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All Books

Author:

Ted Chiang

The is an excellent re-imagining of the biblical story of the tower of Babylon, told from the viewpoint of a miner called in to help tunnel through to the vault of heaven once the tower has reached it. To tell you more would ruin the joy of this book, but I recommend it highly.

Favorite Thing:
The details of life in the tower
Tower of Babylon book cover
Book Length:
Shorter
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Daniel Bristow-Bailey

This well-written novella is set in seventh century England, when the borders with Wales were still dangerous and a new religion called Christianity was starting to gain prominence among the ruling class. It is at its heart a coming of age story, about a young man sent from the borderlands to learn the ways of the court and the new religion. But it is also about how to find your way in a time of great change, and I always have a soft spot for stories set in times of great societal change. However, the real selling point for this novella is that it is a fun story to read, with characters you'll care about.

Favorite Thing:
The monk charged with teaching the main character Christianity
The Ruins book cover
Book Length:
Short
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Disclosures:
Received free copy
Author:

Joyce Chng

This is the story of a girl, a daughter of an Emperor, who is starting to learn how to navigate and survive palace intrigue, and the dragon who comes to help her. The story's pacing felt a bit odd to me at times, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment of it, and I wondered if what was odd to me was normal in the Chinese culture in which this story is set. Pacing that feels odd to me is a small price to pay for expanding the perspectives I read, and the story itself is quite good. One fun feature is that the author has interspersed recipes for some of the foods described in the story, which I enjoyed as an invitation to pause and imagine the characters' experiences a little more deeply. This book is two short stories in one, but they are so closely linked that I think you can't read one without the other, so I'm considering it as a single novella.

Favorite Thing:
The main character
Dragon Sisters
Book Length:
Short
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Francesca Marciano

This charming story is a fairly standard post-divorce "finding yourself" story, but the unusual characters and strong sense of place make it a standout example of the form, and also something a little more. Throughout the story, there are themes of the meaning of community and identity, and how these two things interrelate. In short, this is a good story, that you can read and enjoy just for the surface story, but if you're so inclined, it will leave you things to think about when you're done.

Favorite Thing:
The characters
The Presence of Men book cover
Book Length:
Shorter
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Yukimi Ogawa

This is an intriguing retelling of a Japanese fairy tale. A translation of the original tale is included, and reading it for comparison does add to your appreciation of the retelling, but the retelling also stands on its own as an interesting, if a bit odd, short story. It is set in a fascinating world, too, and my only complaint is that the world did not feel completely imagined. Even in a short ebook, the world-building can feel complete, if not completely explored. In this book, the world felt like a sketch of what it could be. Still, the story is well told and the main character really draws you in to the story. It is definitely worth your time.

Favorite Thing:
The unusual premise
In Her Head, In Her Eyes
Book Length:
Shortest
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Karen Charlton

This is a satisfying mystery that is a lot of fun to read. You aren't likely to be surprised by the resolution of this mystery, but you will probably enjoy the process of reaching it, and might find yourself tempted to pick up one of the longer books that feature the same detectives. In short, if you're looking for some quality escapist reading and enjoy period British mysteries, this is a good choice for you.

Favorite Thing:
The police procedural aspect.
The Mystery of the Skelton Diamonds book cover
Book Length:
Shorter
Part of Series:
Short story/novella related to a series of long books
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Categories:
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Ellen Seltz

This short mystery reads a bit like a cross between Jeeves and Wooster and Sherlock Holmes, and somehow this really works. There is nothing deep here, but there is a fast-paced plot, crisp writing, and a lot of fun. As a bonus, right now you can give it a try for free.

Favorite Thing:
How fun it was to read
Mister Mottley and the Key of D book cover
Book Length:
Shortest
Part of Series:
Part of a series of short stories/novellas
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Low
Categories:
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Emily Foster

This is a thoroughly enjoyable novella about a young woman who buys passage on a small fishing boat with a rag-tag crew, and sets off on a quest we come to understand is incredibly important and dangerous. The characters are delightful, and the world is interesting and believable. It is not fully described, but that feels more like room for future exploration than an absence in this story. The plot is perhaps not up to the level of the rest of the writing, but it is not ridiculous, either, and overall this book is well worth your time.

Favorite Thing:
The characters
The Drowning Eyes book cover
Book Length:
Short
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Stefan Weidner

,

Charlotte Collins (translator)

The author of this fascinating book is a German who travels to Lviv, in Ukraine, to try to understand its history, and specifically how World War II changed it and by extension the rest of the region. He makes his trip with a copy of the writing of an earlier German visitor to the city, then called Lemberg. The result is part travelogue, part history, and part personal meditation. It is well-written and an enjoyable read. It occasionally references history that is probably not familiar to most Americans, but that never interfered with my enjoyment of the book: it felt like a comfortable stretch of my knowledge and world view.

Favorite Thing:
The window into the history of a part of the world I don't know much about.
In the Greece of the East book cover
Book Length:
Shorter
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Walter Mosley

This is a fun, quick read with interesting characters and a fast-paced plot. It is a noirish story that could be called a detective story, but that doesn't really do the originality of its premise justice. Rather than try to categorize it, just read it and enjoy.

Favorite Thing:
The characters
Archibald Lawless, Anarchist at Large cover image
Book Length:
Short
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Categories:
Disclosures:
None

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