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31 books you can finish in a month

By Kobo • January 23, 2022Big Ideas

Even the most dedicated bookworms can fall into a reading rut.

Maybe you just didn't click with the last book you tried to read. Or you finished something great and haven’t found the next book to dive into. Or perhaps you need an extra push to walk away from endless doomscrolling and give your mind over to something worthwhile.

Whether you’re already a regular reader just looking for a good book, or you're stuck in a reading slump trying to find the book that helps you get going on a resolution to start reading more, this list is packed full of books that thousands of readers have loved.

And because we believe the best goals are achievable goals, we’ve made sure that an average reader can finish any of these books in a month by reading 15 minutes or less per day*. There’s a mix of true crime, romance, thrillers, biography, long-form journalism, and provocative ideas, each of which is sure to keep you wanting to come back until the very last page is turned.

*There are a few selections we just couldn’t leave out that might take a minute or two more than 15 minutes per day. But we promise they’re worth every second.

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

Using different genres in each chapter—horror, erotica, coming-of-age—Carmen Maria Machado tells the true story of a relationship being eroded by abuse. It’s one of the most innovative memoirs in a long time, and it’s impossible to put down.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 9

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Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Journalist and essayist Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote this book as a letter to his son, to explain to him what it’s going to be like growing up and living as a Black man in America. Coates shares a lot of his own personal experiences, and with unflinching insight he draws a vast picture of a dangerous world.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 6

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When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Paul Kalanithi was on the brink of completing his training as a neurosurgeon when he was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. He died working on this book, which is a profoundly wise and moving meditation on what makes life worth living.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 7

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Mine To Take by Cynthia Eden

Skye Sullivan is certain she’s being stalked. In the hope of finding protection after a mysterious break-in, she reaches out for protection to an old flame, Trace Weston. The question is, who’ll protect Trace from falling for Skye all over again?

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 7

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The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel

Would you believe a man lived alone for 27 years in the woods in Maine—from 1986 to 2013!—not because he hated people but just because he preferred life that way?

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 8

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Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot

A beautiful, poetic memoir about a woman coming of age in an Indigenous community in British Columbia.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 5

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Dezi's Diamond by Dale Mayer

Highly-trained hero-for-hire Dezi needs to protect Diamond, a client whose jewel shipment has been tampered with by mysterious forces who'll stop at nothing to take it all—even if it means taking Diamond’s life.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 9

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Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth

The incredible true story behind the Spike Lee movie about a Black police detective who earns the trust of a member of the Ku Klux Klan over a series of phone calls, ultimately infiltrating the Klan and sabotaging operations and arresting its members.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 8

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The Cowboy Next Door by Trish Milburn

This third installment in Trish Milburn’s Once Upon a Western series is about a woman looking for peace and solitude in Montana after surviving a tragic fire... only to find herself falling for the strapping young man from the next ranch over.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 8

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Home Sweet Murder by James Patterson

Wildly successful thriller writer James Patterson also happens to be a gifted writer of true crime, which he demonstrates in this series of books that spawned the Discovery ID TV series Murder is Forever.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 8

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Cutthroat Cupcakes by Cate Lawley

A delightful culinary mystery where a cake shop owner accused of a witchy crime discovers that she is actually a witch. Did she accidentally curse someone, or did someone use her magic to commit the crime?

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 8

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Expectation by Holly Mortimer

A one-night-stand turns into a major change of life plans when a woman having the adventure of a lifetime in Ireland ends up pregnant by a commitment-phobic doctor.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 8

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Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Maybe you’ve seen the movie; trust us when we say, the book is better. Readers who devoured this 1996 non-fiction account of Chris McCandless’s journey north to Alaska were pulled in by the blurb on the front, which we offer here in full:

In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 11

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The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

An extremely unusual domestic arrangement in which three women married to the same man start to find out who he really is.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 14

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From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle

This memoir by Indigenous scholar Jesse Thistle won Kobo’s Emerging Writer Prize for its heart-wrenching honesty and its gripping story of its authors life on the streets and his struggle to overcome addictions and trauma.

