Reamde by Neal StephensonI really wanted to like this one, but I don't. That doesn't mean it isn't a good thriller, but that's all it is. The speculative flights of fancy expressed in Stephenson's previous work (especially the recent Anathem) have given way to an untamed sprawl of complex (and frequently implausible) plotting and rather pedestrian characterization. This is not a book of deep thoughts, and from Stephenson that is a disappointment.
Packing For Mars by Mary RoachVery much in the vein of her previous books (such as Stiff, a humorous and informative primer on the various afterlives of human cadavers), full of funny and interesting anecdotes and lessons about the practical aspects of keeping living things, mostly people, alive and healthy in space. There is almost an entire chapter devoted to zero-g fecal collection. Enough said.
Holidays in Heck by P.J. O'RourkeHolidays in Hell was the first O'Rourke book I ever read, a viciously funny tour of various military situations around the globe. This is a banal, unfunny tour of a Republican taking his family to various vacation destinations. O'Rourke's humor and sensibility have ossified over time, and the stench of the 2nd Bush Administration hangs over the stale jokes like - well, like zero-g fecal collection.