Short books to read

Short books fit into the life spaces we have for reading. If you are busy, you need something to give an instant hit. Try poetry – you can dip in and find something pithy for brief indulgence. Or short stories, exquisite in their crafting and hugely satisfying in the worlds they create within the space of so few pages. And some short novels deliver a complete and satisfying experience while taking just a short amount of your time.

Short books often punch well above their weight – delivering riches far beyond what might be suggested by their diminutive size. Don’t be deceived by their slight appearance, size isn’t everything. But do be assured, you will be able to enjoy the experience within a manageable time frame. You won’t forget the plot because you started it three months ago and it’s easy to hold a light volume instead of a hefty tome. If you like to read something compressed, that you can complete in one sitting, these books will fit the bill.

Search for books by Mood & Emotion

The Penguin Book of International Gay Writing

Mark Mitchell

Hiding in Plain Sight

Nuruddin Farah

Monsieur Linh and His Child

Philippe Claudel

People I Wanted to Be

Gina Ochsner

Beyond Our Kennel

John Hegley

Laureate's Block

Tony Harrison

Stories of Your Life and Others

Ted Chiang


Lucy Caldwell

The Cranes That Build the Cranes

Jeremy Dyson

All That Follows

Jim Crace

Bowing to Winter

June Hall

Getting A Life

Catherine Merriman

Foreign Bodies

Cynthia Ozick

Poems 1960-2000

Fleur Adcock

Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times

Neil Astley


Sujata Bhatt

Tart Noir

Duffy/Henderson ed.

The Age of Cardboard and String

Charles Boyle

Travel Arrangements

M John Harrison

The Arrival of Brighteye and Other Poems

Jean Breeze

My Documents

Alejandro Zamba

One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses

Lucy Corin

The Heel of Bernadette

Colette Bryce

The Drowning

Camilla Lackberg

The Cartography of Others

Catherine McNamara

The Dog

Jack Livings

Errors of the Spirit


Twisted Truths: Stories from the Irish

Brian Ó Conchubhair (ed)

Hieroglyphics and Other Stories

Anne Donovan

Four Walls

Vangelis Hatziyannidis

Walk the Blue Fields

Claire Keegan

You Don't Have to Say

Alan Beard


David Foster Wallace


David Bezmozgis

Seven Tales of Sex and Death

Patricia Duncker

So That You Can Know Me

Yasmin Hameed

Glory Goes and Gets Some

Emily Carter

Rotten Row

Petina Gappah

A Few Short Notes on Tropical Butterflies

John Murray


Tom Franklin

One More Thing

B J Novak

Ada's Rules

Alice Randall

After Rain

William Trevor

Blue Bamboo

Osamu Dazai


Craig Raine

House Divided

Raul Ramos y Sanchez

Nothing But Ghosts

Judith Hermann

Personal Velocity

Rebecca Miller

Something for the Ghosts

David Constantine

The Last Quarter of the Moon

Chi Zijian