Braun, Stephen R. 1957-
BRAUN, Stephen R. 1957-
PERSONAL: Born February 13, 1957, in Wilmington, DE; son of Robert A. (an organic chemist and counselor) and Janet (Laird) Braun; married Susan Redditt (a professor of education), September 19, 1987; children: Isa R., Aurora R. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education:
St. John Fisher College, B.A. Religion: Buddhist (Zen). Hobbies and other interests: Hiking, skiing, bicycling, sailing.
ADDRESSES: Home and office—180 Lincoln Ave., Amherst, MA 01002. Agent—Gail Ross, LSTR, 1666 Connecticut Ave., Washington, DC 20009. E-mail—[email protected].
CAREER: Writer. New England Research Institutes, Boston, MA, executive producer, beginning 1994.
AWARDS, HONORS: First-place award, American Medical Writers Book Competition, 1997.
The Science of Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Mood, Wiley (New York, NY), 2000.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Coping with Depression and Anxiety in Uncertain Times, for Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA).
SIDELIGHTS: Science writer Stephen R. Braun chose a subject—or rather two subjects—of almost universal interest for his book Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine. Those two legal drugs have been used in cultures around the world from ancient times to modern, and their role in history provides a glimpse of continuities and differences from era to era and country to country. Medical and mental health professionals have traditionally found both help and harm in these substances, and Braun illuminates the positive and negative aspects of caffeine and alcohol by relating some of his own experiences "under the influence" during the writing of his book. (According to Entertainment Weekly, Braun credits caffeine as an "invaluable tool" for his own writing.) Braun also includes in his book considerable information about the chemistry and physiological effects of alcohol and caffeine.
Library Journal contributor Eris Weaver found that Braun had treated the technical side of his material "engagingly." Similarly, a Publishers Weekly critic reported that Braun's "presentation of complicated scientific concepts is understandable without being condescending." The reviewer also cited the historical, sociological, and anecdotal portions of the text. An Entertainment Weekly reviewer pointed out the "stimulating dash of related cultural tidbits" in the "zippy" work.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 1996, p. 1867.
Entertainment Weekly, October 11, 1996, review of Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine. Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 1996, p. 794.
Library Journal, July, 1996, Eris Weaver, review of Buzz, p. 148.
Publishers Weekly, June 10, 1996, review of Buzz, p. 80.
Science, August 9, 1996, p. 738.