Discover the Best Short Reads: 20 Books Under 200 Pages

Posted on July 1, 2024

by Amy H

For people who “don’t have time to read” or for book clubs who are looking for shorter books, these wonderful short reads are just the thing! These are interesting, easy ways to get back into reading or read outside your usual genre, and all are guaranteed to inspire wonderful discussions. No more excuses, now’s your chance to get reading!

And bonus! If you want to discuss under 200-page  books with other readers, the Library has the perfect book club for you! The Sanger Under 200 Book Club meets on the third Monday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Sanger branch. Learn more at

Book Jacket: Standing Heavy

standing heavy by Gauz

A funny, fast-paced, and poignant novel portrayed through the eyes of three Franco-African security guards in Paris. Black men paid to stand guard, invisible amongst the rich white customers--and yet the only ones who truly see. From Les Grands Moulins and the sales at Camïaeu to a Sephora on the Champs-Élyéses, Ferdinand, Ossiri, and Kassoum seek their way as undocumented workers amidst political bickering from within the ever-changing landscape of French immigration policy. Fast-paced and funny, poignant and sharply satirical, this is a searingly witty deconstruction of colonial legacies and capitalist consumption and an unforgettable, unprecedented account of everything that passes under the security guards' all-seeing eyes.

Book Jacket: The Tusks of Extinction

the tusks of extinction by Ray Nayler

Scientists in Moscow have resurrected the mammoth. But someone must teach these creatures how to be mammoths, or they are doomed to die out again. Dr. Damira Khismatullina, an expert in elephant behavior, was brutally murdered trying to defend the world's last elephants from the deadly ivory trade. Now, her digitized consciousness has been downloaded into the mind of a mammoth. As the herd's new matriarch, can Damira help fend off poachers long enough for the species to take hold? Or will her own ghosts, and Moscow's real reason for bringing the mammoth back, doom them to a new extinction?

Book Jacket: Three Fires

three fires by Denise Mina

Mina delivers a taut imagining of the rise and fall of a religious zealot in late 15th-century Italy. Girolamo Savonarola, a proud monk smarting from rejection and appalled by church corruption, embarks on an increasingly militant moral crusade. It doesn't end well.

Book Jacket: Days at the Morisaki Bookshop

days at the morisaki bookshop by Satoshi Yagisawa

The wise and charming international bestseller about a young woman who loses everything but finds herself--a tale of new beginnings, romantic and family relationships, and the comfort that can be found in books.

Book Jacket: Thornhedge

thornhedge by T. Kingfisher

There's a princess trapped in a tower, but this isn't her story. On the day of her birth, Toadling was stolen from her family by the fairies, but she grew up safe and loved in the warm waters of faerieland. Once grown up though, the fae ask a favor of Toadling: return to the human world and offer a blessing of protection to a newborn child. Simple, right? But nothing with fairies is ever simple. Centuries later, a knight approaches a towering wall of brambles, where the thorns are as thick as your arm and as sharp as swords. He's heard there's a curse here that needs breaking, but it's a curse Toadling will do anything to uphold...

Book Jacket: Emergent Properties

emergent properties by Aimee Ogden

A mystery set in a world where corporations have replaced governments and AIs can be emancipated. A state-of-the-art AI with a talent for asking questions and finding answers, Scorn is nevertheless a parental disappointment. Defying the expectations of zir human mothers who are also CEOs of the world's most powerful corporations, Scorn has made a life of zir own as an investigative reporter, crisscrossing the globe in pursuit of the truth, no matter the danger.

Book Jacket: Wild Girls

wild girls by Tiya Miles

An award-winning historian shows how girls who found self-understanding in the natural world became women who changed America. For these trailblazing women of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, navigating the woods, following the stars, playing sports, and taking to the streets in peaceful protest were not only joyful pursuits, but also techniques to resist assimilation, racism, and sexism. Lyrically written and full of archival discoveries, Wild Girls evokes landscapes as richly as the girls who roamed in them--and argues for equal access to outdoor spaces for young women of every race and class today.

