Armchair BEA Day 3: Expanding Blogging Horizons & Novellas/Short Stories



Hello, fellow bookworms.

On this third day of BEA, book bloggers are asked to talk about expanding blogging horizons and favorite short stories or novellas.

[title subtitle=”Expanding Blogging Horizons”][/title]

The last couple of years were big blog years. After almost 5 years of blogging, I started accepting books for review on a regular basis, I started participating actively in book blogging memes, being more organized about my blogging schedule, and just shaping it into something more than a site that my mom and 5 friends read and liked.

I also went self-hosted last year, which was a huge learning curve, and now that I am done with that final frontier, I am looking for the next big challenge. And I just don’t know what that is.

People are talking book vlogging, talking about it with a great deal of enthusiasm, but I really can’t be bothered with it, for the simple reason that video is just not my thing – either watching or recording.

So what’s there? I admit I have absolutely no idea whatsoever and I am pretty much groping for ideas here.

Do you know or plan the direction you want your blog to take?

For regular readers, what direction would you like this blog to take?

[title subtitle=”Favorite Shorts or Novellas”][/title]

I never was and will never be a huge fan of short stories. For me bigger is mostly better. Also, most of the ones I read were just too short to make any last impression on me.

But after I started blogging, I stumbled across many great short reads, some of which I”ll share here with you.

A classic short is The Death of Ivan Ilyich and other stories by Leo Tolstoy. The title story is a great introspective look into the meaning of life and death. All the other stories are on similar lines too.

Alice Munro won the Nobel prize for fiction last year, and I can highly recommend the one collection of short stories of hers that I read – Dear Life. Another nice collection is Bluebeard’s Egg by Margaret Atwood. And I”ll round off this trilogy of women writers I heartily recommend with Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth, which is miles better than her longer novels.

Another set of shorts I recommend with some hesitation is Yesterday’s Weather by Anne Enright. I didn’t like it much when I read it, but a lot of the stories never went out of my head. And the writing is top-class.

I guess I would have liked the book if I hadn’t attempted to read all the stories back-to-back. There were too many average stories that brought down the quality of the book, but the good ones were so, so good, they”ll linger in my mind forever, I think.

A memorable novella for me is The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. Clocking in at around 160 pages, it’s a short read, but by no means quick. You’ll spend ages thinking about the characters and their motivations, and wondering what exactly happened at the end. If you like a neat book with a tidy ending, this is not the book for you, but if you like something a little open, and which makes you scratch your head in puzzlement a bit, you will love this book. Plus, it’s a Man Booker winner, and it is beautifully written. It easily worked its way into my heart.

So these are my recommendations in the short story/novella genre. Have you read any of these books? Can you recommend me your favorite shorts or novellas?

  • I haven’t read any of Alice Munro’s works, so someday I plan to read them. I tend to enjoy short stories by themselves, just not as part of a collection.

    • Nishita

      @athirac:disqus I’m with you on that Athira. I dislike reading short stories all together too. I like to take short breaks in between each story. Ideally, I’d love to read them all at different times but it doesn’t happen because of logistical reasons – have to return book to library, publisher is waiting for review, and so on.

      I highly recommend Alice Munro, she’s a fantastic writer.

  • Rachel Rooney

    Isn’t it funny how some books stay with you regardless of whether you liked them at the time? I like to revisit old reviews and ratings because of how distance can change the way I feel about a book.

  • Congratulations on the advances you’ve made with your blog. Did you have a hard time with the self-hosting thing?

    • Nishita

      @allisonbruning:disqus It was difficult but not as difficult as I thought it would be.

  • Good for you viz self hosting! I toy with the idea, but haven’t yet taken the plunge….

  • Expanding your blog doesn’t necessarily have to be reaching into a new format. Is there a new type of book you’d like to embrace? Some way you can diversify your reading experience? That counts, too! 😀

  • I just started self-hosting last week and it’s gone fairly well…but after 7 years with Blogger I was pretty comfortable there. Too many bugs, though! I’m like you with the vlogging. I don’t have the patience to watch through the videos, especially as some people can ramble on for so long! LOL! 😉

    I would love to read Sense of an Ending but haven’t gotten to it yet. One of my favorite novellas is Something Wicked This Way Comes. Bradbury spins a great tale!

    • Nishita

      @trinicapini:disqus we think along the same lines. I can’t stand people talking on a video for a long time, plus it’s hard to figure out what they’re saying if voice is too soft, loud, or accented.

      Thanks for the recommendation for Something Wicked…It sounds very interesting.

  • I think moving to self hosted is a big step and one i have debated about taking. I’ve not gone down that road yet because there is so much to learn.

    • Nishita

      @tanyaboughtflower:disqus It was a huge move for me, in terms of technical know-how, but also financially. A free WordPress blog was hassle-free, but after so many years of blogging, I really wanted to own my content in every way possible.

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