Best Books Under 200 Pages | TheReviewGeek Recommends

There’s nothing quite like reading a good book; curling up on the sofa and getting lost in the words. Similarly, that wave of satisfaction you get when you finish the last words of a novel are partly what make reading such a joyous hobby.

In our ongoing list celebrating the best books out on the market, our attention turns to the best stories that can be read in an afternoon or two, with less than 200 pages in total.

From literary classics to hidden gems, we’ve gathered all our favourites into one list. Do you agree with our picks? Or feel like we’ve missed a classic? Do feel free to drop us a comment below!

Coraline – Neil Gaiman

Number of pages – 157

Neil Gaiman’s Coraline is a well-written novel that manages to blend light bites of horror with witty comedy. The story is quite straightforward and centers on Coraline, who moves into a new home with her parents. Unfortunately, they’re too busy working to pay much attention to their daughter, who finds a strange old door in the drawing room which leads to an alternate world.

With nods toward both Alice in Wonderland and Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree series, Coraline is a fun read for adults and kids alike.

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Number of pages – 144

Recently adapted into a feature movie, The Great Gatsby is considered to be F. Scott Fitzgerald’s finest novel, and it’s easy to see why. This book takes a look at the Roaring Twenties, delivering a devastating expose of the Jazz Age.

Through the narration of Nick Carraway, we’re whisked back to a superficially glittering world of mansions that line the Long Island shore, where we meet Nick’s cousin Daisy, her brash but wealthy husband Tom Buchanan, along with Jay Gatsby and the mystery that surrounds him.

The Stranger – Albert Camus

Number of pages – 112

Classic literary book The Stranger is a story about an Algerian, Meursault, who commits a murder after attending his mother’s funeral. His understanding of the world, his emotional spectrum, and the absurdities of the time period all combine to form a compelling read.

The story is cleverly divided into two sections, both told from Meursault’s perspective before and after the murder. The two parts combine together beautifully to show the mindset of a conflicted and torn protagonist.

Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

Number of pages – 107

Of Mice and Men has found extraordinary success over the years, not just from being studied in the classroom but also from its Broadway adaptation and three separate films too.

The plot revolves around George and Lennie. George is small and fast while Lennie is very large and has a child-like intellect. The pair have grown to become a makeshift “family”, sticking together through thick and thin. They try to make ends meet, all the while holding onto a dream of one day owning an acre of land and a place they can call home.

The Time Machine – H.G. Wells

Number of pages – 89

The Time Machine is one of the most famous time travel stories – and for good reason too. It still holds up to this day and is generally credited with the popularization of the concept too.

Here, the titular character finds himself traveling backwards and forwards in time, eventually ending up in 802,701 AD where humanity is divided between the bad and the beautiful. It’s simplistic at first glance but the layers of chilling symbology give this a life of its own.

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

Number of pages – 101

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a must-read. It’s a class novel in every sense of the word but it also helps to bring about the idea of being more selfless and kind.

The story centers on Ebenezer Scrooge, a grumpy old man who’s visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, and eventually the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, helping him become a better man.

A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess

Number of pages – 176

Anthony Burgess’ nightmarish vision for the future sees criminals take over after dark. 15 year old teen gang leader Alex narrates in inventive slang echoing the intensity of youth rebelling against society.

When Alex and his gang push their luck too far, Alex finds himself at the mercy of the state and the ministrations of Dr Brodsky, who conducts a mind-altering treatment of the Ludovico Technique, which changes his perspective completely.  This serves as a chilling fable about good and evil, not to mention the meaning of human freedom.

Convenience Store Woman –  Sayaka Murata

Number of pages – 107

Convenience Store Woman is an unconventional novel and takes on an interesting take toward life. 36 year old Keiko is our protagonist and she’s been working in the same supermarket for 18 years. Her family wants her to get a proper job and her friends are baffled as to why she won’t get married. But for Keiko, she knows what makes her happy and won’t let anyone come between her and that.

This is a simple and sparse short story but what it lacks in fast-paced action and thrills, it more than makes up for with a pleasant eye-opening examination of people.

The Hound of the Baskervilles – Arthur Conan Doyle

Number of pages – 125

If you’ve never read a Sherlock Holmes story before, Hound of the Baskervilles is as good as any place to start. The novel is atmospheric and leans into its chilling premise in the best way possible.

The Baskerville family curse relates to a terrifying, supernatural hound that apparently roams the moors around Baskerville Hall and preys on members of the family in revenge for a ghastly crime committed by one of their ancestors.

When Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead in the grounds, a large animal footprint nearby, the locals are convinced that the hound is back. But is this true? Or is there something else going on here? That’s for Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson to find out!

We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson

Number of pages – 176

Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle takes place six years after four members of the Blackwood family have died of arsenic poisoning. The three survivors—elder sister Constance; wheelchair-bound Uncle Julian; and 18-year-old Mary Katherine (Merricat)—live in peaceful solitude.

Merricat devises a set of laws and defensive charms to keep the estate safe from intruding villagers. However, when a stranger appears one day and manages to infiltrate their carefully guarded lives, Merricat resorts to severe measures.

Passing – Nella Larsen

Number of pages – 171

Nella Larsen’s Passing is an important book that looks at race and identity, backdropped by the setting of Harem in the 1920’s.

Irene Redfield is a Black woman living within these times, enjoying a comfortable life with her husband and children. When she reconnects with her childhood friend Clare, Irene discovers that Clare has been passing for a white woman after severing ties to her past – even going so far as to hide the truth from her racist husband. Clare finds herself drawn to Irene, and what follows is a fascinating journey.

The Awakening – Kate Chopin

Number of pages – 170

Set in New Orleans and specifically along the Louisiana Gulf coast at the end of the 19th century, The Awakening recounts the story of Edna Pontellier and her struggle to reconcile with her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood.

The social attitudes of the American South at the time make that a challenge however, as Edna’s journey is one of self-discovery, making it one of the earliest works of feminist literature.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote

Number of pages – 144

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is another classic book, having been adapted to a popular movie back in 1961 and referenced numerous times over the years.

For those unaware, the central protagonist is Holly Golightly, a glittering socialite who’s up all night drinking cocktails and breaking hearts. A shoplifter, a delight, a drifter, a tease; Holly is an icon and the ultimate ode to dreamers.

The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway

Number of pages – 127

The Old Man and the Sea was the last major work of fiction written by Ernest Hemingway, published during his lifetime before passing. Funnily enough, it’s also one of his most famous books.

The Old Man and the Sea tells the story of Santiago, an aging Cuban fisherman who struggles with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Cuba. The tale has similarities to Faulkner’s short story “The Bear” along with the famous “Moby Dick” too.

Animal Farm – George Orwell

Number of pages – 130

Animal Farm is a chilling allegory for when revolutions can go very wrong. The story centers on a group of barnyard animals who revolt against their human master, only to submit to a tyranny from within their own ranks. With an increasing set of rules that devolve further into a dystopian nightmare, George Orwell’s cautionary tale is a must-read.

So there we are, our list of the best books that have under 200 pages. Do you agree with our picks? Or do you think we’ve missed a few classics that deserve a spot? Do let us know in the comments below!

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