Don’t have enough time to read? Pick up one of these novellas that pack the punch of a full-length novel.
• Slade House by David Mitchell: Mitchell is best known for his epic, genre-defying Cloud Atlas. To get a taste of his creative narrative style, try the (much) shorter but equally intriguing Slade House. This is a story he started on Twitter, 140 characters at a time. The door to Slade House only appears in a narrow back alley every nine years on one October night, but someone always stumbles upon it. No one knows who lives inside and those who enter never live to tell. It may seem like the same pattern repeats over and over. You may foresee the inevitable tragic ending of each character but the story grows more intense and urgent. Slade House will have you yelling “Don’t go in there!” at every chapter.
• Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace: Perfect for Food Network junkies, Envy of Angels is a highly entertaining tale about Sin du Jour, a catering company that serves a special clientele: the supernatural kind. Down on their luck, Lena and Darren were thrilled to get a job offer from Bronco, the owner and executive chef, but little do they know that their first gig is going to be catering for a dinner party to celebrate the peace treaty between two rival demon gangs. On top of that, the organizers have provided the feature ingredient for the feast: an angel. Who is willing to cut it up and put it in the fryer? More finger-licking-good adventures await in the other titles in the Sin du Jour series.
• Binti by Nnedi Okorafor: Binti has decided to run away and be the first of her people to attend the prestigious Oomza University despite the disapproval of everyone in her family. Even though everyone is giving her funny looks based on her appearance and race, guilt and awkwardness soon give way to hope as she finds kindred spirits and fellow lovers of mathematics among her fellow students traveling aboard the ship. If only that lasts... Binti will soon find herself caught in the middle of an ancient conflict between two races. This 2015 Nebula Award Best Novella is filled with fascinating technology, incredible world building and a timely message.
• The Grownup by Gillian Flynn: Now for something completely different from the Gone Girl author... Flynn’s novella is about a fake aura reader who is approached by a client convinced that her house is haunted, her stepson is possessed by something evil and her life is in grave danger. Should be some easy money here but what started off as a haunted house story quickly turns into a twisted whodunnit and I shall stop right here so you can discover for yourself the twists and turns Flynn has laid out for you.
Need more novellas in your life? Aside from these stand-alone titles, many authors have recently taken to publishing short novels featuring characters from their bestselling series, often exclusively as eBooks. Look for these on your library’s downloadable ebook platforms.
--A Good Read is a column by Tri-City librarians that is published on Wednesdays. Virginia McCreedy works at Port Moody Public Library.