The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Anne Brashares — a good romantic novel with a nice plot, written by the author of the Traveling Pants books. This one is much more mature than those, but all of her books are good, I think.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (#6) by JK Rowlings — good read, book candy, I didn’t find it as good as some of the first ones, but still very worth reading.

The TurnAround Mom: How and Abuse and Addiction Survivor Stopped the Toxic Cycle for her Family by Carey Sipp — fairly good, helped me continue to understand my job and the guests better, much of the advice is “common sense” that can be hard to follow. It helps to make some sense of some of the cycles and reasons for their perpetuation.

Book by Book: Notes on Reading and Life by Michael Dirda — written by a former Washington Post book reviewer, almost a journal of his favorite books and quotes along with a few expositions on the importance and meaning of reading.

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier — very good, another romantic novel with a good plot and historical pieces to it. Good movie, too.

Lying Awake by Mark Salzman — elegant portrayal of a Carmelite Convent and of the dilemma faced by many who have religious experiences that are tied to illnesses — how does one decide whether or not to treat the illness, and how does one understand the nature of the religious experiences? Beautifully written, best book I’ve read in a while.

Books on tape:

The Amber Spyglass and the Subtle Knife (two different books of His Dark Materials Trilogy) by Philip Pullman — very good books, though the final point of them was different than I thought it would be. Interesting treatment of spirituality and religion. Very much worth reading (or listening to).

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom — cheesy, as I thought it would be, but still and okay book. Essentially good lessons that I’m sure were better learned from Morrie himself than from the book — the book simply encapsulates what is too big and mysterious to be simplified, and it all ends up feeling cliched.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe — I understand why it’s a classic of sorts. Well written and a good story. All the same, I didn’t really like it all that much (though I can’t put my finger on why not).