This has not been a half-month for reading a large number of books, but here's what I read in late October:
John Boswell, The Kindness of Strangers: the Abandonment of Children in Western Europe from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance. This ended up feeling like an overview. One can certainly see why -- there's a lot of ground to cover, and as scholarly tomes go, it's not very tomey. On the other hand, I'm not sure I want a detailed book on the abandonment of children in Rome and then another about oblation in France and so on. Interesting, footnotey, depressing but not as depressing as it could have been, given the subject matter. In fact, rather cheerful, given the subject matter.
Piers Brendan, The Dark Valley: a Panorama of the 1930s. This one really was a bit of a tome, and -- unsurprisingly -- depressing. If I had to pick an early 20th century decade, I'd take the Twenties...or the Teens...or...well, okay, let's go with "not the '30s." But I don't like gaps. The panorama in the title was a bit limited: he covered Germany, Japan, Italy, USSR, UK (but really England), US, and France. With a long digression to Spain. I think that's it. And I have this habit of being more interested in what was going on in the places that didn't have themselves labeled on the map with stars. It's good to know what the "big kids" were doing, but I ended up wanting to know more about the bits I wasn't seeing than the bits I was.
Steven Brust (skzbrust), Taltos. Reread. I try not to go all squealing fangirl on people I know. Then they go writing books like this one and making it hard on me. I'm not even sure why it clicks in with bits of my brain in times of upset, but when there's a funeral or something of the sort, I reach for Taltos. (I also like it at other times.) Also it is sometimes fun to watch people get better at what they do, especially when they start good enough that it's fun to begin with.
Lois McMaster Bujold, The Sharing Knife: Beguilement. I liked this one. It was pretty gentle given some of its subject matter. But -- and this is not a big but -- if it had been the first Bujold I picked up, I would have been less intent on picking up anything she happened to do next, no matter what, than I have been starting with Miles. I will still pick up anything she happens to do next -- not even with flagging enthusiasm -- but I suspect this is not the Bujold to start with, is what I'm saying.
Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, Good Omens. Reread. This was an accident. I tripped and my head fell on the open pages. (Seriously, I was talking to timprov and wanted something to read with lunch, and it was right there to hand in his room, so I read it.) It was still funny, but I think both of them have gotten better since writing it. And less in the "fun to watch them get better" way, for some reason.
Terry Pratchett, Wintersmith. Snow and witches and Feegles. Very fond.
Rex Stout, Before Midnight. Nero Wolfe goes on Nero Wolfeing. I go on reading about it. So.