While my attention span has been all but nonexistent lately, novellas and short novels have been really helpful for keeping up with my reading challenges
and feeling like I’ve accomplished things, i.e. finished books.
I’m betting I’m not alone in this, so today I’m sharing some of the titles that may help you out as well.
NOTE: With one exception, I’m defining a “novella” or “short novel” as having a full and complete story arc (not just a short story addition to a series, or a collection of stories) and approximately 100-250 pages.
- The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells have been getting quite some buzz among the bookish community, and deservedly so: many people, myself included, relate strongly to Murderbot’s deadpan humor and preference for streaming series over social interaction. (There’s also action and solid sci-fi worldbuilding, if you’re into that.)
- Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard retells Hamlet through the eyes of its comic relief characters; as much as I genuinely love Shakespeare’s classic play, I found R&G even funnier and more accessible. Even if you weren’t a fan of the original, you may be surprised!
- Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire is a series you’ve probably heard about: what happens to kids who are returned to the “normal” world after an adventure in a fantastical land where they truly feel they belong?
- Of Kindred and Stardust by Archer Kay Leah hasn’t appeared on any of my mutuals’ lists, but I thought it was a fun read. It centers on a queer polyam second-chance romance on a space station, with a snarky main narrator.
- This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone is another of those reads that I found just as great as “everyone” says it is. The prose flows and so did my tears.
- Passing Strange by Ellen Klages: San Francisco Chinatown in 1940. Sapphic relationships. Nightclubs and magic and art. The blurb says it’s inspired by “the pulps, film noir, and screwball comedy.” If any or all of the above intrigue you, give this one a chance!
- To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers has all the charm of her Wayfarers series (The Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet, etc.) but a bit heavier on the speculative science, with some social commentary too. Of course, the cast is casually diverse and quite lovable.
- Westwood Monster Patrol by Andrea Beatriz Arango features a plucky Q/PoC found family hunting down the (literal) monsters in the nearby woods. A great spooky read.
- A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver is my wildcard rec for this post; I know essays and poetry aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But I personally love Oliver’s writing and awe of nature, and A Thousand Mornings is, in my opinion, one of her best collections.
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- Do you prefer novellas or full-length novels? Or does it depend on your mood?
- What are your favorite novellas / short novels?
- Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?