“Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamond – An Explanation of History

“Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamond (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Jared Diamond attempted a rather ambitious undertaking when he decided to write Guns, Germs and Steel, an effort which was ultimately worth it as evidenced by it earning the 1997 Pulitzer Prize. In this book, Jared Diamond traces the evolution and progress of numerous societies across the planet starting at 11,000 BC, in an attempt to explain why history took the specific course it did, rather than any other one.

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“The Bookseller of Florence” by Ross King – Pinnacle of Bookmaking

“The Bookseller of Florence” by Ross King (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Ross King, while dabbling in fiction at times, seems to have made his greatest literary impacts in the realm of non-fiction, as he recently did once again with The Bookseller of Florence. Taking us back to the fifteenth century, it tells the true story of Vespasiano da Bisticci, known in his day as the king of the world’s booksellers and perhaps the greatest propagator of knowledge, ultimately setting Italy on the long road to the Enlightenment.

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“The Black Obelisk” by Erich Maria Remarque – Economics Dictate Values

“The Black Obelisk” by Erich Maria Remarque (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Erich Maria Remarque has managed to capture like few others the atmosphere of his era, and in The Black Obelisk he takes us to the heart of Germany after the First World War. It introduces us to Ludwig, a young veteran from the war, now working for a monument company, mostly selling stone markers to the loved ones of the recently-departed. With the historical inflation in his country only worsening by the hour, Ludwig tries to find a meaning for his life amidst a turbulent and collapsing society.

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“Illusions” by Richard Bach – Become Your Own Messiah

“Illusions” by Richard Bach (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Richard Bach is without the shadow of a doubt one of the most original and inspiring authors of the twentieth century, somewhat ironic considering his self-professed disdain for writing. In Illusions and Illusions II he tells a tale starring himself, one where he meets Donald Shimoda, a self-professed messiah capable of elevating Richard’s world to new and unseen heights.

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“Who They Was” by Gabriel Krauze – An Unforeseen Duality

“Who They Was” by Gabriel Krauze (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Gabriel Krauze is one of the few people who truly managed to escape life among the gangs of London, and in his first published novel, titled Who They Was, he takes us to the heart of a culture long-hidden in the shadows. It tells the story of Gabriel, a university student learning about English literature by day, and a member of London’s gang-ridden underworld by night, known to most as Snoopz.

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“Stolen Thoughts” by Tim Tigner – The End of Psychological Privacy

“Stolen Thoughts” by Tim Tigner (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Tim Tigner has never shied away from exploring hypothetical ideas in as much depth as his profound imagination allowed it, and in Stolen Thoughts he looks at a piece of technology which humanity might yet live to see one day. The story is centred on a young bio-engineering student who makes a life-changing breakthrough: a device allowing thought-based communication with the impaired. However, someone years earlier made the same discovery, and is intent on keeping it hidden.

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“Bury Your Dead” by Louise Penny – A String of Tragedies

“Bury Your Dead” by Louise Penny (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Louise Penny has defied time and time again any doubters as to her proficiency for coming up with more original mysteries for Chief Inspector Gamache to solve, and in the sixth book of the series, Bury Your Dead, he finds himself pushed to his limits. Recovering from a horribly-failed police operation, Gamache is drawn into the murder investigation surrounding a historical society in Quebec, and most surprisingly, Samuel de Champlain himself.

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“The Sirens of Titan” by Kurt Vonnegut – The Inescapable Plan

“The Sirens of Titan” by Kurt Vonnegut (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Kurt Vonnegut sets the Prophetic Wheels in Motion

The purpose of human life is a question which has been debated upon ever since people managed to create free time for themselves, allowing them to think of topics other than survival. While all our thinking has led us no closer to an indisputable answer, it has led to a wealth of ideas worthy of consideration, and Kurt Vonnegut added some of his own input on the topic in 1959 when he published The Sirens of Titan.

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“The Bookman’s Promise” by John Dunning – One Last Request

“The Bookman's Promise” by John Dunning (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

John Dunning Raises a Mystery from the Past

While a major chunk of the written works in human history has found its way into some form of record, whether physical or online, I think it’s fair to say there are still plenty of old and lost books floating about in the world. In The Bookman’s Promise by John Dunning, the third entry in the Cliff Janeway Novels, a whole collection of such books spins the wheel of a far-reaching mystery.

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“The 7 She Saw” by Elle Gray – A Sleeping Darkness

“The 7 She Saw” by Elle Gray (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Elle Gray Raises a Town of Monsters

Working for the FBI is often portrayed as glamorous work demanding sacrifices but yielding immensely rewarding results for all those involved. Many seem to omit the aspect of the job which forces one to stare into the abyss for decades on end. However, for FBI agent Blake Wilder, in The 7 She Saw by Elle Gray, the blackened void in her life is a longtime companion and guiding hand.

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“Solaris” by Stanislaw Lem – The Unnoticed Contact

“Solaris” by Stanislaw Lem (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Stanislaw Lem Creates an Unyielding Mystery

The nature of the universe has never ceased to amaze us since we’ve been able to pierce the outermost layers of its surface, and the questions about the possibilities it has in store are only multiplying. The dream of making contact with intelligent beings from elsewhere in the cosmos is more of a reality than ever (fickle as it may be), and in Solaris, Stanislaw Lem looks at one potential manifestation of such an event.

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