I wanted to pass along a book recommendation that doesn't really fit well for our book club discussions on the show, but is more than worth your trip to your local library(yay!):
Machine of Death: A collection of stories about people who know how they will die
(sounds morbid, right? It's good. Read on.)
The machine had been invented a few years ago: a machine that could tell, from just a sample of your blood, how you were going to die. No dates, no details. Just a slip of paper with a few words spelling out your ultimate fate -- at once all-too specific and maddeningly vague.
A top ten Amazon Customer Favorite in Science Fiction & Fantasy for 2010, The Machine of Death is an anthology of original stories bound together by a central premise. From the humorous to the adventurous to the mind-bending to the touching, the writers explore what the world would be like if a blood test could predict your death.
It's a collection of crowdsourced short stories edited by Ryan North, David Malki, and Matthew Bennardo.
The idea: The guys solicited short stories from people online for four months, they chose the manuscripts they liked from the nearly 700 submissions, paid the writers of the submissions, and put everything together in a book.
Thanks to a clever internet campaign, the book jumped to #1 on Amazon, and beat out Glenn Beck's latest book for the top spot, prompting a wonderfully ill-informed tantrum from the right-wing pundit on his radio show.
If that's not a reason to read it, I don't know what could convince you, really.
I bought the book for my Kindle the other day, and it's been an incredibly fun, and rather refreshing read thus far. If you're reading Episode 3's book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, you'll probably need a breather about halfway through... I recommend this for a small palette cleanser.