There are very few books that I’ve actually read in one sitting, and only one of those is an actual in one sitting one. Truthfully, I’ve only read a book in a single day, not counting graphic novels, twice, and that’s The Wicker King and Bad Call. The first, I returned to repeatedly over the day, but the second, I actually sat down and didn’t get up until I was done. I 100% believe that I would have read The Mirror Season in one day if I hadn’t started it so late in the day, so I should probably count that one, too, especially because I considered staying up hella late to finish it on a weekday. Alas, though I’ve only done it twice, there are definitely eight other books I’d read in one sitting. And thank you to That Artsy Reader Girl for making me reconsider why I don’t read more books in one sitting!
I’ll never forget my experience with The Wicker King by K. Ancrum. It was one of the first times I’d ever read a book in one sitting, and I totally did not expect that to happen. I like to stretch books out to two days, at the very minimum, to allow myself to fully sink my teeth into them, but literally every time I put down TWK, I could not focus on a single other thing. It was all-consuming in a way that feels very appropriate for the story, and it cemented Ancrum as an auto-buy author for me no matter what she writes about. I truly could not put this book down and go about my normal day, and I have never been the same since then.
Though I read Lore by Alexandra Bracken over the course of a few days, I definitely think it’d be one that I could read in one sitting. It’s fast-paced, and the actual events of the story only take place over a few days, so I think it’d feel very easy to just sit down and power through it. Plus, it’s engaging, and the story is hella cool, so I’d definitely be drawn into it in a way that left me sitting cozy on the couch for several hours.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson may actually have been a one sitting read? I’m not sure! Nope, I’m the worst, I read it over three days, literally why, it’s barely 150 pages. This one is perfect for reading in one sitting, too, because while about half of it takes place over several years, the other half takes place during one night, and the half that does take place over several years discusses the events of another single night. The atmosphere of the book just lends itself really well to consuming all at once.
I’m still mad at myself that I didn’t read The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore in one sitting. I don’t think I started it until after work, and though it’s a short read, I only had a few hours before I had to go to sleep, and by the time midnight was rolling around, I was already well past when I should have gone to bed, and I seriously considered just saying screw it and reading well into the wee hours. This was such a phenomenal book that I didn’t move once I started reading, and I can’t wait to reread it again someday.
I just recently read The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, and its place on this list is going in direct juxtaposition to what I said in my review of wanting to spend a week writing it, but when I did have the chance to read it the first time, I only had a small amount of time, but I felt myself being drawn deep during those few hours. I could easily see opening this on a Sunday morning with my Earl Grey and not getting up until well past lunch time, more than halfway through and wondering where in the world my day had gone. The way this story is written, like a story being told in the way of the ancient Greeks (orally, maybe even across a fire), just really made me want to sink into it and not surface until the end.
I wouldn’t normally include fantasy on a list about reading books in one sitting, but there’s just something about The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen. I like to read fantasy over a few days because I feel like my brain can’t contain everything if I read it too fast, and it helps me see things happening in the plot if I let it marinate over several days rather than all at once. Thus, I’ve never read a fantasy in one sitting, and I don’t think I actually would, but I do think I’d reread TMC in one sitting. It’s short, it’s fast-paced, it’s incredibly well done, and it’s another story, like TSOA, that feels like it’s being told around a fire that you can’t stop listening to.
I was about to say something about two fantasies, but while An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson is definitely a high fantasy set outside of our own world, it also mirrors our world, and so it often feels like low/urban fantasy. And though it does take place over a few days, it’s got that magical quality that the faery realm does in that it feels like you’re slowly wading through soup, and while that should make me want to read it over several days, I think it’d be a lot of fun to just slowly dredge through this over the course of a day.
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab is spooky as hell, and while I liked reading it not all at once so I could see the reveal coming slowly rather, I think this would be a fun book to read in one sitting. You’d have to read it on a dark, dismal day, though, so you could really experience the full aesthetic of the book, and I think that’d lend itself even better to one sitting. Just gradually being consumed by the mist-covered hills of a strange witchy story.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong should be read over the course of a whole damn month just so you can properly be absolutely ruined by both the story and the language in it, but I think it’d make a fantastic read in one sitting. It would totally destroy you for the rest of your day and probably put you in a hellish reading slump, but it would so be worth it. I truly cannot even imagine reading this book in one sitting, but wow, what a journey that would be to try.
Bad Call by Stephen Wallenfels is the only book I’ve ever truly read in one sitting! And it was very much the case of many of these, where I sat down with it on the weekend with my tea and didn’t surface until my stomach was rumbling, and I only realized it was past noon because I was hungry. I intended to put it down and do something else for my afternoon, too, but when I finished lunch, I somehow found myself reading it again, and I just carried on for the whole day. This works really well for this novel, too, because it only takes place over a couple days, and they’re very high stress, chaotic days that bleed together very easily.