It seems that most bibliophiles have that one book. You know the one. It's a masterpiece, it's a classic, it's won numerous awards and has been hailed as one of the greatest novels of its century. It's also double, triple, or even quadruple the length of an average novel, so reading it would be the crowning achievement of your book-loving career. And, too often, it sits on the bookshelf, unread, because it's just so darn big.

My aspirational novel is War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. As a bookworm with a Russian family background, I think few things would suit me better than to read the longest novel in Russian literature. Over the years, I've read several portions here and there, but have I read the whole thing start to finish? Nope. Not even close. In fact, I'll admit (to my shame) that I haven't even tried.

And I know I'm not the only one intimidated by the time commitment of a hefty novel. Tolstoy's wife may have copied out the manuscript of War and Peace. Longhand. Multiple times. But today? Many of us struggle to find the time to read regularly, let alone finish a book that is hundreds of pages long.

That's why we created this list of short reads by classic authors who are famous for their massive novels. Many of these authors' shorter works are just as exquisite and some are nearly as famous as their magnum opuses, with a significantly lower time commitment.

Of course, no book on this list will replace the one you've been wanting to read, nor should it. But these works will give you a taste of each author's craft, and who knows? Maybe they will inspire you to read onwards and upwards, toward that elusive prize.

Short Reads

40 Classic Books & Why You Should Read Them See the List

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