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

Magnificent Bastards

Rich Hall

The New Penguin Book of Gay Short Stories

David Leavitt

Underground: Tales for London

Various authors


Jackie Kay

101 Poems by 101 Women

Germaine Greer (editor)

Time's Tidings

Carol Ann Duffy (ed)

Four Walls

Vangelis Hatziyannidis

Sardines and Oranges: Short Stories from North Africa

Latifa Baqa and others

Old People are a Problem

Emyr Humphreys

Too Black, Too Strong

Benjamin Zephaniah


Melissa Harrison

Strictly Casual: Fiction by Women on Love

Amy Prior

Modern Love

Max Wallis


Rawi Hage

The Book of Sheffield

Catherine Taylor ed


Sean O'Reilly

Hey Yeah Right Get a Life

Helen Simpson

Personal Velocity

Rebecca Miller

Getting A Life

Catherine Merriman

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned

Wells Tower

Errors of the Spirit


The Boat

Nam Le

A la Recherche du Temps Perdu: a Poem

Craig Raine

Beware of God

Shalom Auslander

All the Lights

Clemens Meyer


Helen Sandler

Don't Try This at Home

Angela Readman

Trouble Came to the Turnip

Caroline Bird

Stick Out Your Tongue

Ma Jian

Speaking With the Angel

Nick Hornby


Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio (eds)


Alan Bennett


Craig Raine

One More for the Road

Ray Bradbury

Nothing But Ghosts

Judith Hermann

The End of Sleep

Rowan Somerville

Tart Noir

Duffy/Henderson ed.

Seventh Heaven: Supernatural Stories

Naguib Mafouz

A Few Short Notes on Tropical Butterflies

John Murray

View with a Grain of Sand

Wislawa Szymborska

Caribbean Passion

Opal Palmer Adisa

The New Uncanny: Tales of Unease

Sarah Eyre and Ra Page (eds)

Of Mutability

Jo Shapcott

Reshape Whilst Damp: Prize-winning Stories by Women

Carole Buchan

The Girl on the Stairs

Louise Welsh

Travel Arrangements

M John Harrison

Wild Embers

Nikita Gill

Birmingham Noir

Joel Lane (ed)


Caroline Brothers

The Ladies of Grace Adieu

Susanna Clarke