8 Short Books to Get Your New Year’s Reading Resolutions Off to a Great Start

A few quick new reads definitely worth TBR-ing this year.

Every New Year provides an opportunity for a clean slate and resolutions. From diets and workouts to traveling and reading, it is easy to fall behind on our goals before January has even ended.

If you are shooting for double digits on your Goodreads’ Reading Challenge this year, you might want to include a few short reads to stay on top of your goal. So to help you out with that, here are eight new releases less than 300 pages to keep your reading resolutions in check this year.

All of the books cited in this post may be made available for purchase by clicking on its cover.
The synopses in this post were provided courtesy of Amazon and Goodreads.

Swearing Is Good for You Best Short Books for Reading Resolutions 2018

1. Swearing Is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language, Emma Byrne

Page count: 240

Synopsis: In a sparkling debut in the entertaining pop science vein of Mary Roach, scientist Emma Byrne examines the latest research to show how swearing can be good for you. She reveals how swearing has been around since the earliest humans began to communicate and has been shown to reduce physical pain, to lower anxiety, to prevent physical violence, to help trauma victims recover language, and to promote human cooperation.

Why pick it up? If one of your goals was to swear off swearing for 2018, you might just rethink that resolution after reading Emma Byrne’s latest book. Full of scientific studies and historical accounts, this read seems not only manageable but hilariously reassuring.

Escape From Aleppo Best Short Books for Reading Resolutions 2018
2. Escape from Aleppo, N.H. Senzai

Page count: 256

Synopsis: It is December 17, 2010: Nadia’s twelfth birthday and the beginning of the Arab Spring. Soon anti-government protests erupt across the Middle East and, one by one, countries are thrown into turmoil. As civil war flares in Syria and bombs fall across Nadia’s home city of Aleppo, her family decides to flee to safety. Inspired by current events, this novel sheds light on the complicated situation in Syria that has led to an international refugee crisis, and tells the story of one girl’s journey to safety.

Why pick it up? Even though it is listed as a children’s book, I find it’s often the stories told through the eyes of younger characters that are the most compelling. If you enjoyed Elie Wiesel’s Night and John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, then this story just might be for you.

So You Want to Talk About Race Best Short Books for Reading Resolutions 2018
3. So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo

Page count: 256

Synopsis: Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions readers don’t dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.

Why pick it up? Though this one isn’t quite specific to non-people of color, it is definitely a guide to understanding the concept of white privilege, cultural appropriation, and other subjects essential to dismantling racism and being an ally.

The Sun and Her Flowers Best Short Books for Reading Resolutions 2018
4. The Sun and Her Flowers, Rupi Kaur

Page count: 256

Synopsis: From Rupi Kaur, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of “milk and honey,” comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. A vibrant and transcendent journey about growth and healing. Ancestry and honoring one’s roots. Expatriation and rising up to find a home within yourself.

Why pick it up? Who says poetry does not count as reading? Rupi Kaur’s latest collection of poems will be just as enjoyable to read as they are easy.

When They Call You a Terrorist Best Short Books for Reading Resolutions 2018
5. When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Asha Bandele

Page count: 272

Synopsis: From one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement comes a poetic memoir and reflection on humanity. Necessary and timely, Patrisse Cullors’ story asks us to remember that protest in the interest of the most vulnerable comes from love.

Why pick it up? There is no doubt that the Black Lives Matter Movement will be documented in the history books in the years to come. While there are differing opinions on the motivations behind the movement, one might develop a different understanding of the cause after reading this memoir of first-hand accounts.

Love Hate and Other Filters Best Short Books for Reading Resolutions 2018
6. Love, Hate & Other Filters, Samira Ahmed

Page count: 288

Synopsis: A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape–perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Adam Silvera.

Why pick it up? Told through the perspective of a young Muslim girl, this story is a refreshing choice for readers of the young adult genre.

Jefferson's Daughers Best Short Books for Reading Resolutions 2018
7. Jefferson’s Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America, Catherine Kerrison

Page count: 288

Synopsis: Thomas Jefferson fathered three girls: two white and free, one black and a slave. This book about Martha, Maria, and Harriet tells the fascinating story of their very different lives at Monticello and beyond, as daughters of one of our most brilliant and complicated Founding Fathers.

Why pick it up? This historical account will be interesting not only for its look into the contrasting lives of Jefferson’s daughters but also for its illustration of the differences in privileges between white and black men and women alike.

A State of Freedom Best Short Books for Reading Resolutions 2018
8. A State of Freedom, Neel Mukherjee

Page count: 288

Synopsis: Can we transform the possibilities we are born into? “A State of Freedom” wrests open the central, defining events of our century: displacement and migration. Five characters in very different circumstances—from a domestic cook in Mumbai to a vagrant and his dancing bear—find the meanings of dislocation and the desire to get more out of life.

Why pick it up? The overlapping and interconnecting stories in this rousing novel will be sure to keep any reader’s attention.

Which quick reads do you rely on to get your reading goals off to a good start?
Share some of them with us in the comments below!
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Rebecca Sterkel
the authorRebecca Sterkel
Book Contributor (Intern)
A self-proclaimed hermit and lover of literature, Rebecca is a graduate from the University of Oklahoma, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in classical studies. While there, she worked for the campus newspaper and interned with magazines like World Literature Today and Oklahoma Today. When she is not reading, she is usually following "Game of Thrones" theories, exploring bookstores with her beau, or pinning recipes and travel itineraries. Favorite Books: "The Count of Monte Cristo," "The Kite Runner," and, of course, "The Iliad."