Photo: Marshall Troy

10 of 11
320 pages; G.P. Putnam's Sons
Though our favorite tech tools may seem gifted from the gods or born in a white box, they sprang from the minds of mere mortals, as Courtney Maum reminds us in her novel Touch, a hilarious workplace send-up and warm-hearted tale of a woman reconfiguring her priorities. Sloane Jacobsen, a trend forecaster with a hint of ESP, foresaw the rise of the touch screen "swipe," and now everyone wonders what she'll prophesy next. However, she's begun to find her full-on wired existence less than satisfying, especially since her boyfriend, a TED-esque celebrity whose daily uniform is a spandex bodysuit that masks his face, has proclaimed the demise of penetrative sex in favor of the cyber version. Is it a coincidence that Sloane discerns signs of a new phenomenon: that "people were ready to separate their souls from their SIM cards"? Is "in-personism" the next wave? At first you might feel lost without your device, Sloane concludes, though soon you'll find that "your mind—so tired, always on—is interpreting that sudden helplessness as the exact thing you have wanted." 
— Erin Vanderhoof