1. From London to Elista: The Inside Story of the Three Matches that Vladimir Kramnik Played for the World Chess Title, by Eugeny Bareev and Ilya Levitov. Via John Nye, the quality and drama of this book stunned me. Chess aside, the use of the dialogic form works remarkably well.
2. The Yacoubian Building, by Alaa Al Aswany. Fun, philosophical, erotic, and a bestseller in the Arab world. Many Americans don't know this book but it is worth picking up.
3. Lanark, by Alasdair Gray, This book is as good as I remember it; I was surprised to see it has only four reviews on U.S. Amazon. Many critics consider it the best and most creative Scottish novel of the twentieth century and of course it has tinges of science fiction and fantasy.
4. Venus in Furs, by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. If you are drawing inferences, keep in mind this means I had not read this book to date. It is a source for Roissy and also has some early anticipations of behavioral economics. Sporadically interesting, I would say.
5. Time Out Barcelona. The Time Out series is the most useful resource for urban travel, including for food. No other guide book comes close.