Conquer Your Reading Challenge

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Conquer Your Reading Challenge

Books under 200 pages

If you’re someone who likes to take on the annual Goodreads Reading Challenge but didn’t have as much time as you’d anticipated to read this year, you might be a bit nervous about reaching your goal before the clock strikes midnight at the end of the month. Fear not! It’s time to frontload short books to your to-be-read list and conquer your reading challenge. Below, find eight books under 200 pages for all kinds of readers to help you on your journey. And even if you don’t make your goal, chin up -- you read this year, and that’s awesome.

Disclaimer: Some of these books may be slightly over 200 pages depending on the edition.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (52 pages)
From the author of Americanah comes a meditation on the need for feminism globally. Adichie lays out a succinct argument for the advocacy of women’s rights, taking special care to note the particular benefit of feminist men. Speaking from her experiences growing up in Nigeria, Adichie comments on gender roles, violence against women and more. The book is adapted from Adichie’s “We Should All Be Feminists” TED Talk and is a solid primer as an introduction to gender and women’s studies.

In Conclusion, Don’t Worry about It by Lauren Graham (52 pages)
First delivered in part as a graduation speech at Graham’s alma mater of Langley High School in McLean, Virginia, this essay offers advice to anyone entering a new phase of their life and gives anyone plenty of material to think about. Graham writes with her signature snappy sense of humor and accompanies the text with her own illustrations. Read this one for a pick-me-up in the doldrums of cold weather to be reminded: don’t worry about it.

We Speak Your Names: A Celebration by Pearl Cleage (64 pages)
Written as a response to an event hosted by Oprah Winfrey, We Speak Your Names celebrates, in poetry, the contributions and extraordinary lives of black women throughout history. Readers will find many familiar names alongside names perhaps not as well known. Powerful and uplifting, this small collection will inspire readers to consider their own heroes and the oft-overlooked women of color in American history.

The Clothing of Books by Jhumpa Lahiri (74 pages)
Originally a speech delivered at the Festival degli Scrittori in Florence, The Clothing of Books contemplates the relationship between book covers and the text they represent. Lahiri reveals how she despises some of her books’ covers while discussing the impact a jacket can have on the reader’s expectations and perceptions of a book. This book is a nice little piece of insider baseball for book lovers of all kinds and may inspire further research on its topic.

Illyria by Elizabeth Hand (135 pages)
Descended from a long line of actors, Madeleine and Rogan take the term “kissing cousins” to its literal meaning as the pair experience growing up together in the shadow of their ancestors. Cast in a production of Twelfth Night, Madeleine and Rogan face diverging paths. With a voice that is as lyrical as it is unique, Illyria is a novel that won’t soon leave your mind once turning the final page.

Book Love by Debbie Tung (137 pages)
Comics and graphic novels are often great selections when trying to round out your reading goal for the year. Another great pick for book lovers, Book Love details in a series of short comics the life of the literarily-inclined. Debbie Tung depicts herself in various scenarios that illustrate her own love of books in adorable and inky black and white drawings. Each page will have you shouting, “Hey, that’s me!”

The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott (177 pages)
Although sometimes cataloged as a juvenile novel, Louisa May Alcott’s The Inheritance finds fans of all ages. Fans of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and Jane Austen’s work will find this short novel to be both thoughtful commentary of the society in which Alcott lived and genuinely amusing as her characters involve themselves in a tangled web around an inheritance. Sometimes referred to as “Jo’s book” for fans of Little Women who yearned to read that which Alcott’s most famous March sister wrote, The Inheritance introduces readers to the impoverished Edith who uses her beauty to secure a place in a family -- but there’s more to Edith than meets the eye and a romance may bring all their lives tumbling down. 

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer (195 pages)
After a number of seemingly failed missions to a place known as Area X, an all-women voyage takes another journey to examine and document the strange phenomenon encroaching on the southeastern United States. Faced with unusual biological beings and events, the four women must determine the best path of action and whether to trust each other -- or those who sent them on their quest. As the unnamed narrator ventures deeper into Area X, she must also decide between her instincts and her training when her life is on the line.

No time to read? Don’t forget -- audiobooks count if you say they do! Check out our audio offerings in our goDigital collection.