Eleven books you can read in a day

03 February 2014

Handpicked by Picador editors and readers, these books will suck you into their worlds and transport you to rural Wales and Wyoming, to London and down a (metaphorical) rabbit hole. They won't let go till you've finished and the day has almost gone. GoodReads reading challenge 2014 participants: look no further for more books for your TBR pile.

 Sophie Jonathan, Assistant Editor at Picador

The Long Dry by Cynan Jones (Parthian Books) is only 119 pages long but it is easily one of the most powerful books I have ever read. Set in a brutal and beautiful landscape – a farm in Wales – it is a plainly written story that captures the deep love felt by one man for his wife, family and work. It is utterly utterly heart-breaking and you won’t shake it out of your head for weeks even if it does only take a few hours to read. 

Sarah Blake, Picador Poetry Editor

The Best Man That Ever Was by Annie Freud (Picador) offers sensuous evocations of that trinity of earthly pleasures – food, sex and language. 

Memorial by Alice Oswald (Faber) is a fragmentary translation of Homer's Iliad. I read it on the evening of Remembrance Sunday a couple of years ago, and I defy anyone to read it silently – like the Iliad it's a vocative poem and demands to be read aloud.

Francesca Main Francesca Main, Editorial Director at Picador

From the Picador list I’d suggest Lottie Moggach’s Kiss Me First which hooked me so completely that I read it without stopping, turning the last page in the middle of the afternoon, dazed and hungry and still in my pyjamas. It’s been called the first thriller to truly tackle the slippery question of identity in the internet age, and is about a sheltered, rather obsessive young woman who takes over the online life of someone completely unlike her, with ever-spiralling consequences.

Brokeback Mountain, Kiss Me First, A Monster Calls

On my shelves at home are a number of books I’ve read in a day, including two very different ones that have really stayed with me – A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (Walker Books) and Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx (4th Estate). (I don’t know if the latter counts as it’s a short story, but my copy is a separate little book, so I’m counting it).  Both have powerful things to say about love and grief, and both moved me to tears.

You also sent us your recommendations via Twitter, so to add to the list, we have:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Penguin) and The Passion by Jeanette Winterson, recommended by @sophiemlpink

Down the Rabbit Hole by Juan Pablo Villalobos (And Other Stories), recommended by @gogrygbi

Old School by Tobias Wolff (Bloomsbury) and The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka (Penguin), recommended by @niven_govinden

Keep them coming in the comments below!