Challenging Myself…Again


The ravenous reader, being true to form once again, has succumbed to the lure of another challenge.  I know – I said “only one.”  But there’s something so enticing about all these lovely, organized reading opportunities (not to mention the darling blog buttons that accompany them, although I’ve not quite mastered the art of adding them to my sidebar like most of you have…oh well.)

At any rate, I’ve decided to cast my lot in with Trish, who is hosting The Novella Challenge.  Now, you may recall that I joined the Short Story Challenge as a way of overcoming my antipathy to short stories.  And it’s working quite nicely, I might add…I’ve become completely enamored with these small gems of literature.  But I’ve never had a problem with novellas, which could be construed as “petite novels,” I suppose, weighing in somewhere between 100 and 250 pages.  In perusing the (lengthy!) list of examples Trish posted,  imagine my pleasant surprise at the discovery that I’d already read quite a few on the list.  (And no, of course I’m not counting those for the challenge – why that wouldn’t be fair at all!)

Challenge participants will read six novellas between April and September.

Just six.

That certainly seems “do-able,” doesn’t it?

Let me see…what to read first?  I’m considering The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, by Carson McCullers.  Or The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros. 

What do you think?


12 thoughts on “Challenging Myself…Again

  1. I have never heard of The Ballad of the Sad Cafe but I would suggest The House on Mango Street for sure. I liked it and it was a really easy read. I mean you are going to find that a lot with novellas, but not ALWAYS.

  2. I love Carson McCullers – I read The Member of the Wedding and thought it very beautiful. The novella reading challenge is a good idea, but I did promise myself no challenges this year! I’ll happily follow other people’s participation, though!

  3. A novella challenge does seem fun. It makes me wonder how they go about defining a novella, however. Is it really just page count? I had a professor suggest that a novella has less going on, was really only about one thing. I’m not sure…

    Doris Lessing’s book – The Grandmother’s is actually four unconnected novellas. It’s a fantastic book! Otherwise, I’d vote for The Ballad of the Sad Café, which I just finished and loved!!!!

  4. Megan – Thank you for the recommendation. House on Mango Street is definitely on my list – I’ve heard much about it over the years, and somehow never got round to reading it. Now’s the time 🙂

    Litlove- I read The Member of The Wedding years and years ago, and loved it. Somehow, I never read any of her other books. So, here’s a good reason.

    Verbivore-Oh, good recommendation! I don’t believe Lessins’s book was on the list. Your comment spurred me on to check out definitions of “novella.” This one was quite interesting, and went beyond the parameters of length. It’s from Encylopedia Brittanica on line.

    “The novella is a short and well-structured narrative, often realistic and satiric in tone, that influenced the development of the short story and the novel throughout Europe. Originating in Italy during the Middle Ages, the novella was based on local events that were humorous, political, or amorous in nature…”

  5. Good luck with your challenge! I was contemplating it but so far I haven’t caved in yet 🙂
    Oh and I loved House on Mango Street. I’m a fan of Cisneros and am just wondering when she’ll have something new out.

  6. If I enjoy ‘The Member of the Wedding’ when I read it later this month, then I’ll join you with ‘The Ballad of the Sad Cafe’. By the way, don’t ever think you need to apologise for leaving a long comment over on Table Talk. Your thoughts are always very welcome indeed; they can’t be too long.

  7. Beasts, by Joyce Carol Oates, is my favvvoorite novella! I would defnitely recommend that one for a dark, atmospheric, moody read

    I would join this challenge, but I don’t have too many novellas lounging on my stacks at the moment. Good luck with it!

  8. Yay! I’m reading the McCullers for this challenge, and I read Mango Street last year for the Banned Books Mini-challenge. It was really, really good.

    Here’s how to add a picture to your side bar (it’s complicated, especially when written out, but once you’ve done it once or twice it’ll be like second-nature).
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  9. Joan- I’m going to need to read fast to absorb all these books!

    Ann-I hope you like Member of the Wedding. McCullers has a slightly dark bent, but I enjoyed that book. Of course I read it when I was a teenager, and going through a dark phase myself.

    Andi-I will definitely look into the Oates novella. I’m planning on reading one of her short story collections as well.

    Eva – Oh my goodness, thank you so much for those wonderful directions. I was doing fine following them until I got to the part about the “right sidebar” which does not appear on my particular wordpress presentation. I have only a “default sidebar,” and when I pasted the html code there, everything else on my sidebar disappeared!
    Hmm. Perhaps I’ll have to add this to the (log list) of things my son, the web designer, needs to clear up for me 🙂

  10. I’m so glad you’ll be joining! And I’ve got pictures in my sidebar, and we’re using the same template, so I can explain it if you want. Just email me. 😀 If I can do it, you can too!

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