The Art of Fielding: The first baseball novel I've read, and despite my hesitation about the sports-focus, I loved it. Of course, it's really about so much more than baseball. The adjective expansive gets thrown around so much in reviews that I'm pretty sure it's a cliche, but I don't care: this book is expansive. It's rich with great and memorable characters, full of well-conceived literary allusions, and nostalgic/sentimental without being maudlin. And the characters have some of the best names I've read in a while (Skrimshander? Affenlight? Pella and Guert?)
The Espressologist: Thank God I'm drinking coffee again or reading this one would've killed me. This is a sweet, fun YA read about matchmaking in a coffeeshop. I promised myself I wouldn't use the word frothy in reviewing it. Whoops. Anyway, I love me some food-or-beverage-themed YA. It was very fun to read the (often apt) personality types attributed to certain drinks: beware of the small nonfat lattes of the world!
Dear American Airlines: This isn't a novel in verse, but a novel in rant. Yes, I bought this based on its high-concept title. You see, I have a habit of writing letters to companies--not necessarily angry letters, sometimes a note expressing gratitude or a plea to bring back a favorite cereal flavor. (True story: I wrote Trader Joe's when they discontinued my favorite granola, the Sweet and Salty trail mix cereal one. I might've said in my letter that I no longer have a reason to get up in the morning. WARNING: Sometimes the people reading customer service emails do not pick up on hyperbole or humor. I got a pretty awkward concerned response to that one.) Dear American Airlines is much more than its hook; the letter tells the hilarious and heartbreaking story of a man trapped at O'Hare on the way to his estranged daughