A brief history of Novellas in November

“Novellas in November” was conceived of by Rick of Another Book Blog five years ago, in 2013. His original post is lost to the mists of defunct WordPress blogs, but you can read mine here. Over the years, others came along for the ride, notably our fellow Canadian book bloggers Naomi at Consumed by Ink and CJ at ebookclassics. I have probably been the most consistent participant, but I wasn’t really a host.

People have been asking (okay… one person asked and it was Novellas in November alum Rebecca) about the history of this event, and while I maintain that it has been sustained these past five years by the sheer power of alliteration, there is just a little more to it than that.

novellasinnovember2015

circa 2015

Rick wasn’t *quite* the first to pick up a novella in November. I can trace a “Novella November” challenge as far back as 2009. A blog called “Bibliofreak” seems to be the source, but it doesn’t exist anymore. Some past participants in this iteration include noted blogger, podcaster, Booktuber and Man Booker Prize correspondent Simon Savidge, new-to-me Lizzy’s Literary Life, and blogs I used to read, like Things Mean A Lot and Fleur in Her World

novembernovellachallenge2010

A 2010 button

Apparently, some people read novellas in months other than November. This novella challenge from 2008 didn’t take advantage of the alliteration possibilities, but I’m including because I enjoy their “person trying to open an extremely small book” visuals. But really, a six month novella challenge that doesn’t even include the month of November?

novellachallenge2008

And speaking of visuals, I must also mention Tiny Camel’s novella challenge, in which he attempted to read Melville House’s entire Art of the Novella catalog. Being a year-long challenge, November wasn’t entirely out of the equation, but he started in October – another missed opportunity. He also seems to have lost steam after novella #34 of 55. Shoulda started in November…

artofthenovella

I want to recreate this but my bathtub is full of stikbots

I also found a #NovellaNovember event from 2015 that (maybe erroneously) got associated with this event (we use #NovNov). 746 Books was one of these; she is on book 547 of her read-my-own-damn-books challenge (it had been a while since I checked in!) while originator Poppy Peacock Pens has gone private.

But Novellas in November is more than its history. It’s happening this year, and after missing last year I’m back at it. Stayed tuned for TBRs and reviews. We’ve also made the leap to Booktube – actually, there’s history there, as my first ever video was the inaugural 2013 #NovNov book haul. But don’t watch that, watch Rick, and new recruit Shawn the Book Maniac, as they drag Novellas in November into the late 2010s:

Please join us in whatever capacity and medium you prefer. Novellas tend to be weird and wonderful, in my extensive #NovNov experience. Plus, I’m not the only one who needs to boost my Goodreads challenge this time of year, am I?

GRchallenge

HELP!

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18 comments

  1. Rebecca Foster

    I’m glad you posted this retrospective – I’ll be sure to link to it when I introduce my #NovNov challenge next week 🙂 I’m 8 books behind according to Goodreads, so it should be a useful boost.

  2. theresakishkan

    A perfect form for a November afternoon, or evening. Our micropress, fishgottaswimeditions.com, has a Life List page,with room for more suggestions, as well as two titles for sale (and review copies available for interested reviewers).

  3. Hannah

    Very interesting! Thank you for the retrospective!
    Rick recruited me for this months ago because reading more novellas was one of my bookish New Years resolutions (that plan has worked out soso) and since my reading has been fairly slow this month, I figured November will be the perfect month to pick up Novellas.

  4. annelogan17

    haha I love that you included the history of the challenge! I’m going to try to participate re: my twitter comment from a few hours ago, but I’m SUPER busy this month, so we will see….

  5. Naomi

    I love Novellas in November! The only problem is the time of year it lands – too bad there isn’t another month in the year that starts with ‘N’. I think what I need to do for next year is read some novellas early and then write about them in November. Someone just has to remind me. 😉
    Madame Bibi Lophile did a “Novella a Day in May” this year – which was awesome (and it rhymes!).
    https://madamebibilophilerecommends.wordpress.com/2018/05/01/novella-a-day-in-may-1/

      • Naomi

        A bookish miracle has occurred. About 7 months ago I put in a request at the library for a book called Killing McGee by David Helwig (after reading another one of his books, The Stand-In). It’s been so long that I’d pretty much given up on it, but today I have a notice saying that it’s in. And it’s a novella! A short one, too. Only 56 pages. Hooray!

  6. Pingback: TBR: Novellas in November (2018) – I have thoughts on books
  7. buriedinprint

    Does anyone really think that they conceive of anything original these days? Thank goodness for the way-back-machine to keep us all humble. 🙂 I remember participating with a couple of the folks you’ve mentioned, back then, but it’s never been one that I’ve been methodical about taking part in; but I also can’t think of a single novella that I have disliked. Often they’re amazing! So I’m definitely going to try to take part, but with Margaret Atwood and Mavis Gallant and Non-Fiction, I don’t think my efforts will make the difference in boosting any reading-year stats. Good luck with yours!

  8. Pingback: November Reading Plans: Novellas, Margaret Atwood and More – Bookish Beck
  9. Jackie

    Reblogged this on Jackie's Forget Me Nots and commented:
    Happy Novella November everyone! I like reading novellas in November. It’s got a nice ring to it. This reading challenge introduced me to many Christmas novellas, which I usually have a bunch of on my Kindle. I was curious to find out more facts about Novella November and this is all you need to know.

  10. Pingback: Novellas in November | 2018 – the [blank] garden
  11. Pingback: Novellas in November Part 1 – Annabookbel
  12. Keturah Lamb

    I’ve never heard of this — very interesting! But I doubt I could do something like that with NaNo. I love novellas though. I have written quite a few. Short stories, to me, are all about the stories and less about the size.

    keturahskorner.blogspot.com

  13. Pingback: And The Wind Sees All, by Guðmundur Andri Thorsson, tr. Björg Árnadóttir & Andrew Cauthery – The Glottal Stop

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