The Novella Club discussion

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Group reads > Nominate a novella for June 2014

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message 1: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
The Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers The Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers

Carson Mc Cullers' extraordinary American Gothic tale of love and betrayal in the deep South tells the story of Miss Amelia, a very unconventional woman. A six-foot-two giantess, strong and self-reliant, she married Marvin Macy, the meanest and most handsome man in town, and then threw him out after ten days. Now she runs the local store alone, until Cousin Lymon, a strutting, hunchbacked drwarf, comes to town, steals her heart and transforms the store into a buzzing café. But when her rejected husband returns, a bizzare love triangle ensues and the battle of the sexes begins.


message 2: by Buck (last edited Apr 30, 2014 02:52PM) (new)


message 3: by John (new)

John (johnred) Hi! New member here :)

I'd like to nominate The Sibyl by Pär Lagerkvist.


message 4: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
John wrote: "Hi! New member here :)

I'd like to nominate The Sibyl by Pär Lagerkvist."


Welcome to the group. Looking forward to your comments and insights.


message 5: by Mmars (last edited Apr 30, 2014 07:08PM) (new)

Mmars | 588 comments I'll nominate A Simple Heart by Gustave Flaubert.

"In A Simple Heart, the poignant story that inspired Julian Barnes' Flaubert's Parrot, Falicita, a French housemaid, approaches a lifetime of servitude with human-scaled but angelic aplomb. No other author has imparted so much beauty and integrity to so modest an existence. Flaubert's "great saint" endures loss after loss by embracing the rich, true rhythms of life: the comfort of domesticity, the solace of the Church, and the depth of memory. This novella showcases Flaubert's perfectly honed realism: a delicate counterpoint of daily events with their psychological repercussions. "Flaubert is diagnosis," Ezra Pound wrote, "the whole of Flaubert, the whole fight for the novel as 'histoire morale contemporaine' was a fight against maxims, against abstractions, a fight back toward a human and/or total conception."


message 6: by Mmars (new)

Mmars | 588 comments John wrote: "Hi! New member here :)

I'd like to nominate The Sibyl by Pär Lagerkvist."


Welcome John. Looked up Lagerkvist and added Barabbas to my TBR list. I recently read The Testament of Mary which made me look Jesus crucifixion in new ways. Barbabbas may make an interesting companion to that book. Have you read any of Lagerkvist's books?


message 7: by John (new)

John (johnred) Thanks for the welcomes!

Mmars -- No, The Sibyl will be my first and it has been on my To-Read list for months, it is getting impatient waiting for me :) Barabbas looks really good too, and I think I also need to add The Dwarf to my list...


message 8: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (tantara) I really enjoyed The Ballad of the Sad Cafe and Shawshank. I'd be game for the Flaubert or the Lagerkvist. I've meant to read both authors for ages, although I wasn't aware either of them had any novella-length works. (I know Lagerkvist for his longer The Dwarf. I haven't read it, but I've had it on my list for ages. It seems bleak, though.)

I don't yet know if I have anything to nominate this time. I like the list we have going so far.


message 9: by Ronald (new)

Ronald (rpdwyer) | 16 comments I nominate _Five Autobiographies And A Fiction_ by Lucius Shepard

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

Lucius Shepard--who died recently--made a fine contribution to fantastic literature.

This book comprises of five novellas. I've read two of them, which I consider outstanding.

The current goodreads rating for this book is over 4 stars.

So instead of reading some *Bloated Novel Because The Publisher Can Charge You More Money*, I suggest this book will give you much higher value.


message 10: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Ronald wrote: "I nominate _Five Autobiographies And A Fiction_ by Lucius Shepard

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

Lucius Shepard--who died recentl..."


