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Lizzy Siddal

I'm sure you'll enjoy both subscriptions. As fond as I am of NYRB classics, I utterly adore The Art of the Novella.

LauraC

I'm actually doing your essay reads since I own both of the essay books that most of your choices were in. I don't think that I have read more than 2 or 3 essays since high school, although I had read "Unpacking My Library." I'm reading one per week and have done about 4 of them so far. I read the essay, and then read your comments and any others'. Very enjoyable. And thanks for the link at the top of the page, it would be quite difficult otherwise.

Susan E

Those Art of the Novella volumes are quite appealing, and I look forward to hearing more about your subscription selections. I'm trying to read from my shelves or I would be signing up myself :)

janakay

Both your subscriptions sound wonderful--what a great way to get through these dreary winter months. I particularly love the novellas! Aside from their visual appeal (I hope it doesn't sound too perverse to say that I love handling them--the texture of the covers is great and the colors are so visually appealing), the novellas are such a nice, quick "hook" into those classic writers that I might not otherwise explore. I've also found them useful for those periods when I couldn't handle a full-length novel. Last January, for example, I squeezed in James' Lessons of the Master and Wharton's The Touchstone during an intense time at work. It was a fun little project: two great American writers, both considering (at least in part, there's a lot more going on in both novellas) the effect that a great novelist had on those intimately involved in his or her life. I think for awhile Melville House was also selling five of the novellas, all dealing with duels, as a package (Hmm-another great reading project!) I'll look forward to your reviews.

Danielle

Aren't they great little books? I'm so glad that I decided to do the subscription thing--I'll have good book mail to look forward to all year long now. And I love novellas, so a good way to squeeze in more classics and get a taste of authors who I've not yet had a chance to read!

Danielle

That's really cool. I wish I would have stuck with my essay project. I think I made it halfway through the year. I've toyed with the idea of going back to it, but I seem to have too many other things going on and haven't actually done anything about it. Are you reading from the Lopate book? It's an excellent reference, as is the century of essays. I'm glad the tab helps--I need to update the short stories list as I've read more that I can add to it. I'm getting better at tagging posts and making them easier to find. It's funny as I can see the post that draws in people--how they end up 'finding' me and so often it is an essay that someone googled that landed them here--another reason to try and read more--more chances of chatting with people about them. You'll have to let me know if you read something especially good-maybe I can kick start my own essay reading again!

Danielle

I was so excited to see the package in the mail from Melville House. Even though they have the list of books they are sending out, I am going to not look again so it will be sort of a surprise each month--I won't remember which book is scheduled to come. Does that sound silly--I like bookish surprises. And I am going to do the same--try and read more from my own TBR pile, though I am sure I'll still be buying books throughout the year. My downfall (and distraction) is library books, so I am going to put my requests on hold and see how long I can go reading books I own already. I think a lot of people are going to try and do that--maybe we can keep each other motivated! :)

Danielle

I totally agree--the novella series is really nicely designed. They fit in the hand so perfectly and I think it will be entirely manageable to read each pair the month they arrive. I've already started Bartlebly--I've not read the story since I was in high school. It's nice reading a novella in between longer books--you actually feel like you are accomplishing something. I saw the Duels set and was tempted to order it, though now I am glad I didn't since I think I'll get a few of the books via my subscription. I've been trying to read more short stories, so I guess 2013 is going to be my year of reading shorter fiction-short stories and novellas!

Caroline

Enjoy your subscriptions! They both look so tempting and really are sometging to look forward to every month.
I read Bartleby last year I think and thought it was an intriguing little book. I realize now how often it is quoted or alluded to in other books. Definitely a classic to read and re-read.

bibliolathas (vicki)

How lovely to have pre-arranged to get something beautiful in the post at regular intervals. What a delight!

LizF

How nice to get such pleasant surprises in the post especially in the dark months after Christmas.
The novellas look great and trying out a bite size example of an author's work is a really good idea.
I haven't read any Melville at all and only a couple of Fitzgerald stories although I plan to finally read The Great Gatsby before the film comes out next year!

Susan E

Bookish surprises are a lot of fun, and those subscriptions sound like a good way to get some. I did something like this with Peresphone books...although I picked the books, I quickly forgot which six I'd ordered :). Good luck with your TBR. I'm trying to avoid my downfall last year...stocking up on books for the next year TBR project in December....and really work next year on reading some books I've had awhile. We'll see....

Kathy

I'm tingly just reading about your bookish surprises! I love the idea of having these books/novellas come in the mail, and getting little tastes of great literature as well as supporting puslishing houses. Win-win-win. I love getting books in the mail almost as much as browsing a bookstore--one of the reasons I love Paperback Swap so much.

