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Books on the Nightstand published our final episode in July 2016. This is a place for listeners to find old episodes. 

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May 1, 2016

So many books, in praise of novellas, and we recommend a new novella by Graham Swift and a novel that is the first in a new science-fiction trilogy.


One-sit Wonders (07:30)

This week's episode was inspired by an article on by Cynan Jones called "The Case for Very Short Novels."

Michael and I talk a bit about the terminology ("novella," specifically), our relationship to short novels, and how we approach them.

Titles discussed:

  • On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
  • The Clothes They Stood Up In by Alan Bennett
  • Bartleby the Scrivener
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • The Time Machine by HG Wells
  • Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
  • The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

More titles are listed on the Wikipedia page for "Novella."

Please let us know your thoughts on novellas, and share some of your favorites.


Two books we can't wait for you to read (22:55)


Mothering Sunday   Sleeping Giants


My pick this week is a novella, Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift. Just 177 pages, it packs a punch that belies its small size. Most of the novel is set in just 5 hours in the spring of 1924, with the story of a young housemaid who spends her day off in an illicit assignation with the son of the wealthy neighbors. There, her life changes in an instant.

Michael takes a different direction, telling us about the first book in a science fiction trilogy. Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Nouvel starts with a young girl, Rose, who falls off her bicycle into a hole in the ground that turns out to be a chamber that is actually a metal hand. Fast forward 20 years, and Rose is a physicist who is helping to investigate the origin of this hand and what it means.