These 11 Gripping Reads Are Ideal For People With Short Attention Spans


Guilty! Yes, having the attention span of a goldfish feels like a common issue these days. What with screen time, phone use, erm, what was I saying? Just kidding but guys, so many people struggle hard with their ability to stay attentive. Reading can be one of the times it's toughest. Do you ever find yourself having to re-read a page time and time again, so frustrated at your progress so much that you might just quit? Well there are lots of books that are good for a short attention span.

What makes a book ideal for those with the attention span of a gnat? There are lots of factors to consider but one of the most important is making sure that what you're reading covers something you have a genuine interest in. Something that speaks to your soul.

Some people, myself included, might have a former life where they were a three-books-a-week bookworm. Then you grow up, get home knackered, and can barely manage watching Love Island with one eye open clutching a glass of cheap wine. In other words, reading is the last thing on your mind.

These books are easy to read, fun to explore, and you know what — before you know it you will be back to your bookwormy ways. If I can do it, you can too.


'Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistlestop Cafe' — Fannie Flagg

Even if you have seen the film, you just have to read the book.

This book is all about two women, who meet under unusual circumstances, and find love through their shared tragedy. Add a splash of mystery and a good dose of girl power and you have a a multi-faceted story you will not be able to put down.

Each chapter is no more than a couple of pages long and keeps you absolutely enthralled from start to finish. Definitely one of my favourite books of all time.

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'Milk & Honey' — Rupi Kaur

A collection of poetry and illustrations that varies from super short to medium long — you could potentially have this read in an afternoon. And that include taking pauses to let waves of emotion wash over you as this incredible woman describes the great trauma of heartbreak.

She discusses themes of silence, abuse, femininity, relationships, and inner power. Read this work and feel earth shattering empathy.

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'I Feel Bad About My Neck & Other Thoughts About Being A Woman' — Nora Ephron

Oh god this woman made me fall back in love with reading. Honestly, she is a genius. Not only does she tell stories like no other, but she is funny AF and speaks the damn truth.

The title of this collection focusses on one essay in which she discusses her fixation on the ageing progression of her neck. She skewers the ridiculousness of women's self criticism and will make you ROFL as well as empathise with genius like this:

"You have to cut open a redwood tree to see how old it is, but you wouldn't have to if it had a neck."

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'Slouching Towards Bethlehem' — Joan Didion

Joan Didion is one of the most incredible journalists to have ever lived. She says it how it is in the most beautiful way and is almost unbearably talented.

This is a great starter essay collection for those unfamiliar with her work. Once you start though, you'll be hooked on her style.

'Slouching Towards Bethlehem' is a choice selection about live in 1960's America and ranges in topic from hippies to murder. It's also an examination of morality in one of the most exciting times in the 20th century. Each essay is filled with insight, her opinions, and of course her Midas writing touch.

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'Period Power' — Maisie Hill

Do you menstruate? Have you menstruated? Do you know anyone who has ever menstruated? Or all of the above? Well prepare to have your mind blown.

It's quite terrifying how little most people know about their inner and outer bits and this book is a really easy to digest look at the menstrual cycle and how to make the hormonal changes that go with it work for you.

Hill discusses the menstrual cycle in seasons and breaks it all down in a wonderfully conversational manner.

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'Me Talk Pretty One Day' — David Sedaris

Oh, how I wish I was your BFF, David Sedaris! This man is a genius and make no mistake. Prepare for a lot of LOLs in perfect bitesize amounts.

Sedaris' observations on life, Americana, and not fitting in are perfect.

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'The Great Gatsby' — F. Scott Fitzgerald

A classic, and even if you've read it, just read it again. It's short, punchy, easy to get lured into. A perfect book.

The Great Gatsby is about love, lies, trying to be somebody, and the fallacies of the American dream.

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'The Fire This Time' — Jesmyn Ward

This is intended to be a modern response to The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin's seminal 1963 essay collection.

The Fire This Time discusses the black experience in contemporary America and includes some of the brightest creative names around. Including Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Jericho Brown, and Carol Anderson.

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'The Diving Bell & The Butterfly' — Jean-Dominique Bauby

This book is as fascinating and beautifully written as it is utterly heartbreaking.

It tells the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, a young healthy, successful French journalist, who, after suffering a stroke, finds himself with locked-in syndrome. It's a short read but one that will stay with you forever.

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'The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat' — Oliver Sacks

In this collection of stories from an expert neurologist, Sacks tells the stories of patients completely in the grip of neurological disorders.

The case studies are of people who have lost the ability to identify things, process memories, recognise people or limbs, and so on.

Although a lot of the stories are utterly heartbreaking, they are told in a very sympathetic manner and will have a lasting impact on you.

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'This Is Going To Hurt' — Adam Kay

These are the hilarious, horrifying, heartbreaking diaries of a former junior doctor, which detail why he chose to leave the profession. It's a laugh-out-loud book with a multitude of rollercoaster rides of emotion. I guess the type that a lot of junior doctors experience in the course of their work. You won't regret reading it.

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So with all these choices, you'll soon find your mind wandering away with books instead of in the opposite direction.