I find today’s topic to be rather bizarre. Who keeps track of the shortest book they’ve read? Realistically, wouldn’t this be one of those board books that toddlers learn to read? I mean the cheap, $1 board books with 5 pages.
Because I find the literal interpretation of “shortest” to be uninteresting, I think I’ll tell you about the book that seemed the shortest.
Over the summer I read Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage. At under 200 pages, it’s certainly not a long book. Nevertheless I remember wondering at how quickly I got through it. The story just flew by and it made the book seem like it was under 100 pages long.
I expected, for the entire book, that the main character would die or be seriously injured (and thus get his “red badge of courage”). He doesn’t die and he’s not seriously injured.
I don’t recall the story in minute detail – it’s not memorable in that way. Instead I remember how well the author depicted the inner struggle that occurs when people are forced to go into battle. The struggle between pride (and courage, patriotism, etc.) and self-preservation (sometimes called cowardice, but not always appropriately so) is clear.
I definitely enjoyed The Red Badge of Courage, and I highly recommend it as a short and worthwhile read.