Books, books, books.
I finally started reading again on a semi-regular basis, after recovering fully from full-time bar preparation. I recently finished Reading Lolita in Tehran, Life of Pi, and The Task of This Translator. I enjoyed all three, but the third one is the book I plan on recommending to everyone I meet. It's a collection of short stories that are wonderfully written.
Reading Lolita in Tehran I also enjoyed, to the dismay of nearly everyone I meet. I think people forgot that it says "Memoir in Books" on the front, and it's not just a novel about Iran. I thought her perspective was interesting and enlightening, and even though I didn't read many of the books she spoke of (a lot of Victorian crap I have no patience for), I still appreciate her parallels with the storylines she taught in class. It was an interesting look into the life of a woman in Iran that wasn't overly political, just a personal tale. The book as a whole is nothing earth-shattering, and I had trouble remember who was who because I couldn't remember the Persian names, but when I closed the back cover I thought, "I'm glad I read that."
I learned one thing from Life of Pi: Don't read a widely popular book in public. I couldn't crack that thing open at work or even on the sidewalks without someone stopping to tell me how great it was. I was waiting for a late friend at a Nationals game and some stranger literally came from 30ft away to say, "That is a great book, don't stop reading it, really." Seriously? Did I look like I was going to put it down? I would have finished it a week sooner if I hadn't been interrupted by so many people. And all that talk was really for nothing. It was a delightful tale and there was a point, but it was a pretty obvious point and nothing earth-shattering. I sort of felt like it's a book for people who don't read a lot of books. Or at least don't read a lot of books with subtle themes that can be picked apart for weeks. Still, I thought it was a great story. Just don't expect the answer to life at the end.
On another note: Will the rain ever end? It was dry as a bone all summer, and now that we're throwing a party the mid-Atlantic is flooding? Come on, I still have my backyard to finish. And the grill isn't getting gas from the tank. Yikes. It's going to be the best party ever!