15 Classic Books Under 200 Pages You Can Read in 2 Hours Flat

Yes, really.

Updated 09/30/19
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Not to state the obvious, but classic novels can be intimidating. Just spotting that 600-odd-page copy of Jane Eyre on your bookshelf is enough to make you want to abandon the idea of reading timeless tomes altogether. While we don't want to suggest that you leave Charlotte Brontë's bulky book to collect dust on your shelf, we have curated a list of under-200 page classics that'll make the idea of picking up a quintessential read much more manageable.

Spanning an unputdownable coming-of-age story set in Chicago to a provocative page-turner about infidelity, these short classic novels may have slim spines, but they're anything but trivial. No need to bother with a bookmark—you're going to want to read these short classic books in one sitting.

Here our picks for best classic books under 200 pages.

01 of 15

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Sandra Cisneros The House on Mango Street $10
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Sandra Cisneros's short novel about a young Latina girl coming of age in Chicago has earned its place on bookshelves among classics by Toni Morison and Virginia Woolf with its memorable characters and sparse but affecting prose. You may have read The House on Mango Street in grade school, but it's just as impactful when re-read as an adult.

02 of 15

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 $16
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Set in a dystopian future where literature is on the edge of extinction, Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451 is often touted as an American classic. Bonus: After reading the classic novel from cover to cover, watch HBO's adaptation starring Michael B. Jordan. You won't be disappointed.

03 of 15

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf A Room of One's Own $5
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In A Room of One's Own, Woolf imagines that Shakespeare has a sister who is his intellectual equal in every way. Their only difference? She's a woman. Consider this classic novel, which reads more like an insightful essay on sexism, a must-read today.

04 of 15

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez
Gabriel García Márquez Chronicle of a Death Foretold $12
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Although Gabriel García Márquez is best known for his Nobel Prize-winning epic One Hundred Years of Solitude, the celebrated Colombian author's slim yet powerful novella Chronicle of a Death Foretold, about a baffling murder, is well worth a read. In it, everyone knows a murder will occur, but no one does anything to stop it. It's one of those books where the more you learn, the less you know.

05 of 15

Sula by Toni Morrison

Sula by Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison Sula $12
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This is a brief but beautiful novel about two friends torn apart by an unforgivable betrayal, written by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison. The book belongs on every bookshelf alongside modern works of fiction on friendship, like Swing Time by Zadie Smith.

06 of 15

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Kate Chopin The Awakening $4
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While an unfaithful wife may not be as shocking a concept as it was in 1899, when Chopin's novel was first published, The Awakening still deserves a spot in your to-read pile for its poignant portrayal of a married woman. In it, a woman escapes a stifling marriage to pursue passionate love.

07 of 15

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby $10
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Set during the Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby transports readers to a glamorous world of lavish parties that are more insidious than they seem. Follow up your read by watching Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby in the 2013 film.

Even if you already own a copy, it's worth picking up this new edition, complete with a foreword by acclaimed novelist Jesmyn Ward.

08 of 15

Speedboat by Renata Adler

Speedboat by Renata Adler
Renata Adler Speedboat $14
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Renata Adler's novel about a young reporter navigating New York City offers a sharp and clever critique of urban life in its 192 pages. Fans of Sylvia Plath's classic The Bell Jar will want to add it to their to-read pile stat.

09 of 15

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm by George Orwell
George Orwell Animal Farm $11
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In just 128 pages, Orwell's scathingly satirical and fiercely funny novel packs a poignant punch, reimagining the events of the Russian Revolution through the eyes of a community of downtrodden mistreated farm animals seeking equality. Witness the rise and fall of these revolutionary animals in Animal Farm.

10 of 15

Passing by Nella Larsen

Passing by Nella Larsen
Nella Larsen Passing $11
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Although Nella Larsen's Passing was originally published in 1929, the tragic story about a light-skinned woman married to a racist white man unaware of her African American heritage continues to resonate with readers today. It it, the main character Clare Kendry longs for the black identity she abandoned in favor of passing for white.

11 of 15

Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
J.D. Salinger Franny and Zooey $8
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J.D. Salinger's lesser-known novel Franny and Zooey is actually composed of two interlocking short stories about disenfranchised siblings, Franny, an undergraduate student struggling to find her place, and her brother, Zooey, an aspiring actor. It's a tale of the struggle that is entering adulthood.

12 of 15

The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis and Other Stories $11
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Technically a short story (not a novel) about a man who wakes up transformed into a beetle-like insect, Franz Kafka's "The Metamorphosis" only requires about 45 minutes of your time to tear through, making it the ultimate answer to not having time to read. The story is about feelings of inadequacy and isolation (both of which one may experience after realizing they've been turned into a scream-inducing insect).

13 of 15

The Stranger by Albert Camus

the stranger
Albert Camus The Stranger $11
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In The Stranger, a man is drawn to a murder on an Algerian beach, and French author Albert Camus explores what he calls "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd." It's a quick exploration at that, with a page count of only 123.

14 of 15

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

breakfast at tiffany's
Truman Capote Breakfast at Tiffany's $13
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Timetravel to glamorous 1940s New York City with this Truman Capote classic. Holly Golightly is a teenage girl about town looking for a place that feels like home in this world, preferably on the arm of an older man in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Don't miss the Audrey Hepburn film either, of course, which is based loosely on the novella.

15 of 15

The Pearl by John Steinbeck

the pearl
John Steinbeck The Pearl $10
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The Pearl is about a poor diver who hits the mother lode by finding a pearl the size of a seagull's egg. He's ecstatic to be able to provide for his young family in this story based on a Mexican folk tale about love and greed.

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