You know the feeling: you sit down to read a new book in your most comfortable chair—and the next minute you're Facebook stalking your third grade teacher. Or playing with the cat. Or the character in your book passes a bakery, and suddenly you're mixing up cupcake batter for everyone on your block. You're not an anti-reading monster, you're just easily distracted. But that's OK, because here are a few books that just might hold your interest, in between reorganizing your spice rack and daydreaming about which superpower you would have.
Look, in a perfect world, we're all having leisurely afternoon tea and diligently working our way through War and Peace for hours on end. But in this very real, very busy world, we're getting distracted by our own thoughts and pouring milk into our orange juice instead of our coffee (I've also gotten distracted and put nail polish remover on my face instead of face wash, so believe me, I get it). But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a good book. Even if long Russian novels can't keep you focused, there are plenty of books out there that can. Here are just a few great books that are perfect for the constantly multi-tasking and the easily distracted:
1'From These Ashes' by Fredric Brown
For easily distracted fans of the weird and science fictional, Fredric Brown is the man for you. His short stories range in length from several pages to just a couple sentences long—you won't have time to get distracted reading his micro flash fiction. And you can easily pick up a random story or two about distant star systems, without having to sit down and read this book from cover to cover.
2'Hyperbole and a Half' by Allie Brosh
If Allie Brosh illustrated all the books out there, I think everyone would find themselves far less distracted while reading. Her MS Paint illustrations are just weird and bright enough to keep your eye on the page, and her humor is off-kilter in all the right ways. Hyperbole and a Half manages to be high energy, hilarious, and a quick read, while also being a candid portrayal of life, depression, and dogs of low mental capabilities.
3'Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)' by Mindy Kaling
I feel like Mindy Kaling gets the whole easily distracted struggle. Her first memoir is both delightfully witty and wonderfully random: she bounces from short essays about her childhood to lists of romantic comedy tropes to selfies she's taken on her Blackberry. Reading this book is like talking to your BFF who also happens to be a famous comedy writer. She's funny, real, and always switching up her format to keep you engaged.
4'Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak: by Writers Famous and Obscure' edited by Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser
It's hard to get distracted while reading a six word memoir. This book combines very brief, entirely true love stories from famous authors and ordinary people alike, collecting them all in this lovely, raw, and often quite clever anthology. Read it straight through or just pick up a sentence or two when you have the chance for a micro dose of heartbreak.
5'Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe' by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe has been confirmed by multiple sources as a stay-up-all-night-until-you-finish-it kind of book. The novel follows angry, bitter Aristotle and loner, know-it-all Dante as they begin to form a connection with each other, which doesn't sound like an all-engrossing plot. But give this book a try, and you'll find yourself completely sucked into the story of these teenage boys and their intertwined lives.
6'And Then There Were None' by Agatha Christie
There's nothing like a mystery novel to make you forget that Candy Crush exists. And Then There Were None is a classic of the mystery genre, and for good reason: an assortment of strangers are invited to a private island by an eccentric millionaire, and now they're being murdered, one by one, in all different ways. Yes, it does sound like the board game Clue, but it'll keep you guessing until the very end.
7'Coffee House Lies: 100 Cups of Flash fiction' by Carly Berg
The fantastically quirky tales in Coffee House Lies range from absurdist to realistic, from melodrama to comedy to steamy, mini romances. These short short stories are easy to pick up and put down at will. They're all very different, and all perfect for commutes, waiting rooms, coffee breaks, and all those other reading opportunities that are also full of distractions.
8'Slaughterhouse-Five' by Kurt Vonnegut
It might be a classic that deals with the heavy themes of war and mortality and the nature of time, but Slaughterhouse-Five is also highly readable. The chapters are short, and Vonnegut's style tends to be dry, humorous, and to the point. His writing doesn't allow for boredom or wandering minds. He'll keep your focus, no matter where you are in the time-space continuum.
9'Sharp Objects' by Gillian Flynn
Reading a good thriller can be disorienting. You sit down to read—and suddenly you're on the last page, tired and dehydrated and realizing that you just missed two days of work. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn is the kind of thriller that sucks you in and doesn't let up, no matter how distractible you think you are. The story follows a reporter who returns home to investigate two murders... and finds a far more complicated puzzle at play behind the scenes.
10'Saga' by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Fiona Staples
Or, if dark psychological thrillers aren't really your thing, pick up a wildly addictive graphic novel like Saga. Set in a far wackier universe than our own, Saga is the story of one ragtag family on the run from a whole universe of weird aliens enemies. It's funny, action-packed, beautifully illustrated, occasionally heartfelt, and utterly impossible to put down.