Sounds interesting, but doesn't seem to fit the paradigm of this group. Are any of the novellas published separately? Is there "one" in particular you'd like the group to consider?


message 11: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Lora nominates Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry


message 12: by Ronald (new)

Ronald (rpdwyer) | 16 comments Sounds interesting, but doesn't seem to fit the paradigm of this group. Are any of the novellas published separately? Is there "one" in particular you'd like the group to consider?

Me: I think four of the novellas were previously published separately, one is original to the book.

Reading more than one novella in a month might be stretching the parameters of this group, but I say what harm is there?

Upon reflection, when I read a really good novella, I usually finish it within two days. I don't consider myself a 'fast' reader either. The fact that I might finish a excellent novella within two days is due to the author's skill in holding my attention.


message 13: by Mmars (new)

Mmars | 588 comments Ivan wrote: "Ronald wrote: "I nominate _Five Autobiographies And A Fiction_ by Lucius Shepard

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

Lucius Shepard--w..."



Agree that it does look interesting. I perused a few of the GR reviews and though it appears that the works are pseudo-autobiographies (in other words, fiction) which one is the novella? Also, fantastical as they sound, are the stories really autobiographical? In which case they would be considered non-fiction.?.?

Drat! Literary genres and creative writing just don't always go hand in hand.


message 14: by Mmars (new)

Mmars | 588 comments I am going to have a hard time deciding this month!!!


message 15: by Ronald (last edited May 01, 2014 08:57PM) (new)

Ronald (rpdwyer) | 16 comments Hello Mmars,

The book contains five novellas. When Shepard calls them "autobiographies" this is what I think he means: he is drawing elements from his life and mixing it with a fantastical plot.

Take, for example, the novella "Dog-Eared Paperback of my Life". The narrator of this story is, like Lucius Shepard, a writer of fantasy and science fiction. The narrator even reflects on his writing career. Lucius Shepard probably had similar reflections toward the end of his distinguished career. The narrator journeys in Southeast Asia. Lucius Shepard, too was a world traveler.

I suggest put this book up in the voting. If people don't want to read five novellas in a month, fine.


message 16: by Lora (new)

Lora (lorabanora) Ronald, I think they're just saying that focusing on one novella within the book helps everyone be on the same page- almost literally. The other stories in the book would also make great fodder for discussion as well, for those who read on. Me, I tend to have big fat books intravenously pumped into my system while the novella each month is a small challenge to my comfort zone. Some of the others know how I can angst about reading tiny books.
The Zweig book I got from the library had several stories in it, but I decided to come back later. I also decided that I want to come back to it later, as well.
I hope that clarifies.


message 17: by Mmars (new)

Mmars | 588 comments OK. We can include the Lucius Shepard collection - perhaps select one. We could all read that and everyone could decide for themselves whether to read more. I've had a similar dilemma with Jim Harrison's novella collections.


message 18: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Ronald wrote: "Hello Mmars,

The book contains five novellas. When Shepard calls them "autobiographies" this is what I think he means: he is drawing elements from his life and mixing it with a fantastical plot.
..."


Ronald, I'll nominate the book. Still, I think you need to choose one of the novella as our main topic for discussion (maybe include a synopsis) and then those who choose to read the others included in the volume can do so and discuss them.


message 19: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
One more day to nominate. I'll put up a poll tomorrow.


message 20: by Ronald (new)

Ronald (rpdwyer) | 16 comments Alright. I nominate "Dog Eared Paperback of My Life" by Lucius Shepard.

The novella can be found not only in _Five Autobiographies and a Fiction_, but also in the book where it first appeared, _Other Earths_, edited by Jay Lake and Nick Gevers.

In my goodreads review of that book, I described the first third of that novella as Borgesian, the middle third Conradian, and the last third Lovecraftian.

Perhaps this might whet the appetities of the readers here to read the other novellas in the book.


message 21: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Ronald wrote: "Alright. I nominate "Dog Eared Paperback of My Life" by Lucius Shepard.

The novella can be found not only in _Five Autobiographies and a Fiction_, but also in the book where it first appeared, _O..."


