Need something to read this festive season? Full of chocolates and your attention waning? These novellas should help you!
1) The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
The science-fiction novella is one of the earliest stories that depict conflict between humans and extraterrestrials. The action, the gore and the suspense is enough to keep you on the edge of your seat, and if not, then the 2005 Spielberg version with Tom Cruise will suffice.
2) I Am Legend – Richard Matheson
The horror fiction depicts the protagonist (Will Smith in the film), the sole survivor of a sort of vampire invasion, trying to find a cure. Does he manage to do so? And is he even the sole survivor? Spare a few hours to find out.
3) A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
The infamous dystopian novella tells the tale of a teenager Alex, who narrates the violent exploits of his gang and his run-ins with the state authorities. Even though the story is fascinating, it is equally horrifying, as it deals with extreme youth violence, therefore be warned that this book is not for the faint-hearted.
4) Animal Farm – George Orwell
The political satire is a criticism of the Soviet Union and of communism itself, and is a must-read for any History student, or in fact, any student that is interested in Orwell’s attack on Stalin through the medium of fictional pigs.
5) The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
The Pulitzer Prize winning story is that of Santiago, an elderly Cuban fisherman, and his struggles with a giant marlin in the Gulf Stream. A simple tale of a fisherman and his catch deals with the themes of defeat and adversity, the unlikeliest of friendships and the affection between man and prey – a motivational must read.
6) The Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka
This story is one of my all-time favourites ever, simply due to the sheer weirdness of it all, which tells of a traveling salesman who finds himself metamorphosed into a large insect-like monster, and then adjusting to his new life.
7) Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
Although most of you will have read this in secondary school, the tale of George and Lennie trying to chase the American Dream should be one to read again. In the classroom it can be boring, but I promise you, if you read it with a fresh perspective, this tale is a tear jerker and an eye opener about the harrowing conditions of the Great Depression.
8) The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner – Stephenie Meyer
This companion novella to the Twilight series is striking, as instead of Bella Swan’s viewpoint, it narrates the story of a newborn vampire Bree Tanner, and her actions that heavily impact the series itself. For Twilight fans, this is a must-read, and for Twilight haters, this is a different, and perhaps even better, perspective of the series.
9) Goodbye, Columbus – Philip Roth
The novella deals with the relationship of a working-class Jewish man Neil, and a Jewish middle-class girl Brenda. The story highlights the issue of assimilation and the classism which affects their relationship, making it a fascinating read on Jewish-American culture.
10) A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Finally, the most famous novella of them all. The story shows the elderly Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve, as he is visited by a series of ghosts, which in turns leads to love in his heart on Christmas Day.
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