recommendations for short classics—so our booksellers put together some favorites!

Books: 
Mrs. Dalloway Cover Image
By Virginia Woolf, Maureen Howard (Foreword by)
$14.99
ISBN: 9780156628709
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - September 24th, 1990

Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel (Modern Library 100 Best Novels) Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780385333849
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Press Trade Paperback - January 12th, 1999

Romance in Marseille Cover Image
By Claude McKay, Gary Edward Holcomb (Editor), William J. Maxwell (Editor), Gary Edward Holcomb (Introduction by), William J. Maxwell (Introduction by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143134220
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Classics - February 11th, 2020

This raucous classic, finally out of the archives and into print, by Harlem Renaissance writer Claude McKay, is a whirlwind taking us back and forth across the Atlantic and expounding on disability, queer and straight lives, politics, and dancing. It begins with Lafala lying in a hospital bed. By chance he lost his legs, and, since in America, he sued the company responsible. With money in his pockets and corks on his stumps, he’s heading back to Marseille to try to woo his lady love, a prostitute named Aslima. But things never go smoothly, and a rag-tag group of dockworkers plus a socialist join his efforts while others try to take advantage of him or seek revenge. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and wheeling from one wild mishap to the next. -Kaitlyn


The Housing Lark Cover Image
By Sam Selvon, Caryl Phillips (Foreword by), Dohra Ahmad (Introduction by)
$15.00
ISBN: 9780143133964
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Classics - January 14th, 2020

Following WWII the UK experienced a labor shortage and encouraged people from the Commonwealth to emigrate to the “Mother Country.” The Housing Lark places us squarely within a group of friends, all immigrants from the Caribbean living in 1960s London, who may (or may not) have found jobs but are all experiencing extreme housing discrimination. The “lark” is their plan to pool their money to buy a house, and lark it seems as these dreamers waste their savings and imperil their hope. This novel is a wonderful bridge between Marlon James’s The Book of Night Women and Zadie Smith’s White Teeth. What I loved most of all was how funny it is—not what you typically expect in postcolonial literature! -Kaitlyn


Notes from Underground (Vintage Classics) Cover Image
By Fyodor Dostoevsky, Richard Pevear (Translated by), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translated by)
$13.95
ISBN: 9780679734529
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - August 30th, 1994

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Beloved (Vintage International) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781400033416
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - June 8th, 2004

I read this novel for the first time in my freshman lit seminar in college. While discussing a pivotal scene of violence, another student slammed both the book and his mind shut, refusing to keep reading because he disagreed with a choice that a character made, calling the book unrealistic because he could never picture himself doing what she did. My professor asked us to look at our own lives, at the ways in which we were protected from ever having to make such a choice, to consider that other lives force choices that may seem unimaginable to us. For the first time I saw the potential for reading to cultivate empathy, how it can be used as a tool to break open our narrow perspectives and show us other facets of the human experience. Morrison’s writing is stunningly visceral, and I revisit this novel when I need a reminder of what incredible writing is and of what it can do. I hope that someday that student finished the book. —Kelsey


Of Mice and Men: (Centennial Edition) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780142000670
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - January 8th, 2002

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich: A Novel (FSG Classics) Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780374534684
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - July 29th, 2014

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Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Vintage International) Cover Image
$14.00
ISBN: 9781400034710
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - October 7th, 2003

This book reads like a lucid dream. Revisiting the murder of a friend that occurred 27 years prior, the narrator wanders through the memories that surround the event like a psychedlic haze. The weather, dreams, wild parties, hangovers, sex, and (misdirected) passions of these characters create a confused, surreal mosaic of the murder, the plans of which were known by everyone, including the victim - so how could it have happened? The question creates a spiral with no clear, central answer; as we move toward the center, the pace of the story escalates, its humor darkening and thickening and culminating in brutality. Short and spell-casting, this book is ever-relevant, a meditation on accountabiliity and respsonsibility within our communities. —Madison


A Clockwork Orange Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393341768
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 21st, 2019

The Lover Cover Image
$12.95
ISBN: 9780375700521
Availability: In Stock at Publisher - Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: Pantheon - September 8th, 1998

Giovanni's Room (Vintage International) Cover Image
$14.00
ISBN: 9780345806567
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - September 12th, 2013

Death Comes for the Archbishop (Vintage Classics) Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780679728894
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - June 16th, 1990

Cry, the Beloved Country Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780743262170
Availability: In Stock at Publisher - Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - November 1st, 2003

A Journal of the Plague Year Cover Image
By Daniel Defoe, Cynthia Wall (Introduction by), Cynthia Wall (Notes by)
$11.00
ISBN: 9780140437850
Availability: In Stock at Publisher - Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Classics - August 26th, 2003

Night Cover Image
By Elie Wiesel, Marion Wiesel (Translated by), Elie Wiesel (Preface by)
$11.00
ISBN: 9780374500016
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hill and Wang - January 16th, 2006