Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Art of the Novella

The Art of the Novella

Novella's are a shorter than a novel but longer than a short story and fall somewhere in between.  The can be anywhere from 80 pages to a little over 200 pages with a little variation.  Some of my favorite books are novellas like Awakening by Kate Chopin.

This summer, with my goal to read a book a day for the whole summer, I have been devouring novellas.  I want to highlight three of them that are short, but not to short, and really, truly, respectfully, wonderful.

Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley
BookADay:  Day 28, Book #21

This little novella is a gem. It was written in 1917 (hard to believe, I know) and I loved every sweet word. It is about Helen, a homemaker who has baked over 6000 loaves of bread in her lifetime and has impulsively decided to buy a traveling bookshop called Parnassus and have a little adventure. Helen while on her great adventure, finds herself and the purpose of her life on the open road, selling books to farmers. LOVED IT.
I even bought the second novella by Christopher Morley called The Haunted Bookshop and I can't wait to read it.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
BookADay:  Day 25, Book #19

Stayed up way past my bedtime to finish this amazing grown-up bedtime story. I felt like a little kid huddled under the covers with my flashlight, turning pages as quick as I could with trepidation, afraid of the monster at the end of the book. Loved the fantastical, creative elements so much that I feel like I want to begin the story again tonight. This a book you can read and re-read and enjoy immensely each time.  Phenomenal!  I think I might  have to own this book.

We, the Animals by Justin Torres
BookADay:  Day 23, Book #18

Whoa, I am not sure how to feel about this book The writing is sparse but exquisite and powerful. I love the writing!! Each word is perfectly placed and the effect is WOW.  The storyline is not linear and so it is sometimes confusing. It is about 3 boys who are half white and half Puerto Rican who are born of teenage parents and who are wild, like animals. The parents marriage is wild and out of control. There is a abuse but there is also fun and lots of love and comraderie among the brothers.  Finally there is a shocking ending .  It really is beautifully written and I heard it is semi-autobiographical.