In my last post I questioned myself on whether I might read too much since at that time I had read 20 books so far in 2010. A few days later, I finished two books probably within the span of 12 hours (and that included a good night's sleep) -- very short ones, but extremely strong stories.
The first book was The Patience Stone by Atiq Rahimi which was mentioned by Ann Kingman on a recent Books on the Nightstand podcast. In what seems to be Afghanistan, a young woman cares for her husband who lies in the middle of a room badly injured from a gunshot wound to his neck. He cannot speak, and as she tends to him she talks to him about things she would never dream of sharing with him if he were well. He in some ways becomes her patience stone - sang-e-saboor in Persian - a stone believed to take in the hurt and anguish of those who confide in it and which will one day explode with all of the pain it has absorbed. Beautiful is not quite the word to describe it, but because the novel is short the language used is concise yet extremely vivid. If you enjoyed The Kite Runner, you will also enjoy this book (in fact, Khaled Hosseini wrote an introduction to the English translation).
The second book was Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, which is the March selection for my Classics reading group. I had read a few of Wharton's other novels - The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth - and was surprised at how different this one was. It explores a completely different "class" of people in a very different setting. I'm not sure how I feel about it after reading it, but I think it will prompt an interesting discussion.
Have you read any good short books lately?