Art of the Novella

Many years ago, when I still worked for a bookstore, I came across a slim book in the fiction section while shelving. It was Guy de Maupassant’s The Horla, published by Melville House in Brooklyn, NY. For several years after reading it, I obsessed over how simple and handsome the cover was, and I pined over the entire collection on the publisher’s website. I eventually noticed that they had set up a subscription service for the Art of the Novella series that de Maupassant’s book was part of, and that became the newly pined after obsession. I really wanted to own the entire series. I needed them all in my life, on my bookshelves.

Fast forward to last summer, when I made the decision to cut beauty box subscription services out of my life and devote some of that money to this particular subscription. This is a no-frills subscription service; it’s just books and nothing else. It doesn’t come in a fancy box, they slip the books into a mailer and send it off as inexpensively as possible. It has a definitive stopping point, because there are only so many books in this series, and it definitely cuts down on the cost of buying each book individually. I get two books a month from them for under $20, and even after a year, I still have a few dozen titles to go before I need to ask them to take me off their subscription. I’m also directly supporting an independent publisher, which is pretty cool. I wish they offered this for their other collections, but the Art of the Novella series is by far their most robust at the moment, so any other series would have a very short lifespan.

Aside from just wanting to collect this series for its aesthetics, I have been massively enjoying the stories. Novellas are short novels, or long short stories, so they are usually quicker reads. Of Mice and MenAnimal Farm, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde are examples of best selling, well-known novellas that are not part of this series, but stories by Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Allan Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jane Austen, and even Mary Shelley are featured in it. I’ve also been introduced to Nikolai Gogol, Christopher Morley, and Willa Cather thanks to the series. Most of the books on my shelf are still in my “To Be Read” pile, but I’m excited to read them all.

The Circulation Desk: Kickstarter

The Circulation Desk is a series dedicated to information about interesting, unique, or under-the-radar book related projects, organizations/companies, and events that I come across. N.B.: Some posts are time-sensitive, others are timeless.

I find a lot of really interesting things on Kickstarter, and my favorite section is by far Publishing. I’ve backed a lot of Publishing projects over the years and am currently pledged to several. These are some projects that I’ve recently pledged to back, and are still open for anyone who is also interested in getting in on them!

Abhorrent Abecedarium: A Lovecraft Alphabet Art Book – This is just so cool. An art book that mixes Edward Gorey with HP Lovecraft? Yes, please!

Sherlock Holmes Hexalogy – This is a Thornwillow project, a company that I’ve backed several times already. This is the first non-broadside project I’ve backed, however. They are letterpress printing six of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s favorite Sherlock Holmes stories into one bindup. The quality of their work is outstanding and well worth the price of a reward pledge.

EOM: Equal Opportunity Madness – There’s a surprising amount of HP Lovecraft themed projects happening right now. I actually had to check to make sure I wasn’t the last to know about some Cthulhu thing happening, but I honestly don’t think there is. Anyway, this is a collection of stories that take place in the Mythos, only featuring all of the diverse humans that HP would have hated in his lifetime.

Honestly, it can be hard to not back every project I see on Kickstarter, because so many of them are just awesome ideas. Unfortunately, I have to pay bills and I can’t afford to support everything I like. I haven’t backed any of the following projects (yet…), but maybe they’ll spark your interest?

AWEFUL WORDS, a book of Illustrated Words and definitions – Creepy cute picture book full of words we really should be using more often. This is one that I’ll probably end up backing last minute, because I love creepy cute things and picture books.

Grimm Fairy Tales Coloring Book Boxed Set – If you are into coloring books, the Brothers Grimm, and/or The Grimm Fairy Tales comic series, this is worth checking out. While I am not a fan of adult coloring books, the line art alone can be fun to look at, and I do love the subject matter.

Schoolbooks & Sorcery – YA Anthology – A self-described queer-inclusive anthology of YA stories about high school and magic. This is particularly appealing to me because it addresses a glaring gap in the YA world where queer voices are not being heard.

New projects go up everyday, and it can be really hard to keep up with them all. There are a ton of other projects looking for funding, so I definitely recommend you check it out for yourself and see what you come up with. Let me know if there are any projects that you think I should check out!