Book recommendations: If you only have 5 minutes…

If you only have under 5 minutes to spare, here are two great online recommendations that would stretch your time and attention span.

1. New Yorker’s “Black Box”
The New Yorker’s latest online venture is a team up with Pulitzer-winner Jennifer Egan to publish her science fiction novel “Black Box” through microblogging site twitter daily.

This ongoing serial about a futuristic female spy and her mission recorded in her mission log is strangely addictive and a hit with me.

By structuring paragraphs to contain no more than 140 words, it forces sentences to be made short and curt, which in turn changes the pacing of the story. As wittily summarized by a New Yorker reader, “Dickens would hardly get a full sentence in one tweet,” Egan, in my opinion, has successfully worked within the word limitations to create a punchy but gripping novel.

Follow @NYerFiction for the latest installments of “Black Box.” For the complete story, click here for New Yorker’s Page-Turner.

2. Jonathan Chan’s “The Half and Half Man”

“The Half and Half Man” has a very simple storyline – a man who tried to chase his dreams, failed and decided to settle for the dull but safe path.

“This is a really sad book – not sad in the way people dying is sad, but sad in the way a kiwi never learning how to fly is sad,” illustrator Jonathan Chan wrote. “You see, it’s about how life is all to do with compromise.”

Each page features a unique illustration coupled with a few words, conceptualized in a very similar fashion to a children’s picture book except that it is published on Facebook as a photo album.

The most interesting part for me was the multiple ways to view the book. In thumbnail sizes, the blocks of drawings are like jigsaw puzzles pieced together to form a complete artwork.

Yet when viewed individually, the words and pictures mesh in beautifully such that if accompanied with a thick black frame would make a perfect motivational poster.

Credit to Jonathan Chan
Interested? Click here for Jonathan Chan’s facebook page or download the PDF version for FREE on


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