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I read all four Murderbot Diaries novellas by Martha Wells last weekend. Well, actually it was about a 36 hour stretch from Friday evening to Sunday morning in between working on a big proposal. The fast read was due to two chief factors.

  1. The novellas start with the shortest one first and get longer as the series progresses; and
  2. It was a fun adventure story.

For science fiction books there is actually very little science fiction in the story. Those elements are often window dressing or “magic”, in the best sense in both cases.

I am excited for the first novel in the series, Network Effect, which is due next week. Tor Books, in preparation, offered the four novellas for free the week before I read them. I took advantage. I am glad I did.

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I thoroughly enjoyed The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel. I don’t want to say too much about the book. I enjoyed not knowing where the story was going. Not every turn is a surprise, but I delighted in seeing how Mandel gets the story and the reader there. There’s a graceful simplicity to her writing I find engrossing. The characters are handled with an honesty and respectfulness that keeps them from becoming trite archetypes we’ve all encountered. Melancholy runs throughout without it becoming melodrama.

My library has the ebook for borrowing. I took advantage. If your library doesn’t have it (check here) I recommend purchasing it. Kobo Amazon US Amazon JP Audible

NPR has two reviews. There are dozens more. I suggest holding off on reading them until you read the book.

You may recall her previous work, Station Eleven, a pandemic story you may want to wait on if you haven’t already read it. When I saw The Glass Hotel was coming out it was an instant get for me. Mandel’s first three books are in my To Read queue.

Picture © Penguin Random House

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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

I read Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court when I was 15. I don’t think I thought much of it at the time. I “read” it again as an audiobook over the last several months. Nick Offerman’s voice is indelibly bonded to this story for me. And the story is one I will gladly audibly revisit.

I cannot recommend this book in this format read by this narrator more.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is a 1889 novel written by Mark Twain, a.k.a. Samuel Clemens, where an engineer from Connecticut named Hank Morgan is transported to the time of King Arthur due to a blow to the head. In stereotypical New England Yankee fashion he applies his knowledge from 19th century America to transform Arthur’s 6th century England. The various stories that make up the book are funny, frustrating, and too close to some of what we’re experiencing.

Sadly, Audible is the only outlet that has Nick Offerman’s narration. has the book with other narrators (link your local independent bookstore with your account) as does the Internet Archive.

Want to read it as an ebook? The Standard Ebooks edition is a great free starting point. I’m sure your local U.S. library has it in print.