Shorter novels have their own unique characteristics. Obviously they contain fewer words than longer novels do and therefore can be read more quickly. Short novels also are more portable, easier to schlep around. Short novels are even more intimate when you hold them in your hands because of their smaller size.
Many short novels give the illusion of greater intimacy in terms of their stories as well. They’re often more focused, tightly constructed, with an urgent sense that every word counts.
On a practical note, it’s often easier to convince people who don’t read books regularly to read short books rather than long ones. Shorter books seem more approachable, more “do-able,” less intimidating. People who would be overwhelmed by a long tome might actually pick up and read something shorter. So there’s a literacy-enhancing component to providing a website resource dedicated to good short novels.
Another reason for the GoodShortNovels website is to heighten awareness of some of the exquisite short novels that seem to have fallen off the radar screen of popular culture. Sometimes shorter works don’t get the respect they deserve. Admittedly there are the celebrated classics that most people have heard about, but there are quite a few good short novels that are unfairly ignored, or that are overlooked in the canon of a famous author who is known primarily for her or his “big” books. We will shine the light on some fresh titles from the past as well as the good short novels that most people already know about. And the website is taking an international approach, with the goal of including short novels originally written in other languages that are available in English translation as well as short novels originally written in English. As the number of titles on the website grows, it is intended to be global in reach.
Lastly, the book-award circuit often seems to buy into the myth that girth equals worth, as if a short novel could never be as valuable. Don’t misunderstand, the thousands of pages of Proust’s REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST are divine, but novels of lesser scale are not necessarily of lesser stature and importance.
And in our e-Review, we will review new short novels recently published for the first time and feature alongside them short classic novels of the past. So we hope to encourage readers to consider adding newly published short novels as well as classics to the list of books they’ve read. Click SUBSCRIBE and send us an email to receive the quarterly GoodShortNovels e-Review. (Again, be assured that we do not give out email addresses or contact information).
GoodShortNovels.com is the brainchild of Stedman Mays, a New York City-based literary agent--a tall guy with a passionate interest in good short novels and the movies they have inspired. Stedman Mays has been a panelist or speaker at literary conferences and seminars, including those sponsored by the Modern Language Association (the MLA), Washington Independent Writers, Gotham Writers' Workshop, and the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA). His essay on Michelangelo's writing, originally published in book form as part of THE GAY AND LESBIAN LITERARY HERITAGE, can be accessed on the Web through www.glbtq.com. He received his M.A. in English literature at the University of Virginia, and he has taught classes in composition and literature in the English department at Rutgers University.
Moral and technical support provided by webmaster and writer Garrett Gambino--average in height, but not wit.
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