Being able to devour a book a week is a normal activity for some, but an impossibility for others. Some people happily take months to finish one novel. However you read, it’s important to remember that it’s not a race. The most important part of reading is your personal enjoyment of it. For those who find it tough to dig into their ever growing book pile, or want to join in book discussions but don’t know where to start, we’ve put together a list of brilliant easy read books for adults.
This list focuses on fiction, but watch this space for more! Whether it’s time constraints, difficulties reading, or just been ages since you’ve picked up a book, we’ve got the best recommendations of easy reads to foster a love for fiction, and build a habit out of reading.
1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer
It’s January, 1946, and writer Juliet Ashton sits at her desk, vainly seeking a subject for her next book. She receives a letter from one Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – by chance, he’s acquired a secondhand book that once belonged to Juliet – they begin a correspondence. When Dawsey reveals that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Juliet’s curiosity is piqued. It’s not long before she begins to hear from the other members.
As the letters fly back and forth with stories of life in Guernsey under the German Occupation, Juliet soon realises that the society is every bit as extraordinary as its name. Sustained by books and one another, the islanders have battled the bitter hardships of World War II. Juliet, entranced by their stories and their spirit, decides to visit Guernsey to meet her new friends properly.
An epistolary novel (written in the form of letters), The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a story full of character that is both heart-warming and heart-wrenching. Though the subject matter is difficult to stomach at times, with some vivid descriptions of the German occupancy including treatment in concentration camps, the narratives are easy to navigate for any kind of reader.
If you want to dive head-first into an unforgettable historical fiction novel that is still an easy read, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’ beautiful book of friendship through correspondence is a great place to begin.
2. The Flatshare – Beth O’Leary
Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…
Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution. Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.
But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…
Hugely celebrated by the biggest names in contemporary fiction, Beth O’Leary’s curious tale has been doing the rounds in book clubs all over for the last two years. A perfect novel to get your foot into the door of the ever-growing popular fiction genre, The Flat Share is one of those books that you’ll be talking about with your family, friends, and colleagues for quite some time.
An easy read with a comfortable flow of storytelling, this book is accessible for those who want a story full of surprises without wading through tricky plots devices or complicated time frames.
3. My Sister, the Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite
When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away.
She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back. But to save one would mean sacrificing the other.
Perfect for those who love dark humour, Braithwaite’s highly acclaimed novel is a great way to get back into reading. A contemporary and literary text dealing with thrilling crime as well as family drama, My Sister, The Serial Killer is an easy read for adults that will have even the most infrequent readers engrossed from the very first page. Crime thrillers as a genre are often more accessible reads as the plot takes priority. We recommend checking out other fantastic crime thrillers after this one!
4. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Through the eyes of the Finch children, author Harper Lee examines the ignorance and wrongness of racism, and how adults can act irrationally towards those who are different from them with no real motivation for doing so.
As Finch struggles to protect Tom Robinson and clear his name, the deep-rooted racism and classist attitudes of the town become ever more apparent through their hypocritical and often violent reactions.
With themes of moral complexity, racism, education, innocence, and prejudice, To Kill A Mockingbird is part historical drama, part anti-racist novel, and part coming of age story all rolled into one.
Probably one of the most read texts of the 20th century, To Kill A Mockingbird is loved by generations. However, due to its reoccurrence on school curriculums, some people avoid the book like the plague. Fortunately, I’m here to tell you that it’s not a difficult or taxing read at all. In fact, it’s almost a rite of passage for any reader, new or old, to read this compact tale of justice, race relations, and hope.
Written in the narrative of 13-year-old Scout Finch, the reader gets to experience the events of the book through a child’s eyes. This not only makes it an easy read despite the subject matter, but it also allows for a renewed sense of naivety, as we navigate the world alongside the young characters.
5. The Night She Disappeared – Lisa Jewell
Midsummer 2017: teenage mum Tallulah heads out on a date, leaving her baby son at home with her mother, Kim. At 11p.m. she sends her mum a text message. At 4.30 a.m. Kim awakens to discover that Tallulah has not come home.
Friends tell her that Tallulah was last seen heading to a pool party at a house in the woods nearby called Dark Place.
Tallulah never returns.
2018: walking in the woods behind the boarding school where her boyfriend has just started as a headteacher, Sophie sees a sign nailed to a fence.
A sign that says: DIG HERE.
Lisa Jewell is royalty when it comes to contemporary thriller writing. However, even those who aren’t particularly interested in thrillers and crime fiction as genres find a spark in her novels that keep them coming back. The Night She Disappeared is perfect for people who are avid binge-watchers and delight in decoding mysteries and cracking cases.
With a slightly more taxing narrative featuring three interwoven timelines, this novel is best suited to people new readers who have a bit of time on their hands to spend reading the book. But once you’re in, the story itself will unravel to ensure you’re never left feeling lost and certainly never bored. Any of Jewell’s thrillers are fantastic reads for people who want to experience the joy of ‘devouring’ a book.
6. The Girl With All The Gifts – M. R. Carey
Not every gift is a blessing.
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh.
Melanie is a very special girl.
A thriller and a fantasy story rolled into one stunning novel, The Girl With All The Gifts makes a lasting impact on all its readers. M. R. Carey is both a novelist, a comic writer, and a screenwriter. He has written for DC Comics including Lucifer and his own comic The Unwritten, as well as being a key contributor to Marvel’s X-Men comic series.
His expertise in writing fast-paced plots with engaging characters and striking dialogue come together in this haunting read. An ideal novel for comic lovers who want to branch into modern fiction, this easy read packs all the punch of an action thriller, keeping readers engaged on every page.
7. Orangeboy – Patrice Lawrence
‘Not cool enough, not clever enough, not street enough for anyone to notice me. I was the kid people looked straight through.
Not anymore. Not since Mr Orange.’
Sixteen-year-old Marlon has made his mum a promise – he’ll never follow his big brother, Andre, down the wrong path. So far, it’s been easy, but when a date ends in tragedy, Marlon finds himself hunted. They’re after the mysterious Mr Orange, and they’re going to use Marlon to get to him. Marlon’s out of choices – can he become the person he never wanted to be, to protect everyone he loves?
An ideal book for young adults, but equally enjoyed by all adults, Patrice Lawrence’s Orangeboy has been celebrated by the likes of internationally best-selling author Malorie Blackman. With a story that captures the heart and characters with relatable life experiences for many young people, this book opens up literature to a wider audience.
With short chapters and dialogue heavily prose, Lawrence presents a story perfect for easy reading on the go and enjoying in smaller nuggets of time. Ideal for those whose focus comes in short bursts, this easy read fiction book is a great way to experience excellent storytelling and reignite a love for reading.
8. Life of Pi – Yann Martel
After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, one solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The crew of the surviving vessel consists of a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orangutan, a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger, and Pi – a 16-year-old Indian boy.
The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary pieces of literary fiction of recent years. Yann Martel’s Life of Pi is a transformative novel, a dazzling work of imagination that will delight and astound readers in equal measure. It is a triumph of storytelling and a tale that will, as one character puts it, make you believe in God.
There are few people in the world who haven’t heard of this epic bestseller! It’s a book that everyone was talking about, but you’re probably not sure what even happens beyond ‘a boy and a tiger on a boat.’ Well, you don’t need to feel stranded on this one. Life of Pi is an easy read. The story is neatly packed and incredibly fast-paced, so it’s one that you can get through fairly quickly, but also gives you the chance to take you time to digest all the unexpected events.
Having been adapted into a major motion picture, and an incredible puppetry stage show, this really is a story that keeps on giving. It’s also a great entry into light magical realism and philosophical fiction.
9. Ordinary People – Diana Evans
Two couples find themselves at a moment of reckoning. Melissa has a new baby and doesn’t want to let it change her. Damian has lost his father and intends not to let it get to him. Michael is still in love with Melissa but can’t quite get close enough to her to stay faithful. Stephanie just wants to live a normal, happy life on the commuter belt with Damian and their three children but his bereavement is getting in the way.
Set in London to an exhilarating soundtrack, Ordinary People is an intimate study of identity and parenthood, sex and grief, friendship and ageing, and the fragile architecture of love.
The brilliant Diana Evans’ released this multi-award-winning novel in 2019; it continues to top bestseller lists and is a popular book club pick. A drama exploring love and life in the modern age, it is a relatable read for a lot of people who are at a turning point in their lives, from just gaining independence to starting families.
A tale of multiple stories that interweave unpredictably, this book gives all the drama and intrigue to keep the readers on their toes, while still maintaining an easy narrative that’s not complicated to follow. Lovers of Dolly Alderton, Elizabeth Day, and Sally Rooney need to read Ordinary People to expand their repertoire of amazing contemporary women writers.
10. A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness
Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.
A popular tale for children and adults, A Monster Calls takes its readers on an unexpected trip around the process of grief and the courage of living. As with most young adult novels, this book explores deep themes and questions in life that dig down to the very core of what it is to be human. An adult reader who’s returning to literature will find this book is a real gem. It’s easy to read but leaves you with questions you might be asking about your own life by the end.
In 2016, the book was adapted into a film of the same name starring Liam Neeson and Sigourney Weaver. Despite being a wonderous watch, we do of course recommend reading the book first!
From classic fiction to exciting memoirs, explore more brilliant books to rediscover reading. Browse our dedicated page for quick and easy reads. Are you a keen reader but can’t keep up with the most talked-about titles? Check out our constantly changing selection of books trending right now.
Have you read any of these easy reads? What books do you recommend for beginners or those trying to return to reading? Let us know in the comments below.