Thursday, August 7, 2014

Pssst...Nancy Martin Reveals There's More to the Story


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: LOVE these TBR piles! You all are amazing… as you can see below. And we’ll have even more as the week goes on. Every table tells a story, right? 

I read somewhere that novels are getting longer. Greg Iles terrific Natchez Burning, for instance. and an article in  the Guardian said : "Ken Follett's doorstopper Fall of Giants, if anyone's counting, is about 850 pages." And then it said: "probably to appeal to his American readers."  Huh?

But have you heard the expression “T-L-D-R”? Too Long, Didn’t Read, it means. And others say--"American readers" (whatever that means) want to read shorter.

Our fabulous wonderful Nancy Martin has been thinking about length—yes, she’s a glamorous fashionista, and so is her Nora Blackbird. (Her new A LITTLE NIGHT MURDER is out—finally!—right now!)  But Nancy’s not talking about hemlines—she’s talking about lines of type.











A Novella Idea
    By Nancy Martin

What exactly was Rhett Butler doing when he was “blockade running?” What went on in Boo Radley’s home? What kind of crime does Morelli fight when Stephanie Plum is busy catching bail jumpers?

Questions like these are writer heaven. Sure, we know what our secondary characters are doing while the main character is busy telling the story. But readers rarely get to find out.

Until now.  I think we’re entering the Golden Age of the Novella.

Me, I write a mystery series and publish one hardcover a year. When I’m at the top of my game, it takes me about nine months to write a Blackbird Sisters Mystery. By contrast, when I made a good living at romance novels years ago, I could write two or three books in the same amount of time. But those romances were only 200 pages in manuscript and featured a streamlined A story. The B story was very short, and the C story nonexistent.  

My Blackbird books are driven by a convoluted mystery plot and embellished with B, C, D and E stories—and sometimes more.  I may have several plot threads going--each addressing some current event or subject that takes research.  Plus after the draft is finished, I like to tweak the language to make the book more fun to read. Bottom line? I can’t dash off a full-length mystery in a few weeks.

Can I get tacky here and talk about money?  Because I can only write one book a year, I only get paychecks twice every twelve months. And royalties come in dribs and drabs. That makes for tricky cash-flow.

So I looked around and noticed other writers were supplementing their A writing with some B projects.  The short story has been around a long time in all genres, but not very lucrative. The novella e-book can be priced in the sweet spot of 99 cents to $2.99  and make real money.  Which makes it good business for writers--especially when our readers are clamoring for more, more, more, faster, faster, faster. 

Creatively, the novella can be a blast. As my series matured---published this week, A LITTLE NIGHT MURDER is the 10th Blackbird Sisters mystery—my protagonist developed relationships with more characters than I can squeeze into a 400 page manuscript. Not without spending the first 100 pages just on backstory. But my email and FB contact with readers told me they really want to know more about the other people in Nora Blackbird’s life. Writing about those secondary characters has been fun.

The novella has become a way to keep readers hooked, and it’s a pretty good source of pin money for me.  Plus I get to fully explore the characters I only knew in a secondary sense. Win, win, win!

So far, I’ve published two novellas about Nora Blackbird’s lover, Mick Abruzzo, the son of a Jersey mob boss and a sometime criminal himself. His efforts to stay out of the life of crime—efforts that aren’t always successful—have made good amateur PI novellas. His stories are more gritty than my Blackbird books, which makes them a creative change of pace for me. Readers who buy the e-books will have better insight into what he’s doing when he keeps secrets from Nora.  His story arc is much different from the one she perceives.

In September, I’ll be publishing a slightly longer novella about Nora’s former sister-in-law, who will be looking into the murder of Emma Blackbird’s husband . . . perhaps at the hands of a certain mob family.  I took one of my previously published romances (pub date 1987!) and rewrote it for this purpose. Good use of my backlist? I hope so. If readers enjoy this one, I’ve got thirty more romances to tinker with—which I can do much faster than writing a whole new mystery.

Maybe the novella is rising in popularity because readers don’t have (or make) the time to read long books anymore. We’re all scrolling through Facebook or trying to communicate with 111 characters instead of reading full-length novels. Are we dumbing down? Losing our attention spans?  Or are we just too busy to read as much as we used to?

So what do you think? What minor character’s story would you read in novella form? What kind of trouble did Rhett Butler get into when he wasn’t charming the ladies of Atlanta?

