Thursday, October 2, 2014

Thursday Thoughts (3): 2-4-1 Novellas / Bookish Fandoms

Thursday Thoughts is an original, interactive weekly meme created and hosted by Ashley at OK, Let’s Read. Each week there is a new book-related topic. Anyone and everyone is encouraged to join in the discussion!
I missed Thursday Thoughts last week and I really wanted to talk about the topic so I thought I'd do two quick mini responses in one post.

September 25: Novellas* - What are your general opinions on novellas or short stories in a series or otherwise? Have you read any novellas? Do you always make sure to read the novellas in a series? Do you read them where they belong (i.e. between the correct two books) or are you not too bothered about that sort of thing?

I used to think I didn't like short stories. For whatever reason my teachers never covered the standard classic novels in high school (Lord of the Flies and Shakespeare were the only exceptions), but instead we read a lot of short stories. Like, A LOT, and like most teenagers I had the habit of disliking whatever it was I was being told to read. So while we were reading Lamb to the Slaughter in class and I was hating analyzing every paragraph, I would be reading classics like Of Mice and Men in my free time and feeling quite pleased with myself. Of Mice and Men was my favourite book throughout high school and is probably the book I reread the most. And while I didn't know it at the time Of Mice and Men is a novella. It's very short and I can usually read it in one sitting, which is why I like stand-alone novellas so much. They are usually quick, easy reads, that don't take much time but still feel substantial. I don't usually read novellas that are part of a larger series though (I will admit that I read that Twilight one many years ago - it was my first and last series-related novella), I generally don't see them as necessary to fully enjoying and understanding the series as a whole so I don't waste my time with them.

Now, my opinion on short stories has changed quite a bit since I finished high school and college and I can say I appreciate them much more now. I have to credit Junot Diaz's This is How You Lose Her for changing my opinion of the short story genre. I absolutely loved that book; I don't reread often, but this is one of those books that don't make rereading feel like a waste of time. Other short stories I enjoy come from Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things. The Lady Astronaut of Mars was also a wonderful read and was nominated for The Hugo Award for Best Novelette (which I didn't realise was a story that falls between the length of a short story and a novella).

Of Mice and Men This Is How You Lose Her Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders The Lady Astronaut of Mars

October 2: Bookish Fandoms* - Do you have any experience with fandoms in the bookish world? What fandoms do you consider yourself to be a part of? Have you ever created something pertaining to your favorite books as a part of the fandom (i.e. artwork, music, fanfic, cosplay)? Can you share your creation with us?

The way I view fandoms is like this: If you are a fan of something, you are in the fandom.
I think a lot of emphasis is placed on the super crazy-obsessed fans that write fanfiction, make edits, reblog anything and everything related to their favourite fandom all the live-long day. But in all honesty, those people are in the minority, and those people are usually teens.
I know I'm generalizing here, but I'm not in school anymore, I have a full time job, I have a family, I have pets that need caring for, and my kids have extracurricular activities that require chauffeuring and chaperoning and cheering on. I have a pretty full life. I don't have hours a day to spend on tumblr, or writing fanfic, or making edits. And even if I had the time, I most certainly lack the talent to create anything worth sharing. Some of the fan-created stuff is pretty amazing, but it still takes bravery to share things that you make and love with the world.
With that being said I consider myself to be in many fandoms; I have a deathly hallows tattoo, I've been obsessed with a lot of things and could list every fandom label from Trekkie to whovian that I can identify with and bookish fandoms are no exception. But since the topic today is just "Bookish Fandoms" and not "General Fandoms", I'll just list those:
  • Potterhead (obvs)
  • Sherlockian
  • Austenite (or is it Janeite?)
  • Tolkienite
  • Randlander
  • Tribute
I'm sure there are probably lots more but these are the ones I could find names for. What do you think of Bookish Fandoms? Do you write fanfic? Make art? Do you even identify as being "in the fandom" or do you think that those labels only refer to the super-obsessed among the fanbase? Share your thoughts!

  Fandoms Unite


  1. Short Stories are underrated. I remember reading a quote somewhere which that said that there are no perfect novels but there are perfect short stories (maybe it was J.G. Ballard?) and I am inclined to agree with that statement. DH Lawrence, Flannery O'Connor, Raymond Carver, Alice Munro and Ray Bradbury are someone of the best in the business just to name a few. I've been thinking of doing a weekly short-story meme but its doubtful I could get many people to participate. It would be fun though.

    Your enthusiasm towards Junot Diaz's "This is How You Lose Her" makes me want to read this selection of stories even more. I read "Oscar Wao" earlier this year and found it to be an absolute delight. So funny and heartbreaking. Love his writing style. I take it you have read this one. Any brief thoughts on it?

    As a fan of brevity, I tend to be apprehensive about lengthy novels (there are exceptions) and much prefer shorter, compact works. I'm glad to see the love for Of Mice and Men which is one of my all-time favorites too.

    1. Thank you for your comments! I've got Munro's Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage sitting on my shelf and can't wait to get to it, so I'm glad to see you're a fan. I would definitely be interested in a short story meme if it's something you decide to go ahead with, whether weekly, or otherwise.

      Unfortunately I haven't gotten to Oscar Wao yet, but again, it is sitting on my shelf (my shelf of unread books is getting out of hand, I'm working hard to remedy this), and I am hoping to get to it in the next month or so.

      I have a love/ hate relationship with long novels. I love the depth and how easy it is to get lost in the world of a longer novel, but I struggle with the length of time it takes me to get through them, because I always feel like I could cross two or three shorter works off of my TBR in the time it takes me to read a longer tome. I'm trying to change my thinking on my TBR list/ pile because the pressure I put on myself because of it tends to hamper my overall enjoyment of whatever I'm reading.

      I'm always happy to find other Steinbeck fans! I'm currently doing a Sherlock Holmes read along but Cannery Row is next up on my list.