A novella is a work of written, fictional, narrative prose normally longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. The Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novella both define novellas as literary works between 17,500 – 40,000 words. Novels are 40,000 words or more. So – when you talk about the number of books you’ve read this year – do you include novellas in that total?
Recently, I read The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle. It was quite engrossing … but I was begging for more by the end of the book. I didn’t even realize it was a novella until the end.
Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.
A few weeks after that, I got a hold of Gwendy’s Box, Stephen King and Richard Chizmar. This one also hit it out of the park!
Every day in the summer of 1974 twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson has taken the Suicide Stairs, which are held by strong (if time-rusted) iron bolts and zig-zag up the cliffside. One day, a stranger calls to Gwendy: “Hey, girl. Come on over here for a bit. We ought to palaver, you and me.”
I definitely plan on reading more novellas in the future – and I’m including it in the number of BOOKS I’ve read for the year (along with audiobooks). I’ll probably break it down though.
At the end of the day – these are personal stats, but still – it’s an interesting question … do you count Novellas in your total number of books read?