Novellas in November

My annual celebration of the publishing industry’s bastard child, the novella. Throughout the month I’ll be reading as many as I can in the hopes of finding a few forgotten gems. Please come along and do the same. Short stories and novels get enough press these days. It’s time to give the middle child some attention.


I started Novellas in November two years ago on another book blog (cleverly titled Another Book Blog) because it may, in fact, be my favourite literary form. To paraphrase Warren Cariou, the novella blends the focus and impact of the short story with the emotional and character development of the novel. It’s the best of both worlds!

Novellas can be read in a single sitting, and yet they’re long enough to take you on a bit of a journey. If you find a really good one (*cough*EthanFrome*cough*), it may just change your reading life.

Regrettably, I wasn’t able to tackle Novellas in November last year, but thankfully the loose ball was picked up by Laura over at Reading In Bed. She’s every bit as into it as I am, so I was incredibly happy to see that she kept it alive in my absence. Now that I’m back, I’m even happier to know that she’s coming along for the ride with me again this year.

My goal each year is to tackle 10 novellas. I’m not quite sure which ones I’m going to be reading just yet, which is great because that lets me gather some advice from much smarter readers than myself. So please, give me some suggestions in the comments! I’m more than happy to explore any genre.

My tentative list, which I’ll whittle down as things get closer to November 1st:

  • Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis
  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • The Hedge Knight by George R. R. Martin
    • And if all goes well, its sequels The Sworn Sword and The Mystery Knight
  • The Burning Man by Tad Williams
  • Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
  • Indomitable by Terry Brooks
  • Shopgirl by Steve Martin
  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
  • The Fifth Child by Dorris Lessing
  • The Suicide Shop by Jean Teule
  • The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan
  • The Wonderful World of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  • The Sojourn by Andrew Krivek
  • The Tenth Man by Graham Green
  • Three Blind Mice by Agatha Christie
  • The Royal Game by Stefan Zweig
  • The Shoebox Bible by Alan Bradley
  • The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy
  • Hatter: A Legend of Wonderland by Daniel Coleman
  • Night by Elie Wiesel
  • The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman

There are so many amazing novellas just waiting to be read! Gah! The only problem with Novellas in November is you simply run out of time. (I suppose we could always just keep reading them at our leisure once December rolls around, but where’s the fun in that?)

Again, suggestions are more than welcome. Or, if you’ve read some of the ones I’ve listed, I’d also love to read your thoughts on those as well. Shout ’em out in the comments.

And please! If you’re up for the challenge, I’d love for you to come along with Laura and me. Whether you blog about it or not, all we want is for people to find a newfound appreciation for the coolest of literary forms. (Laura, if I’m putting words in your mouth, I don’t care.)

Get into it!

Edit: Follow along and spread the word on Twitter by hash tagging your posts with #NovNov

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22 thoughts on “Novellas in November

  1. If you’re wondering what exactly constitutes a novella, you may be frustrated to hear that there isn’t a definitive definition. Some say anything around 30,000 words, some say anything around 50,000, but for our purposes let’s stick to page count. (Who defines books by word count these days anyway?)

    Try to stick to books of 170 pages or less. Once you’re that high, you’re pushing it. Most novellas, though, range between 110 and 150.

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    1. I’ve been pushing it to 200 but absolutely no more. #NovNov on Twitter right? Hopefully do a post in the next week or so.

      This event will be my incentive to finish City on Fire by the end of the month!! Damn thing is like 7 novellas long, will be the death of me…

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  2. Yay! I’m actually planning to jump on board with 3 novellas next month (possibly more if I can find some, I don’t have many on my TBR). Thanks for doing this challenge again. Look forward to seeing what you read, especially Fifteen Dogs (sounds fabulous!)

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      1. I just put holds on 3 from the library: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, A Month in the Country (Carr) and Good Morning, Midnight (Rhys). Should have them in a week or two, just in time! 🙂

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      2. Interested to read your thoughts on Jean Brodie. That book was the reason I started Novellas in November in the first place. And then I ended up strongly disliking it. But it seems very well liked by anyone I know who’s read it. So I’m crossing my fingers for you.

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  3. Hi … found you via eBook classics great to see more novellas getting an airing

    I set up a reading challenge for Novellas in November too #NovellaNov over on my blog

    poppypeacockpens.com

    Got a competition running with a fab giveaway of 1yrs subscription with Peirene Press

    Have have a proper look at your blog tomorrow & comment/contribute where I can.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Inspiring list! I loved The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan (review here: http://stephjb.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-spinning-heart-by-donal-ryan.html) and enjoyed listening to Coraline on audio.

    I just finished a couple of novellas if you’re still up for more suggestions! George’s Grand Tour by Caroline Vermalle is funny and very French (http://stephjb.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/the-ninth-life-by-rose-montague-x-by.html). The Western Lonesome Society by Robert Garner McBrearty is, erm, surreal (http://stephjb.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/the-judas-scar-by-amanda-jennings.html)!

    Liked by 1 person

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