1. Hidden Iran: Paradox and Power in the Islamic Republic, by Ray Takeyh. A good implicit "public choice" treatment of how the different factions in the Iranian government fit together. Surprisingly readable.
2. The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation, by David Kamp. Terrible title, good content, awkward writing style, terrible font, little economics, still good for foodies but only for foodies.
3. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. "Post-apocalyptic masterpiece." Fair enough, but is it better than The Dark Tower? I’m not sure, but even to pose that question is to favor Stephen King. Here is the NYT review.
4. The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood, by Rashid Khalidi. Some of the apologetics and omissions really bugged me. But as to why the Palestinians failed to construct their own state — before the creation of Israel — I learned a great deal.
5. Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses. His best novel. Fun from the outset, and you can test your knowledge of Bollywood and Islamic theology. Too famous as a political dispute, too little known as a book.