Pisoverse Novella Recommendations: Levels & Whole-Class

Back in August, you might have seen my 2020-21 plans for novellas in preparation of remote learning on a reduced 2x/week class schedule. It turned out that with less time spent on Free Voluntary Reading (i.e. none), we read more whole-class novellas over Zoom than I would have preferred, but c’est la vie COVID. That experience gave me some insight into which books work best for whole-class reading, as well as helped me organize books in a different way. There was also Mike Peto’s Read-Aloud that came just in time to change things up with a new kind of reading process.

Following Andrew Olimpi’s system, my books now appear as AA to C (none of mine would be considered Level D or beyond). The general recommendation I’ve given is to read in order of word count. However, I’ve begun making it clearer which books might buck the trend due to higher percentage of cognates, as well as total length. For example, Drūsilla et convīvium magārum is my longest book at 3400 total words. In my experience, trēs amīcī et mōnstrum saevum—a book 1,000 fewer words in length, and with 3x as many cognates—is readable sooner. Books seemingly “out of order” like these can be identified by the word count badges on the front cover to highlight the percentage of cognates. Here are my recommended levels, and order within each, from left to right:

Level AA: Early Beginner

Level A: Beginner

Level B: Advanced Beginner

Level C: Low Intermediate

Whole-Class Novellas
Some of the easier books we read weren’t as enjoyable in a whole-class format. This isn’t exactly surprising to me since my primary use of novellas in-person has been Free Voluntary Reading (FVR), but I found a few that were a home run in Latin 1. It’s the ones with an audiobook (vs. just narration that’s available for the others), as well as a more familiar, and/or more of an action-packed narrative. This spring, you’ll be able to add Mārcus magulus to that list, a new first novella that beats out Rūfus lutulentus as being shorter, more engaging and intriguing (i.e. moves along quickly!), and comes out even a bit easier. The physical copies and digital audiobooks are below, or see eBooks on Storylabs that have the audio included, as well as Polyglots (updating books to include audio, soon!).

Quīntus et nox horrifica + audiobook
Spooky audio & short
Rūfus et arma ātra + audiobook
Action, with popular gladiator content
Agrippīna aurīga + audiobook
Action, with popular chariot-racing content

Why just those? They’re my top picks. I certainly read other books with students in a whole-class format, but tend to not finish them, avoiding the whole dragging on issue with anything done for more than 2-3 weeks in a row, as some have found.

2 thoughts on “Pisoverse Novella Recommendations: Levels & Whole-Class

  1. Good day. I am learning latin and, as a complement, reading your novella “Perseus et Medusa”. On page 18, I read : “Ego eum in spelunca nostra invenit”. Why is it not : “inveni (first pers. sing. perf.), “ego” being the subject ? The same on page 33 : ” Perseus caducem Mercurii tenebant”. Why not “tenebat” (3rd. pers. sing. imperf.)?
    The story is quite good, your text perfect for me after a few months learnig trough other sources.
    Thanks for your attention
    Michel Guay, retired professor.

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