Written by Natalia

There are many reading challenges out there, with the most well-known ones on Goodreads or The StoryGraph. You can set your own goal to read a certain number of books or pages by the end of the year or challenge yourself to read more classics, more female authors or more translated fiction, for example. If you’re unsure how to meet your 50-book reading goal, here’s a list of my suggestions for a few quick and fun reads to help you cross the finish line.

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer – Fredrik Backman

Backman’s novella And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer hits you right in the solar plexus. Grandpa, Ted and Noah meet on a park bench that is getting smaller as time passes and they reminisce about their childhood. Grandpa recalls memories of falling in love with his wife. Ted (Noah’s father) thinks about his desire to be accepted by his dad. This is a story about letting go and coming to terms with the past, which will stay with you well into the future.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson

We Have Always Lived in the Castle tells the story of the Blackwood family and the dark secret that surrounds them. In under 200 pages, Jackson manages to create an eerie and terrifying tale told through the eyes of 18-year-old Mary Katherine Blackwood. The Blackwood sisters, Constance and Mary Katherine, and scatterbrained Uncle Julian are the only remaining members of the family living in a big old house on the outskirts of New England. The townsfolk suspect one of the Blackwood sisters is a murderer, as the remainder of the family was poisoned six years ago, and a tale of whydunnit ensues… The voice of Mary Katherine will haunt you.

Guarding Temptation – Talia Hibbert

Guarding Temptation is a fun and very spicy novella about heroine Nina Chapman and brooding hero James Foster. Nina Chapman is ready to save the world and is very busy doing so; too busy for James Foster, who secretly has a crush on her. One problem: she is his best friend’s sister and therefore forbidden territory. But when forced to live close to one another, things start to heat up between them, and the lines of what is right and what is wrong start to blur.

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy – Becky Chambers

The second part in Chambers’ Monk & Robot series continues where the first one, A Psalm for the Wild-Built, left off. “Tea monk” Sibling Dex and the self-aware robot Mosscap set off to explore the cities and villages of their tiny home moon, Panga. Mosscap hopes to find the answers to questions about what humans need and desire, especially when they already have it all. They make friends, have fun and learn more about the universe during their journey. Like Becky Chambers’ other stories, this one is just as heartfelt.

A Spindle Splintered – Alix E. Harrow

A Spindle Splintered is a dark and queer reimagining of Sleeping Beauty about two heroines who are desperate to escape their fate of death after the age of 21. For Zinnia’s 21st birthday, her best friend Charm organizes a sleeping beauty-inspired birthday party, complete with a spinning wheel. As Zinnia pricks her finger on it, she travels through different dimensions and meets another sleeping beauty. This novella is filled with fairytale aspects, but all with a twist. It makes for an enjoyable short read.

The Employees: A Workplace Novel of the 22nd Century – Olga Ravn, Martin Aitken (translator)

The Employees by Danish author Olga Ravn is an experimental and speculative novel about what the workplace would look like in the 22nd century when Earth is just a mere memory. The novella follows human and humanoid employees longing for warmth and intimacy as they travel through space thinking about lost loved ones. Ravn’s novella tackles what it means to be human and critiques whether our current obsessions with work and productivity are worth it.