8 Seriously Short Books for the Busiest of Bees

No matter how packed your schedule is, each of these books can find a place in it.
November 28, 2018
8 mins read

I’ve never met an adult who wasn’t busy. Everyone has something that occupies their time and makes them exhausted by the end of the day. For most people, it’s work, school or some combination of both. And personally, by the time I’m done with all the work that I have to complete, I don’t want to concentrate for very long.

For those of you who like reading normally, being too tired or too busy to read is just sad. Sometimes it’s easier to turn to Netflix and fall asleep to “The Office,” but when you’d like to read, try to pick up a short book that will keep your attention for just long enough.

With that said, here are eight short books for the busiest people.

1. “The Westing Game” by Ellen Raskin

Page count: 182

Raskin’s book tells the story of 16 people roped into a game to compete for the prize awarded in the will of Samuel W. Westing, though the stakes are higher than they think. Westing picked almost complete strangers to play his last game, and it’s anyone’s guess as to what inspired his most extensive ploy to date.

Although this is one of those books that is geared toward younger readers, the mystery never loses sight of the fun it creates, and the cast of characters carry their own peculiar motives that keep the pages turning.

2. “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer

Page count: 207

Krakauer’s narrative nonfiction book traces the life of Christopher McCandless, a college graduate who abandoned most of his possessions and then wandered into the wilderness of Alaska, only to have his body found four months later in 1992. But before his death, McCandless (or Alexander Supertramp, as he dubbed himself) had been wandering up and down the American West without maps or money, removing himself fully from the material world and submerging himself in the raw, wild light of nature unbound.

His story created one of the most classic adventure books ever by evoking beautiful and tragic ideas of humanity and the relation to an untamed wilderness, and the pages fly even though you’re told the ending on page one.

3. “Looking for Alaska” by John Green

Page count: 221

Vlogbrother and author John Green takes the reader on a journey with teenage Miles “Pudge” Halter, a kid who only dreams about doing big things. When he hauls off to Culver Creek Boarding School in Alabama, he meets Chip “The Colonel” Martin, Takumi Hikohito, Lara Buterskaya and the wildly interesting Alaska Young with her Life’s Library and macabre sense of humor. Halter is entranced by Young and her reckless lifestyle, but that is Before.

The After brings a whole different host of challenges to Halter’s life, and maybe now he’s learned how to live.

4. “The Mapmaker’s War” by Ronlyn Domingue

Page count: 226

“The Mapmaker’s War” is the autobiographical story of Aoife, a mapmaker in an ancient kingdom long forgotten. When she comes across a people who claim to protect the secret of the world’s creation, Aoife finds herself cast out by her kingdom. Suddenly she’s living with strangers and her guilt, and through her child she must face her complicated history.

The story is told in second person which people either love or hate, but the story itself is beautiful and doesn’t take too many pages to introduce the fantasy setting.

5. “The Devil’s Intern” by Donna Hosie

Page count: 229

Being dead isn’t great, and when Mitchell Johnson, The Devil’s intern in Hell’s accounting office, discovers that there’s a time-traveling device that he could use to prevent his death, he figures that he should use the opportunity to continue his life before he was hit by a bus at age 17. But when his friends jump in on the action, they find that playing with time and their deaths isn’t what they expected. And of course, they’re on the run from those who also want the device.

Fast-paced and thought-provoking, “The Devil’s Intern” is equal parts funny and sobering, much like life itself.

6. “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness

Page count: 237

Upon first looking at the book’s cover and the illustrations, “A Monster Calls” appears sinister and grim. That is not what this book is at all. Conor’s mother is ill, and when the treatments and medication don’t seem to be doing the trick, a visitor comes to Conor, demanding the truth from him.

Ness’ borrowed idea from the late Siobhan Dawd is a tale about grief and love, and although it is horribly sad, there is something cathartic about running through those feelings with Conor. This is one of those small books with a big punch.

7. “We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart

Page count: 242

Lockhart’s young adult suspense novel surrounds the gilded life of an intensely wealthy family and their summer home. But there has been an accident and many lies, and you only wonder if anyone is telling the truth.

This book is best if you go in blind because the strength is really in the plot and the information hidden throughout, and I might accidentally spoil it for you if I say too much. That said, the suspense keeps the book moving.

8. “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien

Page count: 366

As the longest book on this list, Tolkien’s precursor to the “Lord of the Rings” series demands only slightly more attention than the other books on this list. Here is Bilbo Baggins, a quiet Hobbit in the ever-loved Middle-Earth who would just like to stay in his home in Bag End and not be bothered by the wizard Gandalf the Grey or a bunch of dwarfs.

Naturally, Gandalf and the dwarfs bust down his door and enlist him on their quest to reclaim the dwarven treasure and land from the dragon Smaug the Magnificent, and this adventure is only the beginning.

Allison Kestler, Augustana College

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Allison Kestler

Augustana College

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