Monday, August 1, 2011


First things first, the winner of my giveaway...and new owner of 4 beautiful Em!  Congratulations! I hope you enjoy your books!  Thank you everyone who entered--let's do it again sometime!  (Also, thanks to and my youngest daughter Audrey for choosing the winner!)

In trying to decide how to approach this challenge, I arranged the books every which way (the thrill of organization!) before deciding on chronological order, based on the authors' birth dates.  I am hoping that (in addition to exposure to some amazing classic authors) I'll be able to pick up on some patterns in literature before the modern era.


  • The oldest story's author was born in 1547 (Cervantes), and the most recent in 1896 (F.Scott Fitzgerald)
  • 10 novellas (about 24%) were written by authors born before 1800
  • 6 novellas (about 14%) boast female authors
  • What countries they're from:
  •   - 11 from America (26%) (2 by Herman Melville, 2 by Henry James)
  •   - 9 from Russia (21.5%) (2 by Leo Tolstoy, 2 by Anton Chekhov)
  •   - 6 from England (14%)
  •   - 4 from France (10%)
  •   - 2 from Scotland (5%)
  •   - 2 from Poland (5%) (both by Joseph Conrad)
  •   - 2 from Germany (5%) (both by Heinrich Von Kleist)
  •   - 1 each from 6 other European countries (14%) (Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Ukraine, Austria, Ireland)
  • The largest book (The Duel, Kuprin) weighs in at a hefty 306 pages, and the smallest book (The Duel, Heinrich Von Kleist) is a mere 51 pages.  Most are in the 100-150 page range.

About the Series: (via Melville House)
"Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers.  Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In THE ART OF THE NOVELLA series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time."

Other Details:
I've added a list of the books ( in the order I'll be reading them) to my sidebar, and I'm hoping to be able to keep up with posting about each book individually.  For the record, all book details and author information included in these posts will be from Melville House Publishing unless otherwise indicated. Author photos are from Goodreads.

42 novellas. 31 days.  Let the fun begin!


  1. Happy Art of the Novella Day to you too. You're reading them very Well-Educated-Mind-style! I'm going to mix it up and read all the female authors first. I can't believe how many of these authors I've never read before.

    Congrats to Em!

  2. Happy Art of the Novella Day indeed! Reading at whim. Random. But am very impressed by your level of organization.

  3. This will be fun for us all to follow along, too. Hope to read one or two myself.... Good luck!

  4. Heidi, that's good to know! Maybe I'll be able to do WEM at some point after all. The "intentionalness" always intimidated me somewhat, but I'm finding I'm becoming less moody about my reading as time goes by. I'm also surprised by how many of these authors I've never read--most, really. That will soon be fixed. :)

    Frances, thanks for stopping by. I'm impressed by your ability to go random, actually. I was afraid that it would be too easy for me to justify slowing down the pace or reading something else instead if I did that. Good luck in your reading!

    JoAnn, thanks! I hope you do get to a couple, there are so many fascinating authors/titles to choose from!

  5. It's interesting to read the statistics; I've wondered a few times what the selection criteria were for these novellas. There are some quirky inclusions.

    You're very organised. My ten-year old daughter is my novella picker for this challenge - she takes great pleasure in carefully deciding which I ought to tackle next.


I'd love to hear what you have to say, leave a comment!