I Feel Bad About My Neck

When I was bemoaning the signs of age, both physical and mental, and the fact that doctor's visits often result in a diagnosis that begins with "as we age..." a friend recommended this book. It is a collection of essays that are mostly funny, sometimes thought-provoking, and always worth reading. Not all of the essays are about aging, but all offer insights into life, from a woman whose life was truly well-lived.

Taster Flight: SFF - Mystery Mashup

I love a good mystery. And I love science fiction and fantasy. It is perhaps not surprising that I really enjoy a good combination of the two genres. If the idea sounds intriguing to you, too, here is a taster flight of science fiction or fantasy stories that are also mysteries or detective stories.

The Uncertainty Principle, by John Moralee, is a classic police procedural, set in a dystopic future.

Rabbits with Horns and Other Astounding Viruses

This book isn't really an introduction to the world of viruses, more like a teaser. Zimmer provides a glimpse into the weirdness that is viruses, giving satisfying, complete stories about the viruses he discusses, but making it clear that there is many more wonderful stories out there for people who want to explore more. This is a book that will reward your time, and leave you with an increased sense of the wonderful diversity of the natural world.

Author: 

Carl Zimmer

First Flight

A historical society wants footage of the first real flight by the Wright brothers. The only problem is, it doesn't exist. A new invention provides a solution: they can send someone back in time to capture the footage, but there's a catch. You can only go back in time as far as your birth day. And that is how Eleanor Louise Jackson comes to be sent back in time. To tell anymore risks ruining this delightful short story, which really shows how much a talented author can do with the form.

Author: 

Mary Robinette Kowal

Read Together: The Scientific Discovery Edition

I haven’t posted a “Read Together” short ebook pairing in a long time. I am surprised to discover that these pairings are harder to find than the “Taster Flights” I’ve been posting. But I have a new pairing for you, and it is one I can’t believe I didn’t recognize earlier.

Unspotted

This is several stories in one: the story of the endangered Cape Mountain Leopard, the story of the scientist (Quenton Martins) who is trying to save them, and the story of the author's attempt to see one of these rare and beautiful creatures.

Author: 

Justin Fox

The Steampowered Globe

This is a collection of steampunk stories set in Singapore and Malaysia, written by local authors. The stories are inventive and fun to read. This collection is definitely worth your time if you like steampunk.

The Day Democracy Died

If you've always wished you knew more about ancient history, this book is for you. It is a fast-paced and well-executed telling of the story of the waning days of the Ancient Greek democracy. The story opens with the Battle of Aginusae, and then traces the tragic aftermath that led Athens to the brink of destruction. The story will grab your attention, but the book also includes enough exposition and analysis to allow you to think about what went wrong, and to perhaps draw some lessons from the story.

Author: 

Anselm Audley

Firestarter Yukawa

This is a wonderful, character-driven story, translated from the Japanese. It reminds me a bit of film noir: The main character is an average guy, trying to get by in a life that hasn't given him many advantages, but then a beautiful and somewhat mysterious young woman rents one of the small rooms in the apartment building he manages, and strange and disturbing things start happening.

Author: 

Eiichi Nakata

The Case of the Missing Moon Rocks

This is a hard book to summarize. It is a detective story about tracking down stolen moon rocks, but it is more than that, too. It looks at the lure of the moon rocks, the motivations of the people involved in selling them, and the surprising way in which the value of the rocks got set. It is also a character study of the detective who is perhaps a little obsessed with finding lost moon rocks, and a cautionary tale of what can happen if you try to take an opportunity that sounds a little bit too good to be true.

Author: 

Joe Kloc

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