1) The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon (audio) my first Pynchon. Okay but noticably dated. I would read another of his at some point, but this didn't grab me. OTOH, I didn't hate it.
2) Wonder boys by Michael Chabon (audio) I liked, but wish I'd read before seeing the movie. movie very faithful to the book in retrospect.
3) Empire Falls by Richard Russo amazing. did NOT see the film first. great character driven look at town life in a dying area. recommend wholeheartely.
1) Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak (audio)
nice history of the syndicate that wrote the Nancy Drew books. looks at other successes of the syndicate that are forgotten today (The Dana Girls, etc). apparently the Carolyn Keene ghostwriters had major beefs with the book publisher/packager, but they were mostly all women after the founder of the syndicate died. Recommend for kid lit fans.
2) Kava: Medicine Hunting in Paradise by Christopher S. Kilham
memoir of Kava importer. nice background on Vanuatu history, a few "drug stories" about kava experiences in Vanuatu. worth reading if you plan to go to vanuatu, most others can skip.
3) American Taboo : A Murder in the Peace Corps by Philip Weiss
picked this up at random in the Doe Bay library, turns out the victim was from near Tacoma and the book mentions someone I worked with at the library! Concerns late 70s murder of a Peace Corps volunteer in Tonga by another volunteer, who basically was convicted, extradited and released. great travesty of justice tale, also nice window into Tonga mores.
4) SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
disappointing. If the first one was an 8.5, this is a 5. skip.
5) State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America by Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey
excellent. in the spirit of the WPA guides to the states, 50 authors write about what makes their state unique. The Alison Bechdel Vermont one is actually a long comic strip. Even the meh pieces are still worth reading.