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?
// Comments //
Katie @ Doing Dewey
I don’t read novellas, but I would definitely count them. If a 600 or 1000 page book doesn’t count more than a 300 page book, there’s no reason a novella should count less 🙂
I generally count them when they are standalone stories. Same as I count graphic novels in my stats.
Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity
Good question. Personally, I do. I’ve still put the time and effort into reading them. Sure, the word count may not be high on them but they are just as enjoyable as a full-length novel. I know some people use novellas to help boost their reading figures. I do like the idea of giving a breakdown of the number of novellas read to highlight if a number of shorter books have been included in your overall count, though. I may try that this year, we’ll see.
I definitely count novellas if they are standalone. However, if it is part of a larger anthology, then I don’t count them.
I don’t really read novellas, thought I think I may have read one or two ‘prequel’ novellas a few years ago. If I read them, I definitely would count them.
I absolutely do! I used to not, but I’ve realised everything counts. It’s reading! If it has an ISBN; I’ll be sure to add it.
Krysta @ Pages Unbound
I think novellas count. Perhaps they are shorter in length, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the content isn’t deep or engaging. I count picture books in my total books read. After all, picture books are very often creative and require readers to understand wordplay or text-illustration interactions. They are works of art, too!
I would include them but I have to say, I wish there was a bit of breakdown for book challenges that broke it out as 1) number of books (to include Novellas), 2) number cookbooks and 3) audio books. I feel like it’s a cheat when I include a cookbook overview as that’s not like reading a novel or non-fiction. But I do review it so…conundrum.
Definitely I would include novellas.