HANK: Oh, what a brilliant idea!  Rebecca from Mrs. Danvers’ POV? The poor misunderstood Queen of Hearts in Alice? (Hmmm…) What happened to Dill? (I guess we know…) Or how about Bess and George tell all about the real Nancy Drew?  (And do you say “TL,DR?”) 

What do you think, Reds?  A copy of A LITTLE NIGHT MURDERS to one lucky commenter!

And now: today's nightstands!




Lourdes Venard (I see Writes of Passage! xo More to come on that!)


Red Kaye Barley (and monkey!)
Sharon Hopkins (very sleek)
Caroline Richardson Mahaffey (but she knows where everything is!)
Jay Shepherd (has his work cut out for him...)
Brandee C. (oops, more than Jay, even!)


More tomorrow! 

******************************
Nancy Martin is the author of nearly fifty popular fiction novels in the mystery, romance, historical and suspense genres.  She has served on the board of Sisters in Crime and is a founding member of Pennwriters. An award-winning, bestselling novelist, she announces the release of her tenth Blackbird Sisters Mystery---A LITTLE NIGHT MURDER in August, 2014. Find her on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/authornancymartin 

48 comments:

Joan Emerson said...

Since I never choose a book to read based on the number of its pages, I’ve never really given the length of a book too much notice, but I guess I’ve read a few long ones recently . . . "I Am Pilgrim" is 624 pages; "The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair" is a bit longer at 656 pages; "Natchez Burning" hits an almost-unbelievable 800 pages. And yet . . . if the story is good, I’m a happy camper.

That said, I’ve read some really great novellas and particularly enjoy them when they are a glimpse into another character in the series. I'm definitely a fan.

As for those secondary characters . . . Yes to Bess and George and that Boo Radley has always fascinated me . . . .

Mark Baker said...

I find I do have a sweet spot of 300-350 pages. Anything longer than that, and my brain starts feeling like I should be done already. Heck, I'm reading a MG book right now that is 440 pages. It's reading quickly because it's Middle Grade, but even so, I'm having to remind myself of that as I hit the 300 page mark and still have a ways to go.

And I'm loving the book, so that's not the issue at all. As I said, it's a mental thing.

I'm not a big fan of the e-novellas because I don't have an e-reader. I feel like I'm missing out on something since I can't read them easily.

Ellen Kozak said...

One of the best Star Trek fan stories I ever read essentially took place during a commercial break in an episode of the original series. The show had gone from action to ha-ha-wrap-up-on-the-bridge with all wounds healed-- and that fan story explored the healing of those wounds, both physical and emotional (which had to have taken days, if not longer). I was fascinated.

So, yeah, there is room for a novella or short story that fills in the cracks or gives you the back story. Sometimes having that in the original book would throw off the pacing of your novel, but why not explore it for the sake of your fans?

Edith Maxwell said...

I've noticed this trend toward novellas, Nancy. Curious: did you self-publish the novellas, or did they go through your usual publisher? If self, do you have rights to use those secondary characters however you wish? Thanks!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

You now, I hardly ever read novellas. Wonder why? I think Joe Finder wrote one about his thriller character, and Charlaine Harris does too, right?

Long books, if they are good, don't bother me at all. I am aware of the rhythm, you know? If it's a longer book, my writer/reader brain understand that the story arc will be different, so the metabolism is different.

NAncy tell us more about your new Blackbird! Are you working on more? Did Nora ever find a dress?

Cate Noble said...

Glad this topic came up! Novellas are great touchstones to keep hungry readers nourished between the abyss/famine-like periods that sometime stretch between full-size book releases.

Novellas are especially perfect to keep and read on my iPhone. For me, the tiny phone screen is okay for short spells that don't require the same commitment as a novel. And I've noticed that as the magazine selection at doctor, dentist, etc., offices has grown more dismal, the reading time on my iPhone has increased.

k said...

I do love a long book now and then. Take for example, Diana Gabaldon's Outlander books and GRRM's Game of Thrones titles. Both series feature long, long books but it never feels that way when reading them.

That said, since starting the blog, I have been more conscious of book length. In order to keep the blog active, I have to post at least a review a week. To get a book that I want to review, I typically have to read 2-3 books.

As such, when I throw a long book into the mix, it can affect that ratio. But books like I Am Pilgrim are worth the extra reading that needs to happen in the weeks following.