Sounds great.


message 22: by Mmars (new)

Mmars | 588 comments Yes, agreed. And thanks for the second source.


message 23: by Mmars (new)

Mmars | 588 comments Quote from a Booklist review of Other Earths says "Best of all, Lucius Shepard contributes another of his palpably atmospheric novellas of Americans in a haunted Vietnam; here, the narrator is haunted by versions, all flesh and blood, of himself."


message 24: by Ruthie (new)


message 25: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
I love the picture of Orson Welles on the cover. The film is favorite of mine.


message 26: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
nominations are closed. please vote.


message 27: by Mmars (new)

Mmars | 588 comments The Third Man is set in Venice! What is it about that city and this group? Recently we've read two others set there - "Death in Venice" and "The Aspern Papers".
I haven't decided my vote yet (our choices are great!) by this one is most enticing and Greene is one of those authors I have yet to tackle.


message 28: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
The Third Man is set in Vienna, Austria and not Venice - though we do seem to love Venice.


message 29: by Mmars (new)

Mmars | 588 comments Silly me. Thanks for the correction, Ivan


message 30: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Mmars wrote: "Silly me. Thanks for the correction, Ivan"

It happens. Last Friday I watched the Kentucky Derby and Mine That Bird was a 50 to 1 come from behind winner - I was so excited that I posted what a great race it had been on Facebook before I realized I was watching a rerun of the 2009 Derby. Venice vs. Vienna seems a minor faux paus in comparison.


message 31: by Lora (new)

Lora (lorabanora) Those are the pranks that befall us in an information heavy culture. I remember the day when, as a teen, I rather berated my mom for buying the wrong green beans. Turns out- whodathunkit?- that there are thousands of labels in the store, at various fonts, with tiny print, and tired eyes trying to discern. In that way, I have become my mother. And I dehumanize people a whole lot less than I did back when I knew it all.


message 32: by Ben (new)

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 85 comments kind of happy to read most of these - some interesting nominations.


message 33: by Mmars (new)

Mmars | 588 comments Oh, Ivan.....I'm sorry....but....Thanks for the laugh! It would take a tome, not a novella, to record the number of things I've confused, discombobulated, and misplaced......so it's because I can totally relate that I laugh.


message 34: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
So, The Third Man was a pretty close second, any objections to making it July's selection?


message 35: by Mmars (new)

Mmars | 588 comments No objections


message 36: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 569 comments Oh, man. I always miss the voting deadline.


message 37: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (tantara) Ivan wrote: "So, The Third Man was a pretty close second, any objections to making it July's selection?"

That's fine by me.


message 38: by Ronald (new)

Ronald (rpdwyer) | 16 comments Yes, that's fine. The only other work by Graham Greene I've read is _The Power and the Glory_. I was greatly impressed with it, it approaches my ideal of literary fiction.


message 39: by A.M. (new)

A.M. Oldroyd | 19 comments I've just found a copy of 'The Ballad of the Sad Cafe' in my local library. Looking forward to reading it! With regards to 'The Third Man' I'm a massive fan of Graham Greene so I think I'd find it hard to be objective when discussing him, but I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Third Man' (it's a great film too) and I'd be interested to see what others make of it.


message 40: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Has anyone ever read The Napoleon Of Notting Hill by G.K. Chesterton

This sounds like it could be a terrific read:

The Napoleon of Notting Hill, Chesterton's first novel (1904), is set in London at the end of the twentieth century. It is still a city of gaslamps and horse-drawn carriages, but democratic government has withered away. When a government clerk, something of an aesthete and even more of a joker, is simply chosen from a list to be king, he sets the stage for arguments about the nature of human loyalties, glorifying the little man, and attacks on big business and the monolithic state.


message 41: by Lora (new)

Lora (lorabanora) Not yet. It's on my list.


message 42: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
I just ordered a used paperback and hope to start it on Wednesday.


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