The Man with the Electrified Brain

This is a fascinating first person account of the onset of a debilitating mental illness, life in the shadow of that illness, and the now-controversial treatment that seems to have cured it (ECT). The title focuses on the ECT, but to me, the strength of the book is really its ability to give the reader a glimpse at what it is like to develop such a severe mental illness.

Author: 

Simon Winchester

The Best We Can

In this enjoyable and well-written first contact story, contact doesn't immediately up end life as we know it, and the scientist whose project uncovered the evidence of extraterrestrial life struggles to deal with that fact.

Author: 

Carrie Vaughn

Science Doesn't Have ALL the Answers

I am a STEM person. I have a PhD in a STEM field and work at the intersection of science and computers in a science-driven industry. You cannot get much more STEM-y than me.

However, I’ve been increasingly uncomfortable with our society’s strong focus on STEM careers, and I have finally figured out why: I do not think STEM fields can solve all of the problems we face.

Don’t get me wrong. I see plenty of problems for science and technology to address. There are diseases to cure, alternative forms of energy to harness, and safety issues to engineer away, to name just a few.

Ex Libris

This collection of essays about books and reading is a delight for a book lover to read. Each essay focuses on a different aspect of the life of a devoted reader, and while it is clear that the author takes her subject matter seriously, she doesn't take herself too seriously, giving the essays a wry sense of humor and fun.

Why We Fly

A short look at the question of why people travel, particularly in a time when we have more options for making connections remotely than ever. Written by a travel writer who has clearly thought quite a bit about what travel brings to his life, this book does not provide a definitive answer to the question but does provide some good insights, delivered in an engaging style.

Author: 

Evan Rail

Three Things You Should Know About Peggy Paula

A simple, heartbreaking, and beautifully written story about a woman whose life has not turned out the way she had hoped.

Author: 

Lindsay Hunter

Of Oysters, Pearls and Magic

An interesting blend of sci-fi and fantasy set on a colonized planet, long after the colonization from Earth has receded into distant history and when magic has become as important as technology. The main character is from a coastal community descended from a settler group from Asia, but leaves her home in search of acceptance, which gives us a chance to visit several different communities and trace how they evolved from their own settler groups.

Author: 

Joyce Chng

A Taster Flight of Dystopic Futures

I am a fan of craft beers, and I love a good taster flight. I like the opportunity to sample several different beers in close enough succession to be able to accurately compare them. I find that being able to compare the different beers makes me notice subtle things in them, and enjoy them more.

Recently, it occurred to me that short ebooks can be a bit like a taster flight. You can sample several different author’s take on a topic in close succession, and sometimes you do notice more subtle details as a result.

An Unexpected Twist

This is a surprisingly funny book about a near-death experience, which will almost certainly make you appreciate the normal operations of your digestive tract a bit more. Borowitz developed a blockage in his colon which rather quickly became life-threatening. The book he has written about the experience is also about how little control we really have over life, and how delightful life is, nonetheless.

Author: 

Andy Borowitz

The Uncertainty Principle

A sci-fi detective story that does credit to both genres.

Author: 

John Moralee

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