Gordon Haber

Writer, editor, mediocre guitarist

His Grandmother Had Nothing to Leave Him. Except Her Memory.

Click to purchase!Click to purchase!

My new short story, His Grandmother’s Memory, is now available as an Amazon Kindle single. Here’s a teaser:

“Listen to this,” the rabbi said.“‘Ibbur is the most positive form of possession, when a righteous soul decides to occupy a living person’s body for a time. The departed soul wishes to complete an important task that can only be accomplished in the flesh.’”
“Is that Kabbalah?”
The rabbi held up an iPad. “Wikipedia.”

Enliven your commute or bathroom time for less than a buck! Available here. To get a free app that allows you to read Kindle e-books on any platform, click here.

After Long, Cold Winter, Let Us Emerge Together into Spring

This is not me, this is a squirrel. Photo credit.

This is not me, this is a squirrel. Photo credit.


Like many of us, I’ve been hunkered down all winter. Now suddenly I’m doing 4 events this March. Here they are:

3/3 @ 7pm: Columbia Faculty Selects at KGB Bar!
This is a great reading series for emerging Columbia School of the Arts alumni. I’ll be pinch-hitting as host. Readers will be the mesmerizing Madeline Stevens, the kinetic Keegan Lester and the scintillating Suzanne Dottino. More info here.

3/10 @ 7pm: Buddha-Killers at the Morbid Anatomy Museum!
This is going to be a good one: a Killing the Buddha evening of death-affirming readings in support of Ann Neumann’s new book, The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America. You’ll also hear from Peter Manseau, Scott Korb and yours truly. (I plan to read from something that’s going to kill, har har.) Also there will be musicians singing murder ballads! And a lawyer to talk about advance directives! More info here.

3/24 @ 7pm: Books + Booze!
Join the delightful Clémence Boulouque in conversation with 3 eminent novelists on the topic of Jewish fatherhood (and how to survive it). There will be whiskey — and me giving a short introductory talk on booze and Jews. More info here.

3/30 @ 7.30pm: Guerilla Lit at Dixon Place!
This will be another good one. I’ll read from new work along with Gint Arras and Jacob Appel. More info here.

If all that’s not enough, check out the Hidden River Writers website, which published an entertaining interview with me about my e-book publishing company, Dutch Kills Press. And as usual feel free to buy one of my novellas.


(Once Again) What Is a Novella?

The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy. (Photo by C.K.H., via Flickr.)

The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy. (Photo by C.K.H., via Flickr.)


[Reposting this because I got the question again the other day.]

I’ve had good luck with novellas lately. I recently published one as a Kindle Single and I had another one accepted (although I don’t have a pub date yet).

Anyway, it got me thinking: what is a novella?

Of course it’s an issue of length. A novella is longer than a short story and shorter than a novel. But how much longer? How much shorter?

A little Internet research turned up the rules for the Nebulas, a science fiction award. Here’s their criteria:

  1. Short Story: less than 7,500 words;
  2. Novelette: at least 7,500 words but less than 17,500 words;
  3. Novella: at least 17,500 words but less than 40,000 words
  4. Novel: 40,000 words of more.

Note the category for “novelettes,” which strikes me as a little fussy. But it does make sense for the judges: it doesn’t seem right to put an 8,000-word story in the same category as a 17,000-word one.

Rules aside, I found a lot of interesting stuff about novellas—interesting because there’s a certain defensiveness about them.

In the New Yorker, Ian McEwan calls the novella “the perfect form of prose fiction.” But only after mentioning that the critics gave him a hard time after he published one.

More recently, in the Millions, Nick Ripatrazone proclaimed that “Writers of novellas have nothing to be sorry about.” Which is the kind of thing you say after someone expects you to be sorry about something.

The defensiveness is justified. When Julian Barnes won the 2011 Booker Prize with a 150-page book, the Guardian published a dubious piece about novellas.

Personally, though, I don’t feel the need to defend the genre. A story suggests its own form. You make it as long as it needs to be. It’s very hard to publish novellas, but it’s hard to publish anything.

The Corrosive Effects of Other People’s Success



New fiction from Alex Kudera.

Roger Frade is a famous writer who sends mixed signals to vulnerable women like Ellen Malone. Ellen’s friend Alan hates Frade even as he struggles with his own work and romance. A touching, funny story about the corrosive effects of other people’s success.

To buy the e-book (and learn more about its publisher, Dutch Kills Press), click here.



If Hemingway Was Funny


New fiction from David Samuel Levinson.

Bernadette used to love Colin. And now Colin wonders why he ever let her go.

Imagine Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” with a sense of humor, and a diminutive Australian named Boris. $1.99.

