26 Comments

Greenland looks huge because of the map projection Substack has chosen (it’s impossible to represent the map of the world in 2D keeping both the shapes of the countries the same and the areas consistent). To reassure you, in real life, the continent of Africa is 14 times larger than Greenland, which the map does not show! There’s a serious point here, which is that the popularity of this map has given countries nearer the poles like the UK an inflated sense of their own size (and hence importance) relative to countries nearer the equator (many of which we would have termed “developing”). Google “Problems with the Mercator Projection” if you’re interested and want to know more 🙂

Expand full comment

I loved Claire Keegan's Foster (another of her novellas). I think it's genius to be able to evoke such a strong sense of place and community with so few words. I must check out Small Things Like These.

Expand full comment

Love this!!! I spent a month this past summer reading only 100 page books, and I had so much fun doing it. Best part is that there’s no overlap with your list so I can add all these to mine!!! Except Claire Keegan, but I read Foster (so good, so heartbreaking, so sweet). I wrote a roundup of all the shorties (affectionate) that I read, which I will link if I can figure out how to :))

Expand full comment

I'm re-reading Nora for the third time! I turn to it like I turn to my own mother for comfort. Her voice and even the size of it is soothing when the world feels overwhelming.

Expand full comment

Thank you for such a great list of short but fabulous reads. Some are new to me so I'm off novella hunting for Christmas!

Expand full comment

Thanks Pandora. Loved your section on novellas. I’ve never been a massive fan of them simply because I feel they always end and I want more!

The last few books I’ve really enjoyed have been The Bee Sting and Demon Copperhead. The bigger the better (!), I love getting my teeth into an epic. But, I do get your point that you have to have time to get into tomes like these.

I’m actually reading Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye (so I can listen to the book chat ep), which might be a little bigger than the traditional novella but it’s incredible the themes, moods and politics she packs in under 200 pages. Being able to be succinct is an art and it probably isn’t praised enough.

I’ll definitely give more novellas a try now!

Expand full comment

Pandora, you always say what I think.

Gatsby was once upon a time my favourite book but A-Levels and the film beat it out of me. However, I read a passage recently and was struck by the timelessness of it all.

“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

I adore Small Things Like These and think Claire Keegan beautifully captures place and community. As for Nora, I just adore her. I think I have my entire copy of heartburn under lined as it is just that good.

Expand full comment

Small Things Like These is so gorgeous - my last book club read which I think we all agreed on being brilliant. It’s such talent to convey such depth and feeling in such a small story. I could have stayed with Bill for a whole novel

Expand full comment

Adored Small Things Like These and This is Pleasure.

Expand full comment

Have absolutely loved this series of shorty recommendations — I'm really into short fiction at the moment as I find it a little hard to keep track of juicier books while mothering my teeny one 👶 Popping them all on my Goodreads for later!

Expand full comment