I'm not sure of the novella craze. I can understand it from a financial perspective, but it often seems to me (and I should say, I have only read a limited few) that often the financial reason is the ONLY reason for these. The stories often aren't well-written or insightful.

Kristopher said...

Oops. That k comment above was from me. Hit the enter too soon. ;)

Karen in Ohio said...

I read everything--short, long, and in between--as long as it's engrossing and well-written. I rarely pay attention to the length of a book, and frankly don't cotton to why length means anything. But that's me. Your mileage may vary.

But Nancy Martin on JRW!! Two favorites together! Good luck with the launch of A Little Night Murder, hon!

Kaye Barley said...

Although I am a lover of short stories, I'm not a fan of novellas, but I'm not sure why.

Big books are what I dream of. Long, sweeping sagas - I love them! Give me more of those, please.

(that is Sissy Sockmonkey you see on my nightstand. She loves to play peek-a-boo).

Mary Sutton said...

My personally, I don't think about length. If the book is good, I'll read it. However, my bibliophile father (who is the one who got me hooked on reading lo, these many years ago) has definitely developed a "sweet spot" of 300 or so pages. In his opinion, if you can tall the story in 300 pages, you need better editing. He's definitely moved from sweeping narrative (he read Sho-gun), to faster pace with snappy dialog.

As such, he adore's Hank's books, Hallies, and Deborah Crombie's (I've told him to check Julia's).

I like the backstory novellas/long short stories and have experimented with them myself. In fact, I was just telling a friend the other night that the five short stories I've written thus far are a perfect background to understanding who the characters are at the beginning of the soon-to-be finished novel and how they got to this point in their lives.

And I absolutely ADORE learning a little more about those secondary characters through the stuff that just doesn't fit in the book.

Nancy, I see a binge read in my future of Blackbird stories. =)

Libby Dodd said...

An interesting question.
I like long books IF they are well written. It's nice to have time to really get into the characters' lives.
I tend to be hesitant about novellas unless I love the author's full length work. Cynicism about motives? Maybe. But now that you've explained some of the "facts of life" of novel writing, I will look at novellas differently.

Susan Elia MacNeal said...

Welcome, Nancy! I don't really judge a book on it's length — although, now that Mark brings it up, I think the sweet spot is probably around 350-400 pages.... A novella on its own may seem a bit ... spare, but a novella as a bridge to the next book sounds fantastic.

Deborah Crombie said...

Hi Nancy! So interesting! I haven't read many novellas, and those were written by friends. I do love long books--my big reads this year have been Connie Willis's Black Out and All Clear, and Deb Harkness's The Book of Life. But I have so many books to read and so little time that I've begun to find myself cringing a bit when I pick up a book that is over 350 pages. And I find that with a few exceptions, if a book goes over 400 pages I feel it needed editing. Is that an accurate assessment, or less time, less patience? I don't know...

Congrats on the new Blackbird! Looking forward to it!

Karen in Ohio said...

A friend recently recommended The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. In the book, the title character, a bookseller, crabs about books, and makes the point that a book has to be at least 150 pages, but no more than X pages (I can't remember, but it seems to me it was 800).

At the end of the book, which was really excellent, I realized there were 156 pages to it. Which is kind of amusing, really.

Larry Gasper said...

I've been burned by 300 pages of story in 800 page novels several times in science fiction series I used to follow so I find the 300 to 400 page range of most mysteries a good length for a novel.
For a novella, I'd like to see one from the POV of Elvis Cole's cat. (and I don't even like cat mysteries.)

Julia said...

I've always enjoyed novellas - as I've mentioned here before, I grew up reading science fiction, and the novella (and its cousin, the novelette!) were very popular forms back when the great SF anthology magazines were publishing. GALAXY, ASTOUNDING, THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, ASIMOV'S: almost every issue was anchored with a 7,500 - 17,500 word novelette or a 17,500 - 45,000 word novella. It wasn't just the SF mags, either - 45 to fifty years ago there were plenty of print outlets for short mystery fiction, romance, and mainstream fiction. Back in the seventies, REDBOOK used to publish a novella or serialized novel in each edition, and SEVENTEEN was well known for its short stories!

I assume writers back in the day had the same motivations for writing shorter-than-novel-length fiction: you can produce more work, get it published faster, experiment with different styles and subjects and establish a wider readership. And I believer readers liked shorter works for the same reason they do today: it's a faster read requiring less commitment than a 300pp book.

