It’s difficult to think of the term “summer reading” as a occurring in a sequence: spring reading, summer reading, fall reading, winter reading. What, exactly, would the quintessential spring reading book look like? (A collection of Rod McKuen’s “poetry”?) Or winter reading, for that matter? (Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot?) It’s hard to know. And yet, most people led to the bookstacks could point out a typical beach reading tome: It would be rather hefty; it’s cover would be emblazoned with gold foil and raised lettering; and the story would feature more prominently its antagonist (a vampire or vamp, a murderer or industrialist, a really bad mother) than its protagonist.

Every year, The Independent offers an alternative to the usual beach reading fare. This time around, in deference to the increasing claims on your attention, we’re offering recently released books of approximately 200 pages or fewer, for the concentration-challenged. If, while reading this 170-word introduction, you find your attention wandering, perhaps one of the following books will suit your reading needs this summer.