1. American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld - interesting account of the life of a woman who married a man who would eventually become the US president, and obviously based on the life of Laura Bush. It's a good read which effectively narrates how �a smart and likable woman would marry someone like, well, W. Creepily, Alice Walker (the protagonist) also seems to be my fictional sister.
2. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett - the Queen of England becomes a reader and develops a love of books late in her life. Her life, and England's history, changes dramatically because of it. It's a wonderful short book, with one of the best endings I have ever come across.
3. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - time traveling adventure/romance/action story. Reminded me why I avoid pulp fiction.
4. The Devil's Pool by George Sand - my first George Sand book. A really simple story about French peasants in the eighteenth/nineteenth century. Good images and an unabashed hope in life uncomplicated.
5. The State of Africa by Martin Meredith - very good background on African history from independence to the present day. It leaves you with many things to mull over, and a compelling need to help.