Friday, July 6, 2018

Stephen Toutonghi

A native of Seattle, Steve Toutonghi studied fiction and poetry while completing a BA in Anthropology at Stanford. After various professional forays, he began a career in technology that led him from Silicon Valley back to Seattle. His novels are Join and the newly released Side Life.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Toutonghi's reply:
Plum Rains by Andromeda Romano-Lax

In literature, androids are often used to illuminate vectors of social oppression and unjust habits of judgment. Plum Rains reflects on those themes, but its near future story-line also uses the distinction between life and pseudo-life to explore identity and memory and the ways that time can fortify a refuge until it serves as a cell. Full of interesting ideas and closely researched settings, the book connects to larger social dynamics while delivering a lovely, immersive story with closely detailed characters.

Factfulness by Hans Rosling

A culmination of Rosling's life work, Factfulness is a nuanced and amplified version of his TED talks that argue that for most people in the world, life is improving. And as per usual, Rosling comes with data. Factfulness also builds a conceptual framework to help rebut arguments that things have improved enough. Given the complexity of the topic, the book's wonderfully clear prose and straightforward organization is itself a singular accomplishment, and a testament to the author's engagement. Factfulness is a very welcome counterpoint to the turgid vortex of recent news.

Aftermath: Explorations of Grief and Loss

By coming at grief from multiple angles, this anthology of personal essays, poems, graphics, and stories with images, is able to edge close to the center of an experience that seems at times like a substance too dense to escape. I'm taking this book piece by piece, and am not completely done yet, but so far it's very good.

Sip by Brian Allen Carr

Brian Allen Carr's writing has energy to spare. Other fiction I've read by him has been bold, profane, smart, like a literary Van De Graaff generator, or maybe a Tesla coil--something electric. His strong prose rhythms grant him license to go pretty much anywhere he decides to, and he goes to interesting and unexpected places. I'm looking forward to Sip, which is next on my list.
Visit Steve Toutonghi's website.

Learn about Steve Toutonghi's six top books that expand our mental horizons.

--Marshal Zeringue