To buy the e-book (and learn more about its publisher, Dutch Kills Press), click here.

The Quiet Desperation of Rhode Islanders


New fiction from Mike Heppner.​ Professor Munch, a cranky widower, wants to live out his days in peace. But his middle-aged daughter has returned with her ludicrously diffident boyfriend, and they keep having loud sex. A disturbing, funny, penetrating novella. Only $2.99. To buy the e-book (and learn more about its publisher, Dutch Kills Press), click here.

The Greatest Writer Who Never Wrote


New fiction from Dan Friedman. A fixture in postwar Paris, M. Blanc left only these letters behind. The Complete Letters of M. Blanc is an epistolary novella with echoes of Borges and a Nabokovian flair. $2.99. To buy the e-book (and learn more about its publisher, Dutch Kills Press), click here.

Take Another Look at Modernism


Amy Park is a visual artist who draws inspiration from architecture. Her e-book, A Short History of Modernist Architecture and Interiors, is a fascinating collection of 36 pen and ink drawings. To buy the book (and learn more about its publisher, Dutch Kills Press), click here.

I Have Figured Out How to Pay Writers

She is happy because she wants writers to get paid. Photo: evoo73 via Flickr

Photo: evoo73 via Flickr

Not much, maybe, but something.

That’s the idea behind Dutch Kills Press, LLC.

It’s the company I started to publish e-books.

Each contributor earns 50% of the profit from his or her e-book.

So if a contributor doesn’t earn much, neither does the company.

The summer list is up.

Check out the website.

If you don’t have a Kindle or whatever, you can find
 a very easy way to peruse, purchase and
read our e-books here

The 20 Best Novellas in the History of Mankind

Video: “How do peasants die?” On the life and death of Tolstoy, famous vegetarian.

I love me some novels and short stories. But I am particularly attracted to novellas. (Here’s mine! Buy them!) I was reminded of this after re-reading one that blew me away (see #20). So I thought I’d revisit my own list.

Again, this is not intended to be a definitive list and it’s in no particular order, save for # 1, which you should read (or-read) immediately. Okay, novellas. Here goes:

1. Death of Ivan Illyich, Leo Tolstoy
The best novella ever, if not the high point of world literature.

2. The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka
When reading “The Trial” to his buddy Max Brod, Kafka laughed his ass off. Read “The Metamorphosis” again and think of Kafka laughing.

3. What Kind of Day Did You Have, Saul Bellow
Immensely rewarding and bristling with life. A portrait of an aging “intellectual captain” and his clumsy, appealing mistress.

4. Bartleby the Scrivener, Herman Melville
Weird, brilliant, prescient and also surprisingly funny.

5. Death in Venice, Thomas Mann
Sublime creepiness.

6. Animal Farm, George Orwell
Many people will disagree about this one because they associate it with high school. Read it again.

7. The Gambler, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Ah, Fedya. If only you always wrote this short.

8. Notes from the Underground, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
See #7.

9. Daisy Miller, Henry James
Ah, Henry. If only you always wrote this short.

10. War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells
Wonderfully imaginative and a fast read.

11. The Dead, James Joyce
I read this so long ago that I can’t remember a thing about it, but it’s James Joyce, so it has to be here.

12. Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
If you haven’t read this, shame on you.

13. No One Writes to the Colonel, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Simultaneously fascinating and frightening.

14. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
This one made a strong impression on me in high school.

15. Billy Budd, Herman Melville
Fills the reader with a kind of epic futility.

16. The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway
Ludicrous dialogue: “I fear both the Tigers of Detroit and the Indians of Cleveland.” But a great story nevertheless.

17. The Aspern Papers, Henry James
Astonishing to say this about anything by him, but: it’s fun.

18. Goodbye Columbus, Philip Roth
Dissecting the foibles and petty snobbery of suburban Jews. It pissed off almost everyone in my parents’ generation, so I was almost obliged to love it.

19. Him With His Foot in His Mouth, Saul Bellow
Actually the collection of that name is my favorite book.

20. A Love Child, Doris Lessing
I find this story absolutely brilliant and truly frightening. In fact, I’m going to read it again as soon as I am done with this post.

Bonus: Three Famous Ones That I Have Mixed Feelings About

 1. Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
The first time I read this (in my lonely apartment in Warsaw) I thought it was genius. The second time I picked it up, I couldn’t get past page 8.

2. The Turn of the Screw, Henry James
I have tried and failed to read this story more times than I can remember.

3. Seize the Day, Saul Bellow
Marvelous writing, but not nearly as affecting as it thinks it is.

Did I miss anything? Send me an email and let me know.



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