Notes from a Public Typewriter by Michael Gustafson

Notes from a Public Typewriter by Michael Gustafson

When Ann Arbor bookstore owner Gustafson set up a small desk upon which he placed typing paper and a blue Olivetti Lettera 32 typewriter (vintage 1963) he created a portal into the minds of his customers.  Confronted with a blank page people tend to type something. Sometimes it’s just a random cluster of letters, maybe […]


Waking Up White by Debby Irving

Waking Up White by Debby Irving

This is book is a mind-opener! Irving grew up in a upper middle class suburb of Boston in the 60s and 70s. Well-educated and self-identified as a “good person,” she writes a brutally honest assessment of how she grew to become a person who takes action to contribute to racial justice rather than mindlessly letting […]


The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone

The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone

It turns out that women are often extremely good at code-breaking or cryptanalysis as it is technically known, and this book tells the fascinating story of Elizebeth Friedman, perhaps the world’s best cryptanalyst of the 20th century. In 1916 she was hired by an eccentric tycoon, George Fabayan, to work at his private estate near Chicago […]


Why We Sleep by Matthew P. Walker

Why We Sleep by Matthew P. Walker

Much of the stuff I thought I knew about sleep has had a major and often surprising up-date within the last decade or so due to the ever-increasing sophistication of brain imaging techniques (MRIs and the like). In his very readable book, Walker, a neuroscientist, reveals how some of the huge questions we have had […]



The Perfectionists by Simon Winchester

The Perfectionists by Simon Winchester

Simon Winchester is a master at both explaining things and telling us gripping stories. In his latest book he takes us on a journey of the history of precision. As a concept, the drive to greater and greater precision in order to create tools (machines) that perform extremely well started in 18th century England. In […]


The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan

The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan

Environmental journalist Egan presents the fascinating story of our planet’s largest inland bodies of water. Make that body of water–singular–because in hydrological terms the five great lakes are really all one connected body of water. It’s a very threatened body, too. From the first group of settlers of this vast continent to the current (and […]



Pale Rider by Laura Spinney

Pale Rider by Laura Spinney

Admittedly, I am fond of nonfiction books dealing with some fairly gruesome topics. The flu pandemic of 1918, commonly referred to then and still today as the Spanish flu*, is indeed gruesome. It is also a fascinating historical event and author Spinney explores it comprehensively. Her writing is clear, the events presented in gripping detail, […]


Forest Bathing by Dr. Qing Li

Forest Bathing by Dr. Qing Li

This beautifully illustrated and simple to read book is an introduction to the pleasures and science behind forest bathing. The book is subtitled How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness. Forest bathing is not taking a bath in the forest; it is immersing yourself using all your senses in the forest. Clinical research […]