Keep it short: Books around 200 pages

By Collection Management Librarian Kathy Sexton

Sometimes you just need a book that you can read in one sitting. Short books are a great way to jump start reading stagnation, get ahead on your reading challenge, or please your book club. Here are some of my favorites!

Good things come in small packages!


Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Why you should try it: Jenny Offill’s quiet and lyrical prose has the uncanny ability to be at once relatable, funny, and subtly heartbreaking. If you like this, you should also read her new book, Weather.

Description: An unflinching portrait of marriage features a heroine simply referred to as “the Wife,” who transitions from an idealistic woman who once exchanged love letters with her husband to one who must confront an array of universal difficulties.

The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon

Why you should try it: It seems impossible that a novel marked by excellent writing is a debut. Exploring first love and religious fundamentalism, with an uncertain ending, this is a great book discussion choice. 

Description: A dark tale of violence, faith, and loss follows the experiences of a young Korean-American woman at an elite university who is drawn into acts of domestic terrorism by a cult with ties to North Korea.

Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman

Why you should try it: At just 173 pages, every word in this moving and tragic story is perfect. 

Description: A veteran enduring life trapped in his own mind begins to find a way to communicate before troubling realities about his marriage come to the surface.

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yōko Ogawa

Why you should try it: Just an absolutely beautiful book about how we form relationships and what it means to be human. You don’t have to love math or baseball to be enchanted. One of my all time favorites!

Description: A strange relationship blossoms between a brilliant math professor suffering from short-term memory problems following a traumatic head injury and the young housekeeper, the mother of a ten-year-old son, hired to care for him.

Tin Man by Sarah Winman

Why you should try it: What a beautiful, compact gem of a story and a fine example of a book that doesn’t have to be big and overly dramatic to contain multitudes. 

Description: Shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award, a heartbreaking celebration of love in all its forms gradually reveals a fallout between two longtime friends and Oxford students over the course of a decade marked by the marriage of one and the disappearance of the other. 

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Why you should try it: Jacqueline Woodson is on another level. Her writing and characters are so perfect in this story of race, class, and family. 

Description: As Melody celebrates a coming of age ceremony at her grandparents’ house in 2001 Brooklyn, her family remembers 1985, when Melody’s own mother prepared for a similar party that never took place in this novel about different social classes. 

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

Why you should try it: One of the most delightful and charming books you will read in a single sitting. 

Description: Obliged to borrow a book when her corgis stray into a mobile library, the Queen discovers a passion for reading, setting the palace upon its head and causing the royal head of Great Britain to question her role in the monarchy.

Librarian Kathy Sexton

About Kathy

Kathy is a Collection Management Librarian who loves reading, sharing, and talking about books. Her missions in life are to: create communities of readers, convince folks that her official title should be “Book Pusher,” and refute that “disco” is a dirty word.

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