Novellas in November 2023

Novellas in November is hosted by Cathy of 746 Books and Rebecca of Bookish Beck.

Cathy and Rebecca have set a category for each week –

  • Week 1 (November 1): My Year in Novellas – During this partial week, share any novellas you have read since last NovNov.
  • Week 2 (November 6): What Is a Novella? – Ponder the definition, list favourites, or choose ones you think best capture the ‘spirit’ of a novella.
  • Week 3 (November 13): Broadening My Horizons – Pick your top novellas in translation and think about new genres or authors you’ve been introduced to through novellas.
  • Week 4 (November 20): The Short and the Long of It – Pair a novella with a nonfiction book or novel that deals with similar themes or topics.
  • Week 5 (November 27): New to My TBR – List the novellas you’ve added to your TBR since the month began.

There are also two buddy reads, one contemporary and one classic –

  • Western Lane by Chetna Maroo (2023) (on this year’s Booker Prize shortlist)
  • A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf (1929).

I’m still working out how the novellas that are on my TBR stack align with this year’s categories. Anyway, this is what I am choosing from (sorted according to the NovNov categories from previous years):

Short Classics

The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers (163pp)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote (100pp)
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (99pp)
Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger (199pp)

Novellas in Translation

The Black Lake by Hella S. Haasse (Dutch, 116pp)
The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer (Dutch, 112pp)
All Dogs Are Blue by Rodrigo de Souza Leão (Brazilian, 125pp)
The Bureau of Past Management by Iris Hanika (German, 178pp)
Love Novel by Ivana Sajko (German, 160pp)

Short nonfiction

The Battle for Home by Marwa al-Sabouni (179pp – although the print is tiny!)
A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis (76pp)
My Two Elaines by Martin J. Schreiber (126pp)
Hooked by Rita Felski (199pp – more tiny print!)
Gift from the Sea by Anne Lindbergh (130pp)

Contemporary novellas

We the Animals by Justin Torres (128pp)
Eve in Hollywood by Amor Towles (91pp)
Brother by David Chariandy (192pp)
Nostalgia Has Ruined My Life by Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle (76pp)
This is Pleasure by Mary Gaitskill (97pp)
Come Rain or Come Shine by Kazuo Ishiguro (78pp)
The Forester’s Daughter by Claire Keegan (67pp)
Flotsam by Meike Ziervogel (128pp)

Of course, no intention of reading all of these, but one or two each week should be manageable. Where to start?

8 responses

  1. My thoughts:
    *Breakfast at Tiffany’s is lovely. (And the movie too, of course.)
    *I’ve read The Black Lake, but I was annoyed by Hesse, her nostalgia for colonialism is unpalatable.
    *Somebody gave me A Grief Observed when I lost a dear friend. I hated it. (Probably just me).
    *I haven’t read any of the contemporary ones and look forward to seeing what you choose!

    • Noted re: Hesse.
      Have seen the movie of Breakfast at Tiffany’s but never read it. Not sure why not!
      I’ll be reading Grief Observed through a professional lens – it is referred to in grief literature and texts frequently, so a bit remiss of me to have left it so long!

      • I will be interested to see your professional lens on Grief Observed, because I’ve always known (because of who so kindly gave it to me) that it certainly ‘speaks to’ other people.

  2. The Forester’s Daughter is excellent… it’s in her Walk the Blue Fields collection, which I read a couple of months ago.

    Also highly recommend The Member of the Wedding, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and
    Ethan Frome!

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