1. Héctor Abad, Oblivion: A Memoir. A charming and intense memoir of a boy and his relationship to his father. It seems to be true, but it can be read profitably as either non-fiction or the equivalent of fiction. Recommended. Abad is still an underrated author in the United States.
2. Steve Coll, Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power. It’s OK enough, and certainly informative, but I found it a little boring. Somehow the organizing principles behind the material needed to be stronger.
3. Michael Dirda, On Conan Doyle: Or, the Whole Art of Storytelling. Short meditation on both the merits of Doyle beyond Sherlock Holmes and why fiction, and our responses to it, are and should be deeply strange. I very much liked it.
4. Nell Freudenberger, The Newlyweds. For modern fiction this is not too trendy, and it ends up being deeper than one expects. It is the story of an American man who meets his Bangladeshi bride over the internet and flies to Bangladesh to woo her and bring her back.
5. Arthur Herman, Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory During World War II. I wish the book had more explicit economic content, but it is nonetheless an interesting look at the supply-side improvements which helped the American economy during World War II.