Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang “Nothing erases the past. There is repentance, there is atonement, and there is forgiveness. That is all, but that is enough." If you're like me, you consider things like coincidence and luck, and wonder if they are real. You pay attention to the universe and you are thoughtful about your place in this vast space we call home. You might have a feeling of deja vu and then later wonder what it means. If you are like me, the 9 short stories that make up the book Exhalation will be thought provoking, gripping and thoroughly satisfying. If you aren't into serious reads or philosophical ideas, but you want to try a book outside your typical genre, find the book at the library and read "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate" to see how you feel. If you are curious but not yet sucked in, read "What's Expected of Us", which is the shortest story in the series (and a compelling essay on the concept of free will), and then decide if you want to commit. I don't want to spoil too much about each short story since the mystery is a part of the appeal, but you'll experience time travel, AI, robotic nannies, and questions on the meaning of life all within a 350 page book. Chiang's writing is a gorgeous combination of Colson Whitehead's words and Blake Crouch's imagination, and I devoured this book twice: first to absorb the ideas and then again to mark up the pages with my favorite quotes. Best paired with chicken stuffed with pistachio nuts, fritters soaked in honey, and a tall glass of frosty beer.