As we all know, the print market for novellas and short stories is all but dead. Thankfully, the rise of self-publishing has lead to a resurgence in these old forms. It may take a while for readers to get reacquainted with the novellas and novelettes their parents and grandparents enjoyed, but I think we're on the doorstep of a new age of shorter fiction.

storytellermary said...

I like the little taste of the continuing story, the ability to play with point of view . . . like a mid-afternoon snack while waiting for supper to be ready. I think it's important that major plot points be brought to the main series because all readers might not read the novellas.
I loved the insights and appeteaser . . . Now off to get your book! ;-)

Nancy M said...

Okay, believe it or not, I went to the gym this morning. Sorry for the delay responding! I think the complaints about length are hilarious, but then I read a lot on my e-reader because I CAN'T READ SMALL PRINT ANYMORE AND MUST MAKE THE TYPE AS BIG AS POSSIBE. (HOw do you guys write comments that aren't riddled with typos?? I can barely see this little box, let alone type accurately.) Anyway, once I make the print big enough to read the page count jumps to 2000 pages. I bought The Goldfinch in hardcover, but I wonder how many pages it runs in gigantic print?

Nancy M said...

Edith, I did self-pub the novellas. (Although Penguin did pub a Blackbird one in an anthology, then re-released it as a single last year.) Nobody owns my secondary characters but me. The books are copyrighted, but not characters.

Deborah, I confess to thinking a lot of books need trimming these days. Are authors being self-indulgent? Are editors too busy to edit? Or am I just impatient? The question about whether or not readers want a longer book or a shorter book makes me think of the Jane Austen quote, "If a book is well-written, I always find it too short." (Did she really say that?)

Also Dorothy Parker: "Brevity is the soul of lingerie."

That said, my current Blackbird book is nearly 50 pages longer than the last few. I heard a lot of readers complain they read the earlier books in a single sitting. So I thought I'd challenge them this time!

Diane Vallere said...

I think my sweet spot is under 300. That seems to be best for a nice, tight, humorous mystery with interesting side plots. I've noticed some series that hold early books to under 300 and then future books go to 320-330. Perhaps as an author builds a following, the publisher allows for higher word count?

I love the idea of secondary characters getting their time in the spotlight. I've been toying with something like this myself, but can't tackle it for a few years because of other commitments.

Nurse Ann said...

Back in the day I had to wait for the paperback to come out because I couldn't afford the hard cover. And I could barely afford the paperbacks in any quantity. So I definitely took length into consideration.
Times are better now but my eyes are worse. All my reading is on my Kindle. I was an "early adopter" and I am a firm believer in being able to carry my library around and never dusting it.

Still I check the length of a book before I buy it. Anything less than 300 pages is suspect, less than 200 will wait until it is the e version of remaindered.

I might buy a novella by a favorite author but only if it is less than three bucks. And only if I am desperate to read something of hers.

My sweet spot is 400-500 pages. I read a lot, so that will last me almost a week. (Some books I never want to end, like The Goldfinch. So I consciously slowed my reading to make it last.)

I never ever want to read a book in a single sitting. Period. I need some bang for my buck. So thanks in advance Jungle Red authors! Keep 'em coming and bigger is better.

Ann in Rochester

Nancy M said...

Diane--When I first started writing mysteries, my editor pushed for longer books "to give the reader more value." Then she urged me to write shorter because I was wasting trees. (OKay, not her real words.) Now I think everybody's torn.---Ebooks can be as long and juicy as we want. As for saving paper---I think print publishers believe we can all read teensy tiny print. (But my view is that the reader who reads the most mysteries is over 60 and wants mass market paperbacks.--Except the print is too damn small!) No wonder women over 60 are snatching up ereaders with so much enthusiasm.

Nancy M said...

Nurse Ann, I think we're sisters. Ditto what you said!

I am struck by the photos of your TBR piles, though. How few mass market paperbacks! Everybody is reading in hardcover or trade size! What does this mean, I wonder??

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Yeah, If a book is well-written, who cares? I mean, was anyone impatient with THE STAND? How long is Gone with the wind? And right, The Goldfinch is burning up the place.

Wonder how ereaders are affecting this..since it's all about per cent.

Sometime we know a book is long only because we see it, right?

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Nurse Ann, SO right! People say to me--"oh, I loved xyz book. I read it in one night!" And I think--poor author! They worked for SO LONG on that!

And Nancy M--good observation--very few MMPBs. Huh. What do you all think?

Penny said...

