Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Armchair BEA: Expanding Blogging Horizons and Novellas/Short Stories

Expanding Blogging Horizons 
What do you think about when you think about going beyond blogging or expanding your horizons? 

Today's prompts are SO up my alley. While I'm sure you're all sick of hearing me talk about BookTube and vlogging, I won't spend the majority of my time on that. If you're interested in learning more about vlogs, you can check out my guest post at Book Bloggers International and my channel


Novellas/Short Stories 

Now it is time to give a little love to those little stories in your life. Share your love for your favorite shorts of any form. 

I love the shorties...stories and novellas!!! Let's start with short stories. I know not everyone enjoys them because they often feel they're less developed and thereby less enjoyable than novels. However, I am of the mind that there's a short story collection or novella for everyone. You just have to find what works for you. 




Three of my all-time favorite short story collections are right here! If you're in the mood to be engulfed in fiction, you should try Blackbird House, by Alice Hoffman. It centers on one house and the generations of people who live there. This is perfect for creating a tangible sense of place and a cohesive collection of stories. 

The Illusion of Separateness, by Simon Van Booy, is another cohesive set of stories. These all revolve around the people affected by two WWII soldiers and the ripples their actions send through their respective family and friends. 

The Last Girlfriend on Earth, by Simon Rich, isn't a short story cycle like the previous two books, but it's one of the funniest, most clever collections I've read in a long time. These are almost "micro" stories at 2-5 pages each (ballpark), and they play on the ridiculousness of relationships in some very clever ways. 


And novellas. Oh, how I love a novella! They're easy to read in one or two sittings, and if you're afraid of missing out on a "whole" story, this might be the way to go. 

84, Charing Cross Road, by Helene Hanff, might be more fairly categorized as memoir in letters. Whatever you want to call it, it's short and heartwarming. If you love books, chances are you'll love this book. 

Dept. of Speculation, by Jenny Offill, is a slightly risky pick! It's the story of a marriage told in snippets, short paragraphs, and anecdotes by "the wife." I found it just the right amount of thinky and totally engrossing. 

We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson, is probably my favorite of the bunch. It's a quick, ominous, downright creepalicious story about some odd characters and their poisoning incident. If you're at all familiar with Shirley Jackson, this type of plot won't come as a surprise. If you haven't read it, just do it! 


31 comments:

  1. I think Shirley Jackson's book has come up twice on your blog this week. It's on my list of summer reading, but maybe i should get to it sooner!

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    1. Haha! I actually didn't mean to do that re: repeating Shirley Jackson, but I just love that damn book! lol

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  2. I enjoyed 84, Charing Cross Road as well - such a cosy read. And I've been meaning to get to the Jackson for ages.

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    1. It was really wonderful and cozy. I read it several years ago, so it's probably time for a re-read.

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  3. I loved 84 and Castle, so I will definitely try Dept. of Speculation.

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    1. I think you'd like it, Trisha. There's a lot to chew over in a very short book.

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  4. Castle made my list too. I want The Illusion of Separateness but I'm waiting for it come out in paperback.

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    1. Illusion is sooo so so good! Come on, paperback!

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  5. Great list!! I need to read more van Booey. And I can't wait for more by Simon Rich. And I seriously need to get on Dept. of Speculation!

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    1. Thanks, dahling! He's super awesome. And yes! Simon Rich! More, more, more!

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  6. Blackbird House is an amazing collection of stories. Just thinking about it makes me want to reread it.

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    1. Isn't it? MORE people should read it! We need a campaign.

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  7. I really like your list of short stories. I really haven't read to many myself- you have given me lots of good ideas!

    --Brenda @DailyMayo

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    1. Thanks, Brenda! I hope you decide to try some of these.

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  8. I don't read a lot of short stories or novella's. They're so hard to review because they're so short and I have so many books that I do need to review, so. :)

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  9. I didn't realize Blackbird House was a short story collection, but I do enjoy Alice Hoffman. I also need to read The Last Girlfriend on Earth because it sounds like a Katie book.

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    1. Yep! And they're so good because they all revolve around that one house. It's a lot more cohesive that way. And yes. Last Girlfriend would make you giggle. A lot.

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  10. Thanks for the suggestions. I'm not so keen on short stories (they end too soon!) but Alice Hoffman's, well, that sounds interesting. I didn't realize she'd written short stories.

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    1. It is really interesting and nicely tied together so it feels very cohesive to read.

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  11. Dropped by to #highfive you right back! I love We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Now off to add your short story recs to my list...

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  12. Hm, today's topic has made me realize a lot of my favourite reads are actually novellas! We Have Always Lived in the Castle is one such read.

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    1. Awesome! Which others do you love?

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  13. So many great recommendations there, The Last Girlfriend on Earth, by Simon Rich and 84, Charing Cross Road, by Helene Hanff in particular. Also people need to stop reminding me that I need to read Dept. of Speculation, by Jenny Offill and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson

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    1. LOL, go on and take the plunge into Dept. of Speculation and Castle. So good!

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  14. Last Girlfriend on Earth sounds very interesting - I added it to my GR wishlist. :)

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    1. It's sort of wonderful and hilarious! I hope you can get to it.

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  15. I've had mixed success with short story collections but love, love novellas.

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  16. Blackbird House is going on my goodreads list now :) Thanks for the great recommendations!

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  17. So glad you shared more about booktubing!! You rock! Maybe some day I will venture into the vlogging ... maybe not. Ugh, I don't know.

    Ever since reading The Frozen Deep this winter, I've been wanting to read more novellas. Definitely writing some of your suggestions down!

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