With Novellas in November mere days away, it’s been brought to my attention that there are people who intend to read things other than novellas next month. And other people might get distracted by book prizes. The good news is that there’s a novella for just about every occasion. Here are some suggestions if you insist on participating in other types of reading in November.
Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus by David Quammen
Whether you’re participating on Booktube or blogland, or just doin’ your own thing, nonfictions novellas are for you. I’ve suggested a few before, but can also recommend a book I’m reading with my nine year old. This is not a book for kids, but his favourite virus is ebola, so when I read about it in Bookforum, I knew we had to check it out. And the fact that he has a favourite virus tells you just about everything you need to know about my eldest child.
German Literature Month
The Mussel Feast by Birgit Vanderbeke
For German Literature Month, you could go classic, with Death in Venice by Thomas Mann, but if you’re not in the mood for lecherous old men lusting after young boys (and definitely don’t look into how autobiographical this book is) I can recommend this modern German classic. Said to be about “the German psyche,” it’s the most compelling story about waiting for a phone to ring you’ll ever read.
The Children’s Bach by Helen Garner
#AusReadingMonth is hosted by OG book blogger Brona. I have a huge, Australia-shaped gap in my reading (I’m working on it, with help from Six Minutes For Me), so this recommendation is cover-based. I do love those Penguin Modern Classic covers. But you shouldn’t overlook Australia when it comes to novellas – they have their own Viva La Novella prize, which awards unpublished novellas with everything they need to get their book to market, from a contract to cover design.
The Giller Prize
Dream Sequence by Adam Foulds
I find the fact that this didn’t make the Giller Prize shortlist rather shocking. Dream Sequence is sublime, and a bit slimy. Beware if you don’t like an unlikable character. Pushing the limits at 184 pages, I read it over the course of a couple of days, but you could definitely do it in a sitting.
The Goldsmiths Prize
We Are Made of Diamond Stuff by Isabel Waidner
Experimental fiction and novellas go hand in hand, but there are only two novellas on this year’s Goldsmiths short list, and one is really pushing it at 199 pages (The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy.) I’m more interested in this one, recently reviewed by The Lonesome Reader. He describes it as “‘Stranger Things’ fan fiction while also being an avant-garde form of social commentary” and if that’s not enough, just check out that cover!
Many thanks to Book are my Favourite and Best for her recent post, reminding me of all the stuff going on in November!
All that said, I’m probably not doing any multiple-category novellas this year! I talked about some of my recent novella acquisitions on Booktube, if you’re so inclined, but I’m taking it pretty casually this year. Check out #NovNov and #NovellasinNovember on Twitter and Instagram, and stay tuned for more.