Check out our interview with Jesse Thistle on the Kobo in Conversation podcast.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 14

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The Child in the Photo by Kerry Wilkinson

A woman learns of a child who went missing 30 years ago—who bears a startling resemblance to her. Are her parents hiding something from her?

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 13

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North of Laramie by William W. Johnstone, J.A. Johnstone

Buck Trammell is an ex-Pinkerton agent who struck out west to Kansas, looking for a new life after a case on badly wrong. In this adventure Buck crosses paths with legendary lawman Wyatt Earp—and he’d better get their paths uncrossed quick.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 14

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The Lightkeeper's Daughters by Jean E. Pendziwol

A passionate woman whose vision has failed to the point that she can no longer read or look at art is given her late father’s journals, recovered from a shipwreck. A delinquent teenager sentenced to community service at the woman's retirement home helps her decipher the journals—and discovers that they share a connection.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 13

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

There’s a reason this is considered a modern American classic. Maya Angelou tells the story of her painful, difficult childhood, which she ultimately transcends by learning to love herself and find beauty in the world, especially in books.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 13

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Maid by Stephanie Land

The Netflix series is one thing—but it’s something else to read Stephanie Land’s own words on the energy and ingenuity required (and the shame she endured) just to keep herself and her child out of peril while working as a domestic worker for wealthy American families.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 14

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Wow, No Thank You. by Samantha Irby

Hilarious essayist and screenwriter Samantha Irby has no shortage of lol-inducing stories to tell in this collection.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 14

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The Whistler by John Grisham

In this legal thriller by the master of the genre, an honest lawyer starts pulling on a thread of corruption—and the entire judicial system starts to completely unravel.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 17

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Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

At least Chloe Brown knows she's boring. Fortunately, she has a plan to up her game, and ultimately "get a life." And what a plan it is, minutely described and precisely plotted to the last detail. Probably too complicated to carry out on her own, so she enlists the help of her artist neighbour named Red—and she finds out her new life has even more than she'd planned for.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 15

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Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell turns his curiosity to why we humans misread each other so often—leading to conflict when well-intentioned people don’t see eye to eye, and leading to disasters as significant as WWII when we deem the wrong people trustworthy.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 15

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The Return by Nicholas Sparks

A Navy doctor who himself needs time to recuperate from a devastating injury decides to hide away at his grandfather’s cabin outside a small town. But he’s surprised to find love—and the answers to a mystery.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 15

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Time Is Running Out (DCI Matilda Darke Thriller, Book 7) by Michael Wood

What sounds like a prank phone call turns out to be a warning about a deadly and methodical mass shooter. Is it too late for Detective Darke to stop him?

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 17

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The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

An unforgettable and breathtaking memoir of a loving but dysfunctional family where the kids look after one another and the parents battle their demons when they’re not inspiring the kids to fulfill their tremendous potential.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 16

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The Body in the Snow by Nick Louth

Nick Louth’s DCI Craig GIllard series is modern British crime fiction at its best. In this installment in the series one of Britain’s wealthiest women is murdered brutally in a public park—witnessed by a detective. Gillard picks up the case, and it turns out he’s going to need more than one sterling witness to solve it.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 16

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The Late Show by Michael Connelly

LA crime novelist Connelly kicks off a new series with this story about detective Renée Ballard, a young woman determined to prove her worth on the LAPD.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 16

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The Last Girl by Nadia Murad

Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad, a member of northern Iraq’s Yazidi community, tells the story of how Islamic State militants devastated her village and enslaved many of the women, including herself. She tells the story of how she escaped slavery aided by a Sunni Muslim family who risked their lives to save hers.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 15

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I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

Journalist Michelle McNamara wasn’t convinced that the serial killer she called “the Golden State Killer”--who committed dozens of assaults and ten murders--was truly impossible to identify. She examined police reports and interviewed victims and tragically died before completing her investigation. Then 2 months after the publication of this book, the Golden State Killer was brought to justice.

Read for this many minutes per day to finish in a month: 15

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