Picture off full bookshelves
Easy reads to make the most of your reading week. Image: Ashim D'Silva/Unsplash
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Some non-academic books you can finish in a week

Reading week is just around the corner. It is a great time to relax, recuperate and, of course, read. Here are a few short and diverting books you can finish in one week (or even one sitting). 

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie 

And Then There Were None book cover

Crime, Mystery, Suspense, 264 pages 

Ten strangers are gathered on an enigmatic private island by an unknown host, with no idea of how to escape. These eccentric guests have but one thing in common: a dark past they are unwilling to concede. A nursery rhyme is posted in the common room describing the violent deaths of young boys. Soon, guests begin to disappear, exactly as the nursery rhyme describes. And Then There Were None possesses all the elements of a modern thriller. This novel is plainly structured, and the text is easily understood. However, intrigue is far from lacking. Grab a cup of tea and turn off your notifications for an hour — you’ll want to be fully immersed in this startling novel. 

Bonus: watch the 2015 TV mini-series on BBC.

Normal People by Sally Rooney 

Normal People book cover

Fiction, Romance, Psychology, 266 pages 

Rooney recounts the improbable love story of two lonely intellectuals. In the rural town of Sligo, Ireland, Connell and Marianne are an unlikely match. Both students are highly intelligent, though deeply damaged. When the two fall into a passionate affair, they are determined to keep their relationship a secret. Readers sympathize with the complexities and triumphs of their relationships as if they were our own. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I have read every one of Sally Rooney’s novels in one sitting. The author’s unique techniques, such as integrated dialogue, allow for rapid reading. Submerged in the consciousness of Connell and Marianne, you will re-discover the emotions and complications of first love. 

Bonus: watch the Amazon Prime TV show starring Daisy Edgar Jones and Paul Mescal.

Read This to Get Smarter by Blair Imani 

Read This to Get Smarter book cover.

Non-Fiction, Social Justice, 192 pages 

If non-fiction is more your thing, Blair Imani is a historian, educator, and activist living at the intersections of Black, bisexual, and Muslim identities. She composed a comprehensive guide with answers to ‘tricky’ questions. Discussing race, class, and how much experience you have in activism, there is something to learn in this book.  Furthermore, it is a great tool to have on hand. You can read it all in one go like a novel or skip around to different sections like a textbook. I have come back to refer to certain sections or definitions often. If you are curious and passionate about activism, this book is for you. 

Bonus: check out Imani’s Instagram page (@blairimani) for her internet-famous Smarter in Seconds series. 

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde 

The Picture of Dorian Gray book cover

Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Morality, 255 pages 

Dorian Gray is a famous young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty. This haunting tale will stay with you long after the last chapter. This classic novel is an easy read due to its twisted character dynamics. Basil Hallward is an artist who — you guessed it — paints Dorian’s picture when he is a young man. Dorian is known and envied for his beauty, his entourage declares there is nothing more valuable. Wildes’ lush descriptions will enthrall readers and draw them into Dorian’s psyche, where much of our own egocentrism is reflected. What could be more horrifying and thought-provoking? 

Bonus: watch the 2006 movie with Ben Barnes as Dorian Gray. 

Hopefully, at least one of these recommendations will provide an entertaining distraction from your studies this reading week.