This month, I read Erik Larson’s newest book, Dead Wake. Though I thoroughly enjoyed the read, it took me weeks to get through. Most of my reading is done early in the morning, or late at night, and I found it difficult to absorb all the minute details Larson incorporated. This is unlike my experience with fiction. I tend to get lost in fiction narratives and tired or not, tend not to be bogged down by descriptions. Because of this (and other external reasons — life, you know), it took me 3 weeks to read the entirety of the book.

Last weekend, I was craving a comforting voice and downed Nora Ephron’s I Remember Nothing. It felt so good to lose myself in her voice, and I read all 160 pages that day. I felt a huge sense of gratification at having spent a long, only mildly interrupted day, reading the same small book. Not to mention that Ephron is one of my heroes, so spending a whole day with her was divine.

Since then, I’ve started scavenging my shelves for books I could devour in a day. Now, for many avid readers, there are a multitude of sizes of books they could devour in a day. Not for me. I’m a very slow reader and when I say “devourable in a day”, I mean probably less than 250 pages.

So, without further ado, here are some books I already own that, in the future, I’d love to spend the day with.

Heartburn by Nora Ephron
Obviously. I’ve heard that this isn’t her best work, but she talks about it in I Remember Nothing, and I just have to read it. The entire work is published in a large bindup of her work called The Most of Nora Ephron, which I cherish. I read little bits at a time, because I hate to think of a time when I have nothing new from Nora to read. There’s also a movie with Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep, so that will need to be watched too!

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
This seems like a very sweet, read in one day book. I’ve seen the movie many times but never read the book, and this on my list of books I need to read this year!

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
I was hit by a sudden desire to read this last year, and it is also included in the list. I know this will be a sad book, but oddly enough, when I’m feeling melancholy, that is what I like to read.

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
I can’t shut up about Jon Ronson. And NOW I have the chance to meet him later this month! I bought myself The Psychopath Test almost immediately after finishing So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. I can’t wait for this.

Bettyville by George Hodgman
When a coworker gave me a copy of Bettyville, I immediately thought of The End of Your Life Bookclub, which I adored. Like Will Schwalbe, Hodgman goes home to care for his mother during a time of need. Schwalbe himself blurbed the book, which is gold in my books.

Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett
This is a tiny work of non fiction about the relationship between Patchett and her best friend, Lucy Grealy. Grealy was also a writer, and had lost part of her jaw to childhood cancer. Truth & Beauty tells the story of the inner workings of their often complicated friendship. This sounds harrowing.


11 thoughts on “The Appeal of Reading a Book in One Day

  1. The Year of Magical thinking is wonderful! Thank you for sharing the wonderful synopses! If you’re ever interested in some other awesome book reviews and musings, be sure to follow! Thanks!

  2. I love devouring a book in a day! I can’t remember the last time that I’ve actually done it though! I almost did it with Sarah Gruen’s latest book, At The Water’s Edge, but alas, the fact that I had to work early the next morning forced me to put it down. One of the things I hate about reading a book in one day though, is that if it is really really good, it makes the ending bittersweet. I kind of wish I had read At The Water’s Edge more slowly to savour it longer, but alas, my need to read it won over in the end! It was just too addicting for me to stop!

    • I totally agree with the bittersweet comment. It’s thrilling to race through the book but then it’s over and you’re left with a feeling of whiplash. Like it came and was gone too quickly! I’m headed over to read your review of the Gruen now!

  3. I agree that there is a certain gratification in reading a book in one day…or even one weekend. Many times I find YA or juvenile books fit that bill. For example, read Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko today. I love this series! Nice post. The Secret Garden is one of my faves from childhood. Just reread it several years ago. I love it! Good luck!

    • Thank you, Lynn :). YA books are great to storm through in a day. I just did it recently with E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars. I’m glad to hear that you love The Secret Garden! I can’t believe I still haven’t read it and am really looking forward to it :).

  4. I love this list! There is nothing better than polishing off a whole book in one sitting. I did this with Heidi recently (and totally spent an entire day reading Dead Wake) and it was the best. I also remember reading The Birth House in one sitting. And this weekend I obviously did that with We Should All Be Feminists. You should read The Secret Garden ASAP. And then A Little Princess which is one of my very favourites.

    • I can’t believe you read Dead Wake in a day! That is supremely impressive lol. It took me nearly 3 weeks!
      I am definitely getting to The Secret Garden ASAP. Hopefully this month!

  5. Pingback: March in Review | Chels & a Book

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