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November 9, 2010 1:48 PM   Subscribe

Are there any short novels (~200 pgs. or less) that have made it onto the New York Times Best Seller List?

I know that the Catcher in the Rye is a short American novel that has stood the test of time, but I'm looking for other examples of short novels that also did well commercially.
posted by whimsicalnymph to Writing & Language (27 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
The Bridges of Madison County and Jonathan Livingston Seagull are two.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:55 PM on November 9, 2010

Brokeback Mountain.
posted by Melismata at 1:57 PM on November 9, 2010

The Lover, by Marguerite Duras. I don't know where it reached on the lists (is there a way to search them?), but this NYT article describes it as "best-selling."
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:03 PM on November 9, 2010

The Road is short, as is Love Story.
posted by raisingsand at 2:05 PM on November 9, 2010

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho.

Easily one of the stupidest books I've ever read, but apparently so popular that my local branch of Indigo keeps it on a 'by request only' shelf to keep people from stealing it.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:06 PM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

YA fiction is likely to be a big source of this. Also think of the kind of short fiction that gets assigned in high school English. The Bluest Eye, Animal Farm (not sure if that one actually made it to the NYT list or not), The Lord of the Flies. Travels with Charly is another.
posted by phoenixy at 2:09 PM on November 9, 2010

I think Tinkers made it on there at one point. Just read it; it's pretty good.
posted by prior at 2:10 PM on November 9, 2010

Steve Martin's Shopgirl.

I'm sure there will be several, and I'd bet some smartypants Mefite will know how to do a search query for a full list.
posted by hydrophonic at 2:11 PM on November 9, 2010

A River Runs Through It.
posted by Wordwoman at 2:12 PM on November 9, 2010

I'm pretty sure Damage by Josephine Hart was on the NYT best-seller list, though I'm having trouble confirming that.
posted by Work to Live at 2:19 PM on November 9, 2010

Cannery Row - short, sweet and it sold big but I don't know for sure if it made the NYT bestseller list. This one stands the test of time.
posted by caddis at 2:21 PM on November 9, 2010

The Great Gatsby
posted by neroli at 2:22 PM on November 9, 2010

(Not a best seller at the time, but subsequently did pretty well...)
posted by neroli at 2:24 PM on November 9, 2010

a few more short books that stand the test of time and sold well in their time:
Animal Farm
A Christmas Carol
Lord of the Flies
posted by caddis at 2:30 PM on November 9, 2010

Bonjour Tristesse
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 2:31 PM on November 9, 2010

Stephen King's The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon had to have hit the bestseller list at least briefly.
posted by padraigin at 2:41 PM on November 9, 2010

Seconding Animal Farm. So succinctly put that whenever I encounter anyone who preaches about how corrupt "the system" (details are always vague) is and how we should rise up and change it etc, I tell them "Fuck off and read Animal Farm, then come back and we'll talk."
posted by Biru at 2:56 PM on November 9, 2010

The Five People You Meet In Heaven was 196 pages and stayed on there for 95 weeks.
posted by Madamina at 3:19 PM on November 9, 2010

Yes, The Five People You Meet In Heaven was a good book. I second it.
posted by Biru at 3:22 PM on November 9, 2010

Winesburg, Ohio
posted by sulaine at 3:43 PM on November 9, 2010

Who Moved My Cheese? is only 96 pages and a bestseller. I don't think it's a very good book though, at least from what I've heard.
posted by scose at 5:48 PM on November 9, 2010

I believe Pynchon's Crying of Lot 49 made the list, and remains a perennial favorite.
posted by drlith at 6:09 PM on November 9, 2010

Nicholson Baker's Vox (176pp) counts, but perhaps not The Fermata (320pp).
posted by dhartung at 7:21 PM on November 9, 2010

Perusing this list of top sellers I see:

Franny and Zooey (wasn't this a recent MeFi book discussion selection, or was that some other discussion group?), andh
Oh, the Places You'll Go
posted by caddis at 7:27 PM on November 9, 2010

Steinbeck's Travels with Charley was #1 in non-fiction, if you're interested in adding travel writing to your list.
posted by BlooPen at 8:58 PM on November 9, 2010

When my son was just entering high school or thereabouts he had to read x number of books and I wandered the bookstores searching for quality short reads for him. Steinbeck was the go to guy. He wrote a ton of short books. Most of these were quite popular in their day and they remain timeless. I particularly loved one of his early books, "Tortilla Flats." It is longer than 200 pages I believe, and its depiction of the Mexican-American community still rankles some, but the story itself is touching.
posted by caddis at 3:58 AM on November 10, 2010

Jonathan Livingston Seagull -- 38 weeks on the NYT bestseller list; 127 pages
posted by rtimmel at 8:08 AM on November 10, 2010

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