I love hearing about all your reading projects (and the needlework ones, too, actually!) and look forward to seeing what the new year brings for you. You've inspired me to do something similar, though I'm still deciding what to do. Possibly my own essay project, and a TBR challenge...

janet.jones@ferc.gov

I, too, have been trying to "get" into shorter fiction. I've never really been a short story fan, although many years ago I read a couple of collections by Fay Wheldon and really enjoyed them. My goal last year was to read at least one short story a week, with a novella every three months. Alas, I fell off the wagon around mid-year, so it never really became a habit but I'm going to try again in 2013. On a different topic--I do think you'll get several of the "duel" novellas on your subscription!

Stefanie

I love Bartleby! I've not read May Day though. Does the pair have any kind of relation other than they are both supposed to be good? Oh! I say with chagrin, I knew I forgot something! I have to ask Bookman if he wants to do the NYRB subscription! I hope he does otherwise I am going to very jealous of you :)

Janegs

I really like the idea of the Art of the Novella digital subscription--what a great way to get a really well-rounded classics list, and the selections look terrific. I am a long-time Fitzgerald fan but have only read Moby Dick by Melville. Enjoy both subscriptions!

I liked your description of feeling tingly with anticipation of diving into a new, longed for book.

Danielle

I've wanted to do the Persephone subscription, but with the exchange rate, shipping costs and having to pay for the year up front, I've not allowed myself to indulge so far. Maybe I will at some point, but now I think between the Art of the Novella series and the NYRB Classics, I should be kept very busy. I also have a big backlog of Persephone titles. I, too, am hoping to choose more books from my own shelves next year and have been making plans to do so. We'll see what happens and if I can stick with it.

Danielle

I was never much of a short story reader either, but then a few years back I decided to do something similar to you and read one story a week and then write about it on Sundays. I actually managed to stick with it the whole year (I didn't do so well with essays later, however). I am thinking of giving it a try next year, too, but we'll see. It is a good way to be exposed to short stories, but it can also sometimes feel like a chore to write about the books. I did find, though, that I really like reading short stories. I am hoping that novellas will be the same--I like reading shorter works--instant gratification for finishing a book quickly. :)

Danielle

It will be nice to know I am going to have a few definite books to look forward to each month--the NYRB titles will also be a surprise. I generally like the books they publish--or like the sound of them, so I don't mind not knowing in advance what I am getting. I read Bartleby when I was in high school (very long ago now), so reading it now is like reading it for the first time really.

Danielle

It will be fun. Maybe it will also satisfy my need to buy new books--they'll already be coming in so I won't feel the need to order more? (Probably not, I will still probably want more but it's nice to imagine so).

Danielle

Yes, I am especially going to like this right after the holidays when I have to tighten my financial belt and pay off all the bills for my holiday spending (and this year there has really been a lot of it). I loved The Great Gatsby--I've read it at least three times and think I might have to give it a reread next year as well. The novellas will definitely be a great way to try an authors work or a quick way to read more of it!

Danielle

I belong to Bookmooch, but I've not done much with it in the last couple of years and so really should close my account. It was great when it was new and not so many people were on it, but now it is almost impossible to get any books I really want--they are snapped up right when they are offered. I should try paperback swap maybe. I decided also to do a TBR challenge of my own, though I think I won't formally join in. Better to keep things low key (in case I fail miserably). I have only been so-so about sticking with reading challenges, though I have done better with my own small projects--best to continue on with them I think.

Danielle

I guess I will find out what the connection between the two is--I am reading Bartleby now and plan on reading May Day when I finish. I'm not sure how they choose their pairings. I'm glad you and Bookman are going to do the NYRB subscription, too. It will be fun to chat about the books--always so nice to have good books to look forward to in the mail (and I do love good mail!).

Danielle

It probably sounds silly to be tingly about book mail--but it takes so little to please me really! :) And I do love getting books in the mail, and thinking about reading them, and then of course reading them! :) It's cool they offer both print and digital subscriptions--I still like the feel of a book in my hands, but ebooks can be convenient in other ways, too. Now I know I have something fun to look forward to in January after the holidays are all over.

litlove

I think I've read the Fitzgerald - it was very, very good by my recollection so you have something to look forward to! I've seen this collection and lusted after it, but the postage is a bit prohibitive. However, I have recently discovered the Notting Hill essay collections and Mr Litlove is buying me a boxed set for Christmas. I feel very excited about that too! There's something about these special little books that's so enchanting.

Danielle

I know only too well how awful postage is from here to there and vice versa--which is what has kept me from a Persephone Books subscription. Aren't these little books lovely--nicely designed and quick to read--you feel like you have accomplished something when you read a few. I am looking forward to the Fitzgerald--I am long overdue for reading more of his work. I just need a nice little chunk of reading time to finish Bartleby and then will pick up May Day. We'll see if I can keep up with reading the books as they arrive. And now I must check out the Notting Hill essay collection!

Kathleen

Sounds like you have all kinds of bookish goodness to look forward to in 2013! Enjoy!

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