Novel. A substantial work of fiction, usually too long to be read at one sitting.

Novella. A work of fiction short enough to be read at one sitting, but only if the reader is willing to carry it to the bathroom several times.

Novelette. A work of fiction short enough to be read at one sitting, but too long to be read while waiting for the dentist.

Novellina. A work of fiction just long enough to occupy the time spent in the dentist’s waiting room.

Novellinetta. A work of fiction the proper length for reading on the phone screen while waiting in line at the grocery-store checkout.

Novellona. A very long work of fiction, to read which occupies a whole summer vacation.

Novellissima. A work of fiction stretched out over multiple volumes released over the course of several years and left unfinished at the author’s death.


Here’s an amusing fact: there is no English rhyme for “morgue.”
I learned that from a page at


Do you have trouble sorting out the events of the Wars of the Roses? No more. In galloping Elizabethan fourteeners, William Warner gives us a complete English history called Albions England. When he comes to the Wars of the Roses, he finishes his narration by giving us the whole story “digested in this sum”:

Fourth Henry first Lancastrian King put second Richard downe:
Fourth Edward of the House of Yorke re-seazd sixt Henries Crowne:
Lad-Princes twaine were stabd in Field, of either Linage one:
Foure Kings did perish: Sundry times now-kings anon were none:
Sixe, three of either faction, held successively the Throne:
But from the second Richard to seventh Henry we pretend
Eight Kings this Faction to begin, continue, and to end.

Now you never need to worry about sorting out the Wars of the Roses again.


Horse manure and roses
Remind me of you:
Seems as though my nose is
What memories come through.
Passing time discloses
Our love was not true,
But horse manure and roses
Remind me of you.


Anyone can tell you what has already happened in European history. Even if you cannot recite all the details, you doubtless remember the basic outline, which is that European history boils down to a bunch of Europeans killing each other. (Admittedly this makes it hard to distinguish from African, American, Asian, or Australian history.)

But it takes a certain confidence to tell us what is going to happen in European history, and to place the events in a chronological table. Fortunately, an English writer in the time of the Commonwealth has done that work for us, producing a chronology that continues through to the end of time. He begins, naturally enough, with the birth of Christ; but, since we already know what has happened in history, we may skip through the first half of the chronological table until we come to the good part.

The establishment of Protestantism in England was the pouring out of the first vial in Revelation, and the religious wars infect the stinking waters of the Papacy with blood. By 1630 the fifth vial is being poured out, and things are going badly for the Romish Church. In 1648 the Jesuits are proscribed in Poland, and this great victory against the Romanists brings us to the present time, 1650, when our chronologist is chronologizing. And here is where he makes his original contribution, because most historians stop their timelines at the present moment, but our current writer bravely slogs on into the future.

In 1659, “Three barbarous nations ſack Hydruntum in Apulia, made enrodes into the Eaſtern Coaſts of Italy, and ſack them with fire and ſword.” Rome is invaded and burned by Western Christians.

In 1660, “The faithfull and true Warriour riding upon a white Horſe deſcendeth from heaven with his Souldiers riding upon white horſes, to fight againſt the enemies of his Church.”

In 1666, Rome is utterly destroyed. “Rejoyce (O heavens!) for righteous are Gods judgements, He hath condemned the great Whore.”

In 1679, the conversion of the Jews begins. Now that the Christian world is Protestant, the Jews “begin to ſearch the Scriptures, and learn the waies of God.”

By 1684, the Jews of the West are converted to proper Protestantism, and they combine with the Jews of the East to attack the Turks. In 1698, they win the great battle for Jerusalem, and “the Turks are deſtroyed with an eternall deſtruction.” Gog and Magog also rise up, but rather anticlimactically are destroyed at once by fire from heaven.

The reign of the saints in Europe seems to begin about 1710, and by 1763 all Europe is ruled more or less directly by Christ.

In 1767 the Temple is restored in Jerusalem.

By 1793 the Jews are sending their missionaries all over the world to convert the rest of the people to Protestantism.

The Last Judgment and the end of time will happen in 1830. Dr. Boli hopes none of his readers had any firm appointments scheduled beyond that time.


Probably not in South Africa.

In Porto-Novo, Benin, laundry cannot be hung out to dry until it is blessed by the Archbishop.

Any resident of Coosawhatchie, South Carolina, who ambles across the highway in less than four and a half minutes is socially ostracized and has to move to Ridgeland.

In Cleveland, every April 1, traffic police amuse residents by enforcing the no left turn signs.

Capes are seldom worn in Cape Town.

In New Delhi, it is customary to give cabinet ministers gifts of socks with gold clocks in the hope of favorably influencing their decisions. It never works.

When a freshly married couple in Yoshinogawa, Japan, reach their new abode, the bride is carried across the threshold by an Amazon Prime delivery driver.

It is considered poor manners to wave frantically with the left hand while falling from a tall building in Dubai.