#BookBingo – Round 18

And for this fortnight we come to the dumbest of the bingo categories (I really don’t know what I was thinking here when I created this square):

Novella no more than 150 pages

Short stories and novellas are of no interest to me at all. I’ve tried, over and over, I really have, but next year’s bingo card is not having either of these on it. I just can’t get into them, or rather, I just seem to get into them and then they’re over.

Anyway, another reason I don’t like novellas is because they are mostly romance, Christmas themed, or involve a wedding, none of which I want to read about. But I found this one in my e-library, and it was historical fiction, so none of the above. It turned out to be a short story instead of a novella though, but it’s going to do! I’m moving on and leaving this category behind.

The Duchess’s Tattoo by Daisy Goodwin

Short and sweet. While I wasn’t even remotely interested in the duchess and her life, the tattoo artist I found quite interesting, given this was set at the beginning of the twentieth century. I wanted to know more about his artistry, his business, his clients. As well as mentioning that he was tattooing The Last Supper onto someone’s back, it talked about him inventing ink colours. That would be a fascinating novel, but alas, the novel is about the duchess, so I won’t be proceeding further on from here. But anyway, I read this for a reading challenge, so it’s served its purpose nicely!


For 2019, I’m teaming up with Mrs B’s Book Reviews and The Book Muse for an even bigger, and more challenging book bingo. We’d love to have you join us. Every second Saturday throughout 2019, we’ll post our latest round. We invite you to join in at any stage, just pop the link to your bingo posts into the comments section of our bingo posts each fortnight so we can visit you. If you’re not a blogger, feel free to just write your book titles and thoughts on the books into the comments section each fortnight, and tag us on social media if you are playing along that way.

13 thoughts on “#BookBingo – Round 18

  1. I feel an element of guilt here because I wrote this post some time ago and then pressed schedule, which is also code for ‘forget and move on’. However, in the time since, I did actually read a very good novella and I probably should have used this one instead. So I’ll pop the link to my review of Dry Milk here and we’ll all pretend that this is the book I have used instead of the abovementioned short story disguised as a novella. Although, Dry Milk not withstanding, I’m still not a fan of novellas at all. It’s not a form of writing that does much for me. A bit like short stories.
    https://theresasmithwrites.com/2019/08/22/book-review-dry-milk-by-huo-yan/

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  2. Hi Theresa, I do so agree with your sentiments regarding short stories and novellas – you only just get into it and then it’s finished. I much prefer a good fat book I can get my teeth into. I am not quite sure when novellas became a thing, as there are quite a few classics that fit into the less than 150 pages. Or is it more about structure?

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    • That’s a good question. Maybe it is about structure. One thing though, with classics, is that you can’t go by the page count because often they are printed with really small font. So their overall word count is probably higher than a contemporary novella. Mostly I hate the ‘spin-off’ novellas designed to milk money from fans. YA do this a lot. The whole sub-story from a minor character, etc. Or the main character’s cousin’s wedding. That sort of thing.

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      • True, font size can make all the difference. And the page count of editions can vary a lot too. Perhaps they should advertise the word count on the front cover – but then that may put some people off if the number is too big. With YA, I’ve heard that it is often the publishers who put pressure on the writers to produce novellas in between the publication of full length novels, just to keep the series in the front of everyone’s minds.

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  3. I’m pretty much in agreement with you here – it’s very rare that I enjoy a novella or short story and I tend to not even bother with them. I also had to read a novella for my Reading Women Podcast Challenge and after lots of looking at the recommendations thread, I read a Margaret Atwood one, which was interesting. But it didn’t really change my mind on them!

    (I also have to read a play and I hate reading plays. That might be the only prompt I don’t finish).

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  4. I agree with all of the above because (with spectacular exceptions) I rarely enjoy short stories either. But I must contest what you say about novellas being mostly romance: there are 161 novellas reviewed on my blog and I feel confident that not a single one of them is a romance!
    But I define novellas as being 100-200 pages long, which is a crude definition I know, so some of these would be more than your 150 pages, and I haven’t always included in the publishing details the no of pages, because I’ve only started doing that fairly recently. Still, if any of your readers doing this Bingo card would find it useful, this is the URL: https://anzlitlovers.com/category/category/form/novellas-100-200-pp/.
    One I would recommend is The Lonely Londoners, it’s only 139 pages, and it’s really, really good! It’s about Jamaican men who migrated to London in the postwar period, and it shows a side of London that I never knew existed. Another you might like is Welcome to Orphancorp, by Marlee Jane Ward, a dystopia, and there’s a sequel though I haven’t read it yet. Or Datsunland by your fellow-South Australian, Stephen Orr (one of my favourite authors.)
    You may notice that many of the most interesting novellas I’ve reviewed are translated fiction. I think fiction written in this form gets translated more often because it’s cheaper to translate a short book than a long one. There are two specialist publishers who produce translated novellas – Pushkin Press and Peirene Press. So there is good stuff around, I assure you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I should have checked your blog all along! 😁 I know I could trust your recommendation.
      I’ve read some books by Pushkin. They publish quality translations. I’m going to pop this link up in my book club group so the other bingo participants can check it out if they’re in need of a novella.

      Liked by 1 person

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