What a great idea...Both to write and read. I've been reading lots of short stories lately and have outlined 7 to write.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

AND THE WINNER of Skin of the Wolf by SJ Rozan is Pat D!

The winner of the arc of TRUTH BE TOLD is mmgage.

The winner of QUEEN OF HEARTS is Beverly Searle.

Contact me at h ryan at whdh dot com

FChurch said...

Nancy, how have I missed the Blackbird sisters?? Adding to my pile. Yay!

Short, long, in-between. I really don't care about length. Unless the book is really, really great and I don't want it to end....

I love novellas with secondary characters. I think the first ones I noticed were Anne Perry's Christmas novellas. So much fun--and just the right length for a secondary character. These ideas wouldn't work in one of her full-length novels, but they stand alone very well--in other words, as well-written as her regular series. And that is what is most important to me--if someone is just knocking off additional works for the income-stream, I might dip into one, but never come back. I want what I read to be worth my time, and quality doesn't have to have anything to do with length.

Nancy M said...

Hank, I set out to write page-turners, so I'm glad readers feel the need to keep turning to find out what happens next. But sometimes a fast pace means the story is slight, too! So, Goldilocks, what's juuuuuust right? I think the criteria readers use to pick their favorite writers is an amalgamation---the balance of story and pace and material and length and character. And print size!

As for the decline of mass markets---I think publishers screwed themselves---wink, wink. The price must be kept low enough, but no so low that the book isn't profitable. And the shrinking of print means the prime customers for such books---people over 60--can't read them! (Sisters in Crime did a study with Bowker a couple of years ago, determining the age of mystery readers. If you haven't read that study, it's available on the Sisters in Crime website.) We all like to think we're writing for hip 20-somethings, but......no. And publishers are gently urging those mass market readers over to digital where they can keep costs down and readers like the price.

Nancy M said...

FChurch, how have I missed those Anne Perry novellas??? Thanks for the reading tip! Yes, even her secondary characters are beautifully fleshed out.

As for authors "just knocking off additional works for the income-stream,"--I wish we could believe all writers do their work for the love of the craft. But I'm still paying a mortgage, so I must think with my savings account in mind, not just with my creative juices. Otherwise, I might have to--gasp!---get a real job! And I just don't have the wardrobe for that. ;-) Despite Hank's very flattering fashionista intro, I am at this very moment wearing gym clothes. As I do most days. Who can afford to dress well??

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

I was working at home recently, and the FedEx guy came to the door. I answered--in sweat pants, t-shirt,hair on the top of my head, no makeup.

"OhH," the Fedex guy said, all disappointed, "this has to be signed for by Hank Phillippi Ryan."

"I'm Hank Phillippi Ryan," I said.

"REALLY?" he said.

Karen in Ohio said...

Hank, he probably expected a man!

Deb Romano said...

I do read and enjoy novellas. I take length in consideration only because it can be physically difficult for me to hold a longer book in my hands. That's where my Kindle is so helpful: if I see a thick book I am sure I will enjoy, I'll purchase it for the Kindle, and save myself lots of aches and pains. (I always laugh when I hear someone say "I love the feel of a 'real' book in my hands". I won't get into how a 'real' book feels in my hands if it's over 800 pages long!)

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Oh, good one, Karen! Nope. He knew me from TV. And was sorely surprised. :-)

Nancy M said...

Hank, I'm astonished that you even own a pair of sweatpants. Let alone wear them!

Deb, you're not alone in being unable to hold a book. My aunt, who loves reading, can't handle a hardcover anymore. That forced her to learn to use a Nook---which was also a good thing. With wifi in the nursing home, she can download whatever she wants. My checklist for The Home, when my time comes, is wifi!

Hallie Ephron said...

Hi, Nancy! Your novella sounds wonderful!

Some of my favorite stories are novellas. Breakfast at Tiffany's. Turn of the Screw. Miss Lonelyhearts.
Reading on an e-reader I find I lose a sense of how long the book is.

FChurch said...

Nancy, I'm all for authors making money from their writing--I was thinking along the lines of something poorly written which will sell simply because it has a certain author's name attached to it--and I'm not thinking of anyone in particular--it's just something I've seen in a lifetime of reading.

As long as it's well-written, the more writing the better--novellas, novels, short stories, short-short stories--it's all good!

Nancy M said...

