8 Books to Read for People with Short Attention Spans

Updated: March 2018

Often when commuting I look over at books other people are reading, look them up to see what they’re about, and see if they’re available on Amazon Prime for next day delivery.

The problem is finishing each of the books. My halfhearted research often leads to lack of commitment, and ultimately I get bored.
Because of my lack of an attention span, I wanted to look into books that could be finished in a few hours. From recommendations and other blogs I’ve read, I’ve collated a collection of short books (less than 4 hours) for people who are easily distracted like me.


1. Animal Farm
by George Orwell – 34 pages

According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then on into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union. Buy on Amazon here.


2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams – 224 pages

First a radio series, then a bestselling book, now a blockbuster movie, this famous book is worth a read at just over 200 pages. Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is creative & witty in the style of a non digital Wikipedia (Encyclopaedia to some). Buy on Amazon here.


3. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon – 144 pages

A New York times bestseller, Kleon states no artist’s work is ever completely original, and that trying to be completely original will daunt an artist and eventually smothers creativity. ‘Embrace the inevitability of influence, to celebrate living outside of a vacuum, to relax, and have fun with art’. Short at only 144 pages and offer tips on how to stay focused, upbeat, and be receptive to incoming inspiration. Buy on Amazon here.


4. Sherlock Holmes: The Ultimate Collection by Arthur Conan Doyle – 113 pages

Probably more aware of his portrayal on TV or film as Benedict Cumberbatch/Robert Downey Jnr, you know who he is. This version is available on Kindle or on a Kindle app with all four novels and fifty-six short stories starring Sherlock Holmes, in order and unabridged. Plus only 99p on, you’ve guessed it, Amazon here.


5. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe – 209 pages

The novel follows the life of Okonkwo, an Igbo (“Ibo” in the novel) leader and local wrestling champion in the fictional Nigerian village of Umuofia. The work is split into three parts, the first describing his family and personal history, the customs and society of the Igbo, and the second and third sections introduce the influence of British colonialism and Christian missionaries on the Igbo community. Buy here on Amazon.


6. Sula
by Toni Morrison – 192 pages

1973 novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison. It looks at the lives of two black heroines from their close childhood in small Ohio town, through to their sharply divergent paths growing up, leading to their final confrontation and reconciliation. Short, interesting read.


7. The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald – 180 pages

An all-time classic thats less than 200 pages long. Read in schools by most, included here because of its writing style and descriptive ease. Give it a read old sport.


8. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton – 96 pages (depending on edition)

Ethan Frome is a farmer trying to scrape a living while also tending to his ungrateful wife Zeena. A ray of hope enters his miserable existence when his wife’s cousin arrives to help, who he falls in love with. Powerful tale with compelling characters trapped in circumstances they seem unable to escape. Fitting with so many modern parallels considering it was published in 1911. Worth a read for the romantic cynics among us. Available here on Amazon.

I’ve definitely missed out a handful of books, please let me know your recommendations below.

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