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. Libro.fm 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

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. Libro.fm has the book with other narrators (link your local independent bookstore with your Libro.fm 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.

Somewhere in one of my RSS feeds (it’s not dead, it’s still relevant, you should take advantage, and here’s a link to mine) there was an article about making a “Could Do” list.

The “Could Do” concept, which seems to go back on-line to at least 2006, is simple: a list of things one could pick up and work on anytime with no specific risk if anything on the list is ever touched. It is similar to David Allen’s Getting Things DoneSomeday/Maybe” list but is even less formal.

Here is my “Could Do” list:

  • SSH key refresh including host + username updates in ssh.config and other apps
  • Check out if the corporate mobile phone plan supports Apple Watch yet
  • Organize photos
  • Organize music
  • A better notes and list system (a la Atomic Habits’ recommendation to “Forget about goals; focus on systems”)
  • Make bread (cliché, but for a reason)
  • Make a “refill” list of things non-grocery that need an occasional top-off (like hand soap, dish soap, laundry soap, toilet paper, and paper towels) yet don’t require a permanent place on the grocery list. I’m going with something I will laminate and hand on my eventual fridge)
  • Review subscriptions, digital and meatspace
  • Automate low value but necessary things

Some of the ones I already knocked off that you, dear reader, may want on your list are:

  • Implement a backup strategy for my devices
  • Improve WiFi
  • Archive ebooks and audiobooks and other digital media I’ve purchased
  • Make a budget
  • Simplify my finances
  • Revive some not-quite-dead tech

… and that’s about all I’ve done since The Event.