Now I know that I said a few days ago that I wouldn’t be joining in any more challenges but rules are made for breaking aren’t they? I saw on Lizzy’s blog that she was joining in with Bibliophiles “The November Novella Challenge” and the temptation to read a selection of books I wouldn’t normally reach out for, though I have now found I have read quite a few unwittingly, seemed too great and so before I knew it I had signed up. Before I went gaily whizzing off into the internet ether or ran full blaze to the local charity shops in the hunt, which is what I would normally do, I stopped and did some research instead.
I really wanted to know how long a novella actually is and unhelpfully Wikipedia only gives you the length in words. I don’t know about you but I tend not to count the number of words in a book as it sort of distracts you from the reading of it. I decided to go with the Novellas.org definition and count a novella being between 60 – 150 pages long. I also saw they had a list of top novellas which I wrote down only to be shocked by how many I have already read, not loads but more than I thought…
I then made some big decisions. I would definitely do the challenge but there had to be some rules as I have already set myself the goal of reading books that take my fancy, no planned reading and also buying less books (though as you will see from a post later in the week this has already gone down the swanny somewhat after being up north and having a binge) so I needed rules. Well actually there were only two. First rule had to be that I wouldn’t set a goal of how many I would read or an order, I would simply dip in and out of them. The second was that I could only read novella’s I already owned, which seeing as I had read most of those listed was a bit of a pain until I discovered I actually owned quite a few in my endless TBR.
- The Visitor – Maeve Brennan
- The Skeleton in the Cupboard – Alice Thomas Ellis
- The White Castle – Orhan Pamuk
- The Girls of Slender Means – Muriel Spark
- Fire in the Blood – Irene Nemirovsky
- A Study in Scarlet – Arthur Conan Doyle
- Lady Susan – Jane Austen
- Death in Venice – Thomas Mann
I actually think I own more than this but these were the books that were to hand and I couldn’t go ferreting around forever as I would loose reading time (and as I haven’t yet started 1984 for book group tomorrow I need to be reading lots today) I may come across more as I wander through my TBR shelves and boxes who knows, but the main idea is no pressure. So let’s see how I do. I was going to try and sneakily say We Have Always Lived at the Castle by Shirley Jackson was the first November Novella but actually I read it in October.
Is anyone else joining in with this, can I tempt any of you? What have your experiences with the novella been? Have I chosen a good diverse mix? Which ones have you read in the past and loved or loathed? Do you like novellas or not? Would you much rather read a book you can get engrossed in than ones that’s concise?