A blogger at The Guardian wonders whether the decline of interest in reading could be slowed by reversing the trend for bigger longer books. [Via SF Signal] [image from stock.xchng]
“Readable in a couple of hours, a novella demands far less time than a full-length novel: you can get through them in the same amount of time it takes to watch a film or two reality television programmes. If you read one in bed you can actually finish it in one go, as opposed to reading the same few chapters repeatedly because you keep forgetting what you covered the night before.”
Perhaps she has a point; she also mentions that writing novellas forces the writer to be more concise and economical with words in much the same way as the short story form.
I guess this is a reiteration of the “burst culture” argument – the idea that as our culture speeds up, we only have the attention span to deal with shorter works. But will a change of format reverse the trend, or is the reading decline a generational phenomenon with more complex roots than simple attention span?
How would you “save the novel”? Does the novel need saving?