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Last Updated: Jun 22, 2017 URL: Print Guide Email Alerts

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Short Reads

Pressed for time? So are we, but that doesn’t change the fact that we want to read it all. A good way to read for pleasure and still fulfill an extra busy schedule is to pick up a shorter book, many of which rank among our greatest classics. Once a month, the Library will recommend a title that is 250 pages or less in order to promote leisure reading, which can help the daily grind to be—well, less grinding. Our pick for March 2017 is only 106 pages—whether you read it over the month, or devour all it in one sitting, we hope you enjoy!

The Abbess of Crewe

The Abbess of Crewe by Muriel Spark (106 pages)

Religious houses are not free from politics, especially when there is a vacant abbacy. At the Abbey of Crewe, two popular nuns rise up to become the main contenders for this important office, and not unlike some of our congresspersons, turn out to be terribly corrupt, handing out bribes and engaging in other behaviors decidedly ill-suited to religious life. When the book was published in 1974, reviewer George Stead (writing for The New York Times) connected Muriel Spark’s work with the distressing political situation in America at that time: “The setting, to mention names, is the Abbey of Crewe, the immoralities are those of Watergate.” Available from OhioLINK Central Catalog.


    Previous Selections: Books with POJ

    Books with POJ was a reader's advisory feature written by former Library Director, Paul Jenkins. An archive of Paul's selected titles is available via the Library's Goodreads account.  Many of these titles are freely available for checkout via OhioLINK, the Public Library of Cincinnati, and the MSJ Library.

    MSJLibrary's bookshelf: books-with-poj

    Homer & Langley
    This fictionalized account of the famously reclusive Collyer brothers offers the reader a glimpse into a very odd world. Homer, the younger brother, narrates the story in first person and recounts his brother’s gradual descent into madn...
    tagged: books-with-poj
    The Stone Diaries
    The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (304 pages, 1995). This fictionalized autobiography details every important event in Daisy Goodwill’s life—including her birth, childhood, marriage, adult life, and death. Hers is an unconventional li...
    tagged: books-with-poj
    My Dear I Wanted to Tell You
    Two stories intertwine in this novel set during WWI. The first involves a working class young man who falls in love with a young lady of higher social rank. The second concerns an officer’s wife who increasingly comes to question her r...
    tagged: books-with-poj
    Olive Kitteridge
    This novel is really a collection of stories that all involve the title character in one way or another. Olive is an aging school teacher living in Maine who has strong opinions about everything and everyone in her life. While the focu...
    tagged: books-with-poj
    The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar
    This fascinating historical novel is told from the point of view of Leonka, a servant employed by Tsar Nicholas of Russia. Leonka is intimately acquainted with all members of the Tsar’s family and becomes involved in plans to free the im...
    tagged: books-with-poj
    Safe from the Sea
    Noah Torr answers his father’s summons to visit him in northern Minnesota. The two have been estranged for years, but something in his father’s voice convinces Noah to make the trip. While there, Noah finally learns the truth about the...
    tagged: books-with-poj
    The Pillars of the Earth
    Yes, it’s a long one, but well worth the investment. Follett’s historical novel is set in 12th century England and traces the construction of a cathedral. Follett had made a good living writing thrillers before turning his hand to a hist...
    tagged: books-with-poj
    tagged: books-with-poj
    tagged: books-with-poj
    On Chesil Beach
    tagged: books-with-poj
    I Am of Irelaunde: A Novel of Patrick and Osian
    This novel presents, in alternating chapters, the story of St. Patrick’s ministry in 5th century Ireland and the storyteller Ossian’s tales of the fianna, ancient Celtic heroes who helped to stabilize and unite the island that became kno...
    tagged: books-with-poj
    Invisible Man
    The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1952, 439 pages). Not to be confused with science fiction stories about a man who cannot be seen, The Invisible Man tells the story of a nameless young African American as he encounters intolerance an...
    tagged: books-with-poj
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
    Told via a series of letters, this is the story of how a young English writer comes to know and love the members of an eccentric literary society on the small island of Guernsey. Lightly comic but also moving in its portrayal of the suf...
    tagged: books-with-poj
    Songs for the Missing
    O’Nan’s most recent novel is a study of how a Midwestern family reacts to the disappearance of oldest daughter, Kim (18). The point of view alternates between Kim’s father, mother, younger sister, best friend, and boyfriend. As the sea...
    tagged: books-with-poj
    This Boy's Life
    This Boy’s Life, by Tobias Wolff (1989, 288 pages). Both heartbreaking and amusing, Wolff’s memoir of his first 18 years is consistently engaging. His ultimate belief in himself never wavers–even when it probably should. If you enjoy...
    tagged: books-with-poj
    The Glass Castle
    This is a compelling memoir of a girl who grew up with two free-spirited, irresponsible parents. The family leads a nomadic existence, rarely staying put for more than a few months at a time. Jeannette and her siblings display great co...
    tagged: books-with-poj
    The House of Paper
    This short novel deals with bibliomania, an obsession for books. The death of a colleague and the subsequent arrival of a cement-encrusted book addressed to her leads the book’s narrator to track down the man who mailed it. What he dis...
    tagged: books-with-poj
    The Brothers K
    An amusing and moving family saga, The Brothers K is also a love letter of sorts to baseball. Hugh Chance is a minor league pitcher raising a family with his wife, a seventh day Adventist. Each of the children is strikingly different, ye...
    tagged: books-with-poj
    The Haunted Bookshop
    Not so much a ghost story as a discursive tribute to books, The Haunted Bookshop has delighted generations of book lovers. Aubrey Gilbert falls in love with Titania Chapman, a young lady learning the book business under the tutelage of ...
    tagged: books-with-poj
    As Above, So Below: A Novel of Peter Bruegel
    As Above, So Below: A Novel of Peter Bruegel, by Rudy Rucker (2002, 318 pages). “In sixteen chapters, each headed by one of the artist’s famous works, Rucker brings Bruegel’s painters progress and his colorful world to vibrant life, doi...
    tagged: books-with-poj


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