1) Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler
Moderately funny, but quickly became tiresome. I wasn't really familiar with her schtick, but I got it REAL quick after starting this book. Recommend: no.
2) Seattle's Best Dive Bars: Drinking & Diving in the Emerald City by Mike Seely
typo-ridden and slight in page count. I was surprised at how many of these I'd been to that I didn't really consider dive bars. Recommend: no.
3) A Year Without "Made in China": One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy by Sara Bongiorni
You know how this book is going to turn out before you even read it. Toys can be had that aren't from China, printer cartridges cannot. Family cheats by allowing Chinese gifts during experiment; mom begs her sister to get the son Chinese Scooby Doo toy to not ruin his birthday so that mom doesn't have to break the boycott and buy it. still, interesting if you like this kinda of thing. Recommend: lukewarm.
4) The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner
I especially liked the chapters on Bhutan (where the leadership measures Gross National Happiness) and Moldova (one of the unhappiest places in the world by most statistical metrics). Recommend: yes.
5) In the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Lovers, and the Mad Dreamers Who Tried to Build A Perfect Language by Arika Okrent
wonderful. Did you know George Soros was taught Esperanto by his father and was at one time a fluent speaker? the klingon stuff is what you'd expect, but some of the languages you've never heard of have equally fascinating histories. Also, the author is not above picking apart someone's elaborate grammatical manifesto to figure out what the word for "poop" would be in the artifical language. also interesting is the history of how Hebrew went from being strictly a scholarly/religious language (that no one constructed original sentences in) to being the national language of the newly-created Israel (beating out more logical choices like Yiddish) Recommend: emphatically.
6) I'm A Stranger Here Myself - Notes On Returning To America After Twenty Years Away by Bill Bryson
collection of his newspaper columns for a UK paper for a UK audience. Bryson is better in longer formats; this was a little too precious. Recommend: lukewarm. read "A walk in the woods" first if you haven't already read Bryson.
7) Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States by Bill Bryson
okay, but not as funny as his other stuff. I remember his other linguistic book "The Mother Tongue" being better. Recommend: mostly yes.
wow, no fiction this quarter. odd.