Sunday, August 28, 2011

Officially Calling it Quits

Throwing in the towel, waving the white flag of surrender, kaput, finis, done.  No more novellas for me.

I know...there are four days left of the month: prime reading time!  But my brain is saturated with classic writing and I'm subconsciously digging in my heels.  I want to read something simpler, more lyrical, new and fresh.

I want to read something that is not next in the stack.

So...even though there are all kinds of interesting novellas still waiting to be read...they are simply going to have to wait a little while.  I may read them intermittently through the next few months; it's just as possible I may wait until next summer to finish them up.

A Final Look: left=read, right=unread
What I've learned:
  • There are oh-so-many classic authors that are delightful to read. I've found many authors that I'm exited about, and thrilled to have exposure to so many more than I did less than a month ago.
  • Russian authors feel SO much older than their American contemporaries.  Makes sense, I guess, but
  • My dislike for the ocean is a bit more than a preference after all.  Turns out it has the power to make words swim on the page and thoughts swirl in my head.
  • I CAN read intentionally--purposefully--and enjoy it.  My TBR shelves are no longer as intimidating as they once were.
  • I needn't be afraid of Dostoevsky.  Or anyone else for that matter.  An author's writing may not be to my taste, or the right fit for the time in my life, but that's okay because there are others who are.  I just need to stick with them.
  • Reading 28 books in a month is totally do-able.  Classic outweighs short length, right?

What's next:
First up is Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante.  This was the most recent Indispensable book, and the first page has me hooked.  There are a lot of others that I'm looking forward to as well...let's see how well I switch from a preset list to reading by whim alone. :)  As much as I'm ready to read according to my mood, I'm also feeling the end of the year encroaching already...nominations for the Indie Lit Awards open soon, can you believe it?

Other books replacing the novellas on my end table are Down From Cascom Mountain, Yeats is Dead!,  and Maus.

Thanks to Frances of Nonsuch Book for coming up with the idea, and Melville House Publishing for the brilliant collection of books, and all of you for your encouragement and support!


  1. 28!!! Great job!!

    I just ordered 5 novellas from the Russian authors to be read interspersed over the next few months.

  2. I very much liked Turn of Mind. Though I think there are all kinds of interior problems with the unreliable narrator, the book is very good. I don't read a ton of mysteries, so the whodunit part at the end felt fresh to me--I'll be curious if it's the same way for you.

  3. Thanks Heidi! You've been a great support to me this month--I'm so glad that you've enjoyed some novellas yourself. I'll be looking forward to see what you think about some of those Russians. :)

    Good to know, Crowe. I used to love mysteries when I was younger, but they started to all feel similar and I haven't read much since. Unreliable narrators can be fun, though I imagine it's hard to do. I'm looking forward to it.

  4. I am so proud of you! You will be my inspiration as I embark on a my literature class. The first two books are Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre. Can I really read those again?!? I know they are suppose to be timeless but, really, how many times can I read those and find something fresh to write about them I wonder.

  5. Sounds like you got a lot out of the month. I don't think I could be exposed to that many classic authors in one go, so I'm impressed! I would definitely need to alternate classics with something lighter to ease the load :P

  6. Belle, I'm kind of surprised that a lit class would be using such commonly read classics--I would have thought they'd branch out a bit! You should read Lady Susan before jumping into P&P again, maybe it'll set the stage for enjoying the humor. :)

    Sam, I've always been like that too, I typically really need to keep everything balanced. Perhaps the shorter lengths really helped the month stay lively? Actually I think I just felt bad about putting so many new books on my TBR shelves--if I let them sit then there's no telling how long they'll be there. :)

  7. I'm super impressed by your accomplishments in this challenge!!!! You did great, and I enjoyed reading up on your novella reading. :)

  8. It doesn't matter that you didn't finish the challenge, as long you had fun and learned something, right? I, on the other hand, am still scared of those Russians. :)

  9. Great job. Melody! I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on these classics novellas. Although I only read three, there are a few more I'll tackle over the next couple of months. Art of the Novella challenge has made August a lot of fun.

  10. I enjoyed living vicariously through your challenge while it lasted. You are still my hero for even attempting it. :-)

  11. well done for reading all the ones that you did. I think I could do something like that for like a weekend but never for a month.

  12. Thanks Andi! It was a little bit of craziness, but the good kind. :)

    Darlyn, I really do feel like I learned a lot...probably the main reason I had to throw in the towel: my brain was packed full. :)

    JoAnn, it was so much fun to have month-long focus that I might do it more often with different themes (and perhaps not as much intensity!) I'm considering saving the rest of my novellas for next August.

    Jay, I'm still not real sure when I managed to read and blog about all those books! My head is still spinning a little bit. :)

    Jessica, I've always known that I'm good with deadlines, but it looks like a month was a good segment of time for me to maintain my goals. I have a hard time keeping pace in my year-long goals, and weekends are usually gone before I've realized they were there at all...not enough time to properly procrastinate. I've always wondered how people manage weekend read-a-thons! :)


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