When I first started to become more intentional about setting aside time to read, I picked out shorter books so I could have some quick wins. This helped boost my confidence as a reader. Finding time to read can feel impossible when you’re juggling work, kids, and all the other demands of daily life. But a few minutes of reading can be a wonderful escape and a great way to unwind. Here are eleven short, engaging books perfect for fitting into tight schedules. These quick reads, each less than 200 pages, will help you recharge and help you to begin a habit of reading.

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The Literary Moms’ Book Club

If you’re looking for additional book recommendations and some accountability to keep up with your reading, consider joining The Literary Moms’ Book Club! It’s a supportive community where busy moms like you can be part of a community of women who are establishing guilt-free me time routines while nurturing a passion for reading in their kids. Whether you’re seeking new genres, hidden gems, or just a bit of encouragement, The Literary Moms’ Book Club offers a friendly space to connect with fellow readers and stay on track with your literary goals.

The Alchemist
by Paulo Coelho

This modern classic is currently on my “to be read” list. It has incredible reviews and is a beautiful and inspiring tale about following your dreams. At just under 200 pages, The Alchemist is a quick read filled with profound insights and a storyline that will keep you hooked. Coelho’s simple yet poetic language makes this book a joy to read, even in short bursts.

Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck

A timeless classic, Of Mice and Men is a short, but powerful novel. I read this story last year with my book club and I really enjoyed our thoughtful conversation that stemmed from the story. Steinbeck’s story of friendship and dreams amid hardship is as moving today as it was when it was first published. It is just over 100 pages, and is a quick read that packs an emotional punch.

Hannah Coulter
by Wendell Berry

Hannah Coulter is one of those books that I haven’t stopped thinking about since I read it two years ago. This poignant novel by Wendell Berry is a reflective look at a life in a small farming community. Berry has the ability to really bring characters to life, and Hannah was someone that I felt like I could connect with. Her lyrical story truly captured the beauty of everyday life, something I try to seek in my own life of picking up toys, playing with my kids, cleaning the house, and sharing messy meals together. At around 200 pages long, it’s a must-have on this quick reads list.

Where Your Treasure Is: Psalms that Summon You from Self to Community
by Eugene Peterson

Eugene Peterson’s exploration of the Psalms is both spiritually nourishing and accessible. I read this book while nursing my daughter because it was light and easy to hold. I also spent some time studying each of the Psalms that he focused on in the book, which was so encouraging to me during that season. This book is perfect for quick, meaningful reading sessions, offering insights that are both profound and practical for everyday life.

by Paul Harding

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Tinkers is a beautiful novel about family, memory, and the passage of time. I read this book with my book club, as well. I remember being unsure of it after I read it on my own, but our conversation as a book club changed my perspective of the story entirely. At just over 190 pages, Harding’s storytelling has stuck with me and it’s a perfect fit for a busy mom.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
by Charlie Mackesy

This beautifully illustrated book is a heartfelt exploration of friendship and life’s simple truths. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is an easy read with short, meaningful passages, perfect for picking up whenever you have a few spare moments. This book also makes a perfect gift for other busy moms!

My Life in Dog Years
by Gary Paulsen

In this charming collection of stories, Gary Paulsen shares the dogs that have impacted his life. My Life in Dog Years is written as a memoir, where Paulsen shares snippets of his life growing up; each story featuring a dog that was a pet or had an important role in his life at the time. I read this book when I was teaching fifth grade. You might recognize Gary Paulsen’s name if you ever read the book Hatchet. I think his story is a perfect fit for anyone who has had a special pet in their life. The short chapters make it easy to read in small chunks, fitting perfectly into a busy mom’s day.

Charlotte’s Web
by E.B. White

Though often considered a children’s book, Charlotte’s Web is a timeless story that adults can enjoy just as much. This beloved classic is about friendship, sacrifice, and the cycles of life, and its brevity makes it a perfect quick read. I shared this story with my son last year and we really enjoyed the time we spent together reading it.

The Old Man and the Sea
by Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway’s classic novella is a tale of resilience and perseverance. The Old Man and the Sea is a short read at about 130 pages, but its themes and vivid storytelling will stay with you long after you’ve finished. My husband asked me to read this book last year after we swapped book recommendations. I had him read The Count of Monte Cristo…not so short…but he loved it!

The Gifts of Imperfection
by Brené Brown

Brené Brown’s guide to embracing vulnerability and living wholeheartedly is a must-read. The Gifts of Imperfection is concise, practical, and filled with wisdom, making it a perfect fit for those seeking personal growth in a limited amount of time. I actually listened to this book on audio, so I could multi-task while still getting the benefits of reading a great book!

Bonus Tip for Busy Moms

To make the most of your reading time, consider carrying a book with you wherever you go. Whether you’re waiting in the carpool line, at the doctor’s office, or during your child’s nap time, those small moments can add up to a significant amount of reading time over the week. And if you prefer, audiobooks are a fantastic alternative for when you’re on the go!

Final Thoughts on Quick Reads

Finding time to read as a busy mom can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. These quick reads are perfect for squeezing into your hectic schedule. They offer a great way to relax, recharge, and enjoy some “me time” without requiring a huge time commitment. I’d love to hear your favorite quick reads in the comments below!