Short Reads

Find yourself running short on time? No worries, us too! But you can still make time to sit down and lose yourself in a good book. If you still want the accomplishment of finishing a book without dedicating long stretches of time to do so, pick up a short read! We have put together a list of acclaimed short reads that you can finish in just a few sittings. For the purpose of this list, each title is under 250 pages.

Book cover of OkPsyche by Anya Johanna DeNiro.

OkPsyche by Anya Johanna DeNiro is a 141-page novel. This narrative features an un-named trans woman navigating her role in the various environments she finds herself in. Seeking to restore her relationship with her son, who lives with her ex out of state, the main character also navigates a world with companion robots and environmental disasters. In this short read, the author deals with both real and imagined fears of adulthood, parenthood, and self-discovery in a modern world.

Cover of Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot.

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot is 192 pages. This best-selling memoir grapples with trauma in its many forms. Mailhot is an indigenous author from The Seabird Island Band, a First Nation in Canada. In a poetic and vivid style, she discusses her troubled childhood, her struggles with growing into an adult, motherhood, and her personal struggles with mental health and identity. Additionally, she ties in these topics with topics related to Indigenous women, including the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. This memoir is both striking and topical and the perfect read for fans of memoirs.

Book cover of Navigate Your Stars by Jesmyn Ward.

Navigate your Stars by Jesmyn Ward is the perfect book to read for a boost of motivation. Also, at 64 pages, it is the shortest book on our list. It comes from a commencement speech given by Jesmyn Ward in 2018 for Tulane University. Ward speaks on the importance of respect, grit, bonds and the experience of being the first in her family to graduate from college.  Featuring illustrations by Gina Triplett, this book is a beautiful read for anyone hoping to seek some encouragement to continue.

Book Cover of The Bell Jar: A Novel by Sylvia Plath.

Next is The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. This story features Esther Greenwood – a beautiful, successful, and talented college student – who experiences a struggle with depression. In this American classic, Plath draws the reader into Greenwood’s emotional state and make the deepest parts of the mind seem rational and realistic to the reader. This haunting tale is 244 pages and examines gender and mental health in the mid-century.

Book Cover of Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person by Miriam Engelberg

Cancer Made me a Shallower Person Miriam chronicles Miriam Engleberg’s journey dealing with breast cancer and in this heavy but comedic graphic novel memoir. In reckoning with her diagnosis, Engleberg seeks a coping mechanism that she can use to shift her life into focus. While fellow patients make recommendations for hypnotherapy and support groups, the author finds her solace in drawing. Through these drawings, she examines her experience with cancer from top to bottom with a dark humor that deviates from tradition. At 126, this graphic novel is a read that can be finished in day.

Book Cover of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is a book about a shepherd named Santiago. Hailing from Andalusia, the shepherd goes on an adventure that takes him to Egypt in search of a treasure. His story is filled with magic, mysticism, and wisdom that teaches the reader the wisdom in following your heart toward opportunities and listening to the signs the universe provides us to achieve our dreams.  At 182 pages, this read is sure to be a quick boost of inspiration.

Cover of Guerilla Green. Book by Ophelie Damblé and Cookie Kalkair

Last but not least, Guerilla Green teaches readers to invest in our community spaces to cultivate greenery. Written by Cookie Kalkair & Ophélie Damblé, this graphic novel is 176 pages of colorful and unique art mixed with witty storytelling. This book follows non-violent activists as they perform guerilla gardening to bring back green spaces in their concrete jungle of a city. The authors explore the world of the guerilla gardening movement that shares the value of producing sustainable, natural beauty in urban areas. This kind of activism reclaims city spaces, brings together communities, and revitalizes a connection to the natural world one raised bed at a time.


Be sure to try these short reads and tell us what you think! Every one of these titles are available at Oxford College Library for a 28-day loan. Feel free to suggest a short read of your own as well.

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