1. Freedom - Jonathan Franzen (audio)
Okay to pretty good. Same sort of barely likeable characters as The Corrections. I liked the punk rock musician character the best and couldn't understand why everyone liked Patty so much.
2. Santa Clawed - Rita Mae Brown
Dumb cat mystery series. Not sure why I still read these.
3. The Zero - Jess Walter (audio)
Surreal satirical story about NYC cop with amnesia working with a post 9/11 bureaucracy to recover business documents from Ground Zero. Unsettling and the ending wasn't very satisfying.
4. The 19th Wife - David Ebershoff (audio)
Polygamous separatist Mormons in modern times interwoven with the based-on-reality story of one of Brigham Young's wives who rebelled. Really good.
5. The Intuitionist - Colson Whitehead
Sorta SciFi-ish novel about elevator inspectors from competing philosophical schools, the Empiricists and the Intuitionists, the latter who do some sort of "communicating with the elevator-ness" of the equipment to detect defects. The protagonist is the first ever female black inspector, who faces racial discrimination and the possible sabotage of an elevator she'd recently inspected amid a turf war and search for the missing plans for a fabled Intuitionist-designed elevator. Recommended.
6. A Vagabond in Fiji - Harry La Tourette Foster
Odd 1927 book I found at SPL. Travel writing from the days when you had to sail for a month to get to the South Pacific. Nice little slice of life of what Fiji was like under British rule between the wars, but probably of interest to no one on my friends list.
7.Best American crime writing 2003
8. Best American crime writing 2004 - Still good. Enjoying these immensely.
9. At Home: a Short History of Private Life - Bill Bryson, Bill (audio)
Bill takes you through a typical English country house to describe the evolution of domestic architecture and how we use the various rooms in our homes. Lots of great trivia about servants, class, and vicars. Excellent!
10. Best American crime writing 2005- Only have 2 of this series that I haven't read now. boo.
11. Secret Historian: The Life and times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade- Justin Spring
I actually read Steward's "Bad boys and tough tattoos" in the early 1990s and really liked it. I had no idea his own life was so interesting.
Failed literary career, hanging out in France with Gertrude Stein and Alice, contributing material to Kinsey, sleeping with Thornton Wilder, writing gay pulp fiction- all that on top of going from being a Literature professor to a Skid-Row tattooist. Excellent biography of someone you've never heard of. Nice slice of pre-Stonewall gay life as well.
12. Into Thin Air : a Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster -Jon Krakauer (audio)
Had never read this but was interested in the topic when all those photos of dead bodies on Everest began making the rounds a few months ago. Fails to really answer the question of why people feel the need to climb deadly mountains, but a nice disaster tale otherwise.
13. Cleaving : a story of marriage, meat, and obsession -Julie Powell (audio)
Sequel to "Julie and Julia" which I liked. This one not so good. Julie apprentices as a butcher, has an affair and can't stop texting her lover. We hear very little about her aggrieved husband who was so supportive during the Julie and Julia project, except when they're fighting about her affair. Also, she talks about Buffy the Vampire Slayer way too much for a foodie memoir. Meh.