If you’re anything like me, when faced with limitless possibilities, you may have a hard time with choices. So, where to start with NVCL Reads: Canada 150? Why not try something you can read in a sitting or two – something easily tucked into your bag for a trip outside to the park or the beach? Perhaps that something just might be conveniently: Under 200 Pages! The following books may be slight in width and light in weight, but they pack an outsize amount of thought and intensity into their small # of pages.
In The Odyssey, Penelope — daughter of King Icarius of Sparta, and the cousin of the beautiful Helen of Troy — is portrayed as the quintessential faithful wife. With incomparable wit and verve, Atwood gives the story of Penelope new life and reality. #NVCLreads200 #NVCLreadsMargaret
Eleven-year-old Parvana lives with her family in one room of a bombed-out apartment building in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital city. As conditions for the family grow desperate, only one solution emerges. Forbidden to earn money as a girl, Parvana must transform herself into a boy, and become the breadwinner. #NVCLreads200 #NVCLreadsFamily
From birth, the child was locked away in a minuscule cell, at #804 of level 5969 of the Edifice. Favourably compared to George Orwell’s 1984, this recent translation from the original French is not to be missed. According to La Presse, Homel has perhaps created a new genre: “the claustrophobic novel”.
Set in a Bombay apartment, The Scream is narrated by a man at the end of his life, who is angry at the predicament of old age, at his isolation from his family and from a world that no longer understands him. He rails and raves in ways that are both hilarious and moving, and which touch us with recognition.
At the turn of the century, the Storyville district of New Orleans had some 2000 prostitutes, 70 professional gamblers, and 30 piano players. But it had only one man who played the cornet like Buddy Bolden. By day he cut hair and purveyed gossip at N. Joseph’s Shaving Parlor. At night he played jazz as though unleashing wild animals in a crowded room. At the age of thirty-one, Buddy Bolden went mad. #NVCLreadsHistorical
Ray Liu, an 18 year old newcomer to Canada, knows he should be happy. He lives in a big suburban house with all the latest electronic gadgets, and even finds plenty of time to indulge in his love of gaming. It’s tough getting grades that will please his army veteran father when speaking English is still a struggle. But when his father accesses Ray’s Internet account and discovers Ray has been cruising gay websites, his belongings are thrown on the front lawn and suddenly he’s homeless. #NVCLreadsVancouver
After reading any of these selections, you’ll have your answer to, “Just how much can you fit in 200 pages?” Got more ideas for Under 200 Pages? Please share in the comments!