- Empire Falls by Richard Russo - I found this 2002 Pulitzer winner at a used bookstore. It's a story of a small New England town that is dealing with great changes since the textile industry changed. It provides a very interesting (and amusing!) look at small town life. The first 400 pages were very good, but it kind of fizzled at the end.
- The Player of Games by Iain M Banks - A reread for me. This book is set in the far future when the dominant civilization (known as the Culture) finds another civilization that is organized around an unbelievably complicated board game. They recruit their finest game player to play against them. A great book full of surprising cultural details.
- There were a handful of other books that I'm only part of the way through. The most interesting is 'The Cave and the Light' by Arthur Herman. This is a comparison of Plato and Aristotle and what each of them has meant to western civilization. Well written and interesting throughout.
Father and the Boys by Weissenberg, a very dark story
With Acknowledgments to Sun Tzu by Hodge, nearly as dark
No Place for you, my Love by Welty, which was frustrating
Not much joy there. Respect for crafting and art, but probably too much darkness.