FChurch--My two novellas have made Amazon bestseller lists (one is considered a "one hour" read, the other a "two hour" read, so different lists.) And because you can take a peek at the first few pages of any Amazon book, I read some of the competition. And, wow, are you right. The quality is all over the board. But do readers care anymore? Not all of us. Sigh!

Hallie--A Good Man is Hard to Find, Stephen King's Apt Pupil. So many good ones!

Pat D said...

I don't care about the length of a book as long as I am enthralled by it. I started using a Nook mainly to get novellas by favorite authors that were available only as e-books. I enjoy them. They mainly flesh out the characters or give us a slice of time in their lives that doesn't warrant a novel. Or they're prequels to a novel I've read. At any rate I enjoy them. Now as to the Blackbird sisters. . . they will be put on the TBR pile. Thanks!

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

WELCOME dear friend Nancy--and congrats on the new book. I don't believe for a minute that you aren't at the top of your game!

We're going to have this discussion again week after next, but I think there is a lot of pressure on authors to produce faster. Which isn't an excuse for shoddy work, but part of the explanation. And readers are impatient--lots of people don't want to wait a year or two for a book...

I don't like ereaders for the reason that I like to see how far along I am in the book, and how much to go. By the way Hank, John adored THE STAND based on your rec. And it's on our ipad, but I look at it and say 1000 pages? How am I going to get through that?? I also have hardcovers of THE GOLDFINCH and Wally Lamb's new book on the nightstand. But they are big and fat, and if it's late and I'm weary, I will reach for something that feels more manageable. Silly, but true:)

Nancy M said...

Are you doing a book club read of The Stand? I remember it from year ago--and thinking the first half was one of the best books I had ever read. After that, I wondered where his editor was. Does that impression still hold up for anyone?

Hugs to you, Miss Roberta! (Y'know, there's a little sliding scale thingie at the bottom of an e-reader page that shows how far along you are. Works great.)

Kathy Reel said...

I am late, late, late on here today. Had the grandgirls again, and it's hard to find a time to get online while they're here. Interesting topic today.

I love long books, but I have so much to read that I pace myself on them. I'm just now reading Diana Gabaldon's latest, Written in My Own Heart's Blood. As a dedicated Outlander fan, I expect and enjoy the 800 to 1,000 pages each book has been. However, there are books that have been too long and irritated me, such as the darling of the book world, The Goldfinch. 200 less pages would have improved it immensely. Sujata Massey's did cut 200 pages from her wonderful book, The Sleeping Dictionary, and it is one of my favorite reads. I still have The Illuminators waiting for me due to its length and my having so much else to read. The lengths of all the Jungle Reds' books are just right, and even Goldilocks would say so.

I am a big fan of the novella, which is gaining popularity. The Outlander has a few, Rhys' Molly Murhpy books, and Deanna Raybourn's Lady Grey. I would love novellas from all the Reds, as I love all the characters so much.

Thanks Nancy for an interesting post and yet another mystery series that I must read.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Ethan Frome, I 'd say, too.

ANd you know what-a novella is a PERFECT airplane book. hmm. Let's think about this.

Anonymous said...

The novellas are fine--I can read them on my Kindle while I wait to see a doctor, or waiting in the car, or...almost anywhere. BUT...as C. S. Lewis said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." The book needs to be well-written and totally engrossing, of course. Case in point: Cynthia Harrod-Eagles' 35 Morland Dynasty books contain 500 to 700 pages each, and I've been kept awake too many hours over every one of them. (And the hard covers do hurt when they fall on one's finally sleeping face.) Lenita Virtue

Nancy M said...

Wait--Ethan Frome was a novella????? When I was in the 8th grade, it seemed longer than Moby Dick!!

Can I also say that the Outlander books are a hot topic at my gym? All the men are clueless, but they're eager for the TV series. How about that?

Kristopher said...

Happy to hear that the Outlander craze is spreading around your Gym Nancy. They are amazing books.

Men seem hesitant to pick them up - they are typically filed in the romance section, even though Gabaldon does not agree - but once they sample them, most that I have met enjoy them.

They really are an example of a book that defies classification: Historical, military, sociology, romance, mystery, sci-fi. It's all in there.

Like happened with Game of Thrones, once this tv show takes off, everyone will be jumping on board (and we long time (20years+) fans will be thinking "what took you so long."

Nancy M said...

Hey, Reds, thanks so much for hosting me today. Hank,thank you for doing the heavy lifting! ;-) It's always a pleasure to hang out with these feisty ladies!