Book Jacket: Black Klansman

black klansman by Ron Stallworth

When detective Ron Stallworth, the first black detective in the history of the Colorado Springs Police Department, comes across a classified ad in the local paper asking for all those interested in joining the Ku Klux Klan to contact a P.O. box, Stallworth responds with interest, posing as a white man. He figures he’ll receive a few brochures in the mail, maybe even a magazine, and learn more about a growing terrorist threat in his community. But then the office phone rings, and the caller asks Ron to join the cause. This is 1978, and the KKK is on the rise in the U.S., preaching a “kinder” Klan that wants nothing more than to preserve a heritage, and to restore a nation to its former glory. Ron launches an audacious undercover investigation, recruiting his partner Chuck to play the "white" Ron Stallworth, while Stallworth himself conducts all subsequent phone conversations. During the months-long investigation, Stallworth sabotages cross burnings, exposes white supremacists in the military, and even befriends Klan leader David Duke. Black Klansman is an amazing true story that reads like a crime thriller, and a searing portrait of a divided America and the extraordinary heroes who dare to fight back.

Book Jacket: Galatea

galatea by Madeline Miller

In ancient Greece, a skilled marble sculptor has been blessed by a goddess who has given his masterpiece--the most beautiful woman the town has ever seen--the gift of life. After marrying her, he expects Galatea to please him, to become obedience and humility personified. But she has desires of her own and yearns for independence. In a desperate bid by her obsessive husband to keep her under control, Galatea is locked away under the constant supervision of doctors and nurses. But with a daughter to rescue, she is determined to break free, whatever the cost . . .

Book Jacket: Love & Saffron

love & saffron by Kim Fay

Creamy risotto alla Milanese. Mussels in a hot, buttery broth. Chicken spiced with cinnamon and cloves. Young Joan Bergstrom is just discovering herself as a food writer in bustling Los Angeles, while experienced columnist Imogen Fortier is settled in her decades-long marriage on Camano Island outside Seattle. When Joan sends a fan letter to Imogen with an enclosed packet of saffron and a recipe, their journey of culinary exploration and soul-deep friendship begins. A long-lost flavor surfaces buried memories, and a quest to make the perfect dish opens the doors of a sheltered life. Into this beautiful, intimate world comes the ultimate test of their friendship, and of their belief that food and love can sustain us during our darkest hours.

Book Jacket: The Pole

the pole by J. M. Coetzee

Wittold, a vigorous, extravagantly white-haired pianist becomes infatuated with Beatriz, a stylish patron of the arts. Although Beatriz, a married woman, is initially unimpressed by Wittold, she soon finds herself pursued and swept into his world. The power struggle between them intensifies, eventually escalating into a full-fledged battle of the sexes. Reinventing the all-encompassing love of the poet Dante for his Beatrice, Coetzee exposes the fundamentally enigmatic nature of romance, showing how a chance meeting between strangers can suddenly change everything.

Book Jacket: Another Brooklyn

another brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

For August, running into a long-ago friend sets in motion resonant memories and transports her to a time and a place she thought she had mislaid: 1970s Brooklyn, where friendship was everything. Best friends August, Sylvia, Angela, and Gigi shared confidences as they ambled their neighborhood streets, a place where the girls believed that they were amazingly beautiful, brilliantly talented, with a future that belonged to them. But beneath the hopeful promise there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for girls in dark hallways, where mothers disappeared, where fathers found religion, and where madness was a mere sunset away. Woodson illuminates the formative period when a child meets adulthood -- when innocence meets the all-too-real perils of growing up.

Book Jacket: Small Things Like These

small things like these by Claire Keegan

It is Christmastime, 1985 in a small Irish town. Coal merchant Bill Furlong, a devout father of five daughters knows that he is more fortunate than most. Bill's success, however, was far from assured. Born to an unwed domestic-worker mother, his modest upbringing was the result of her employer's kindness. During an early morning delivery, Bill discovers a young woman, cold and filthy, locked in a coal shed behind the local convent. Through her story, Keegan deftly reveals the pernicious complicity behind Ireland's Magdalene Laundries and their part in the tragic history of the abuse of young women by the Irish Catholic church. Bill's upbringing amplifies his conflicted nature and requires him to choose between traditional acquiescence and responsive conscience as he ponders the cost of remaining silent.

Book Jacket: Sleep Donation

sleep donation by Karen Russell

Trish Edgewater is Slumber Corps' top recruiter, always able to get even the most reluctant healthy dreamer to donate sleep to an insomniac in crisis--one of hundreds of thousands of people who have totally lost the ability to sleep. Trish cries, she cajoles, she shows potential donors a picture of her deceased sister, Dori: one of the first victims of the lethal insomnia plague that has swept the globe. Run by the wealthy and enigmatic Storch brothers, the Slumber Corps is at the forefront of the fight against this deadly new disease. But when Trish is confronted by "Baby A," the first universal sleep donor, and the mysterious "Donor Y," whose horrific infectious nightmares are threatening to sweep through the precious sleep supply, her faith in the organization and in her own motives begins to falter.

Book Jacket: Edie Richter Is Not Alone

edie richter is not alone by Rebecca Handler

Funny, acerbic Edie Richter is moving with her husband from San Francisco to Perth, Australia. She leaves behind a sister and mother still mourning the recent death of her father. Before the move, Edie and her husband were content, if socially awkward, with a disinclination for small talk. In Perth, Edie finds herself in an isolated corner of the world with new neighbors eager to learn about her. Edie has a secret she is desperate to keep: she committed an unthinkable act that she can barely admit to herself. In some ways, the landscape mirrors her own complicated inner life, and rather than escaping her past, Edie is increasingly forced to confront what she's done. Everybody, from the wildlife to her new neighbors, is keen to engage, and Edie does her best to start fresh. But her relationship with her husband is fraying, and the beautiful memories of her father are heartbreaking, and impossible to stop. Something, in the end, has to give.

Book Jacket: World of Wonders

world of wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

As a child, Nezhukumatathil called many places home: the grounds of a Kansas mental institution, where her Filipina mother was a doctor; the open skies and tall mountains of Arizona, where she hiked with her Indian father; and the chillier climes of western New York and Ohio. But no matter where she was transplanted-no matter how awkward the fit or forbidding the landscape-she was able to turn to our world’s fierce and funny creatures for guidance. The axolotl teaches us to smile, even in the face of unkindness; the touch-me-not plant shows us how to shake off unwanted advances; the narwhal demonstrates how to survive in hostile environments. Even in the strange and the unlovely, Nezhukumatathil finds beauty and kinship. For it is this way with wonder: it requires that we are curious enough to look past the distractions in order to fully appreciate the world’s gifts.

Book Jacket: Convenience Store Woman

convenience store woman by Sayaka Murata

A Japanese woman who has been working at a convenience store for 18 years, much to the disappointment of her family, finds friendship with an alienated, cynical and bitter young man who becomes her coworker. A brilliant depiction of an unusual psyche and a world hidden from view, this novel is an ironic and sharp-eyed look at contemporary work culture and the pressures to conform, as well as a charming and completely fresh portrait of an unforgettable heroine.

Book Jacket: Infinite Country

infinite country by Patricia Engel

Talia is being held at a correctional facility for adolescent girls in the forested mountains of Colombia after committing an impulsive act of violence that may or may not have been warranted. She urgently needs to get out and get back home to Bogotá, where her father and a plane ticket to the United States are waiting for her. If she misses her flight, she might also miss her chance to finally be reunited with her family in the north. How this family came to occupy two different countries, two different worlds, comes into focus like twists of a kaleidoscope. We see Talia's parents, Mauro and Elena, fall in love in a market stall as teenagers against a backdrop of civil war and social unrest. We see them leave Bogotá with their firstborn, Karina, in pursuit of safety and opportunity in the United States on a temporary visa, and we see the births of two more children, Nando and Talia, on American soil. We witness the decisions and indecisions that lead to Mauro's deportation and the family's splintering, and the costs they've all been living with ever since.

Book Jacket: The Stranger in the Woods

the stranger in the woods by Michael Finkel

In 1986, twenty-year-old Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the woods. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even in winter, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store food and water, to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothes, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed, but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. A riveting story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.

Book Jacket: And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer

and every morning the way home gets longer and longer by Fredrik Backman

An exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man's struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family's efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go. "Isn't that the best of all life's ages," an old man thinks as he looks at his grandchild, "when a boy is just big enough to know how the world works but still young enough to refuse to accept it." Grandpa and Noah are sitting on a bench in a square, telling jokes and discussing their shared love of mathematics. Grandpa recalls what it was like to fall in love with his wife, what it was like to lose her. Sometimes Grandpa sits on the bench next to Ted, Noah's father--Ted who never liked math, prefers writing and playing guitar, and has waited his entire life for his father to have time for him, to accept him. But in their love of Noah, they have found a common bond. Grandpa, Grandma, Ted, and Noah all meet here, in this peculiar space that is growing dimmer and more confusing all the time. And here is where they will learn to say goodbye, with the scent of hyacinths in the air, and nothing to fear. This is a little book with a big message.

Did you like this blog post? Keep up to date with all of our posts by subscribing to the Library’s newsletters!

Keep your reading list updated with our book lists. Our staff love to read and they’ll give you the scoop on new tv-series inspired titles, hobbies, educational resources, pop culture, current events, and more!

Looking for more great titles? Get personalized recommendations from our librarians with this simple form.