Every month, Page Advice columnists Mallory O’Meara and Brea Grant will offer commentary and answer reader questions to help improve your reading life.

Kate M. asks: I struggle with fantasy because of all the lengthy series. Reading them takes—ugh!—time. Any recommendations for a single fantasy book? Or even just a trilogy?

Mallory: Kate, I feel you! I have this exact problem. I’m very commitment-shy when it comes to book series. When your TBR stack is massive and starting to have its own gravitational pull, it is tough to commit yourself to a long book series, even if it has dragons or sexy elves in it. Or sexy dragons, I guess. There are so many other books to read! Long series can make you feel stuck.

Brea: Totally. You don’t necessarily want to dig into Justin Cronin’s The Passage for 1000 pages … times three. It’s overwhelming, and you have to learn all the characters and their back stories, and who has time when we are all still trying to figure out the storylines on Game of Thrones? (The TV show, but I guess it’s relevant to the book, too.)

Mallory: There are a lot of genre series made up of books that can stand alone. I suggest checking some of these out! This takes a lot of the pressure off of picking them up and if you’re a series-commitment-phobe like me, makes them easier to read. My favorite of these is the Zamonia series by Walter Moer. Each book takes place in the world of Zamonia, but they all stand alone and do not have to be read in order. The Zamonia books are as if Douglas Adams wrote fantasy. They’re hilarious and bonusillustrated by the author! My go-to recommendation for a standalone fantasy book is The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. It’s weird modern fantasy withheads up!a few horror elements. If that doesn’t sound like what you’re looking for, try East by Edith Pattou. It’s a beautiful YA fantasy novel that’s easy to read and lovely to get lost in.

Brea: My suggestion is to not worry about reading the epic fantasy series of the past and to start with a new one. New ones launch every year, and you can be a person who gets in at the beginning. Think of the bragging rights! That way you don’t look ahead and see the next seven books you have to read and feel overwhelmed. You can read the series as the author puts it out, and if you decide you don’t like the book, you can quit any time. And once they turn it into the next Game of Thrones, you can be the smarty-pants who can say “It was better in the book!” (See? I knew the Game of Thrones reference would be relevant.)

Here are a few new fantasy books that recently came out and are the first in their seriesa magical adventure into a patriarchal land called The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan, or a different fantasy adventure involving giants called A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne. If you want something a little shorter and easier to tackle, Tor just released two novellas in the same fantasy universe called The Black Tides of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune by J.Y. Yang. Those are quick to get through and you can feel like you completed a series!

Mallory: So you get all the satisfaction without the commitment! The bookish version of a hot hookup and you don’t even have to download Tinder.

Would you like to have Mallory and Brea help with some Page Advice? Tweet your question to @ReadingGPodcast with the hashtag #pageadvice, and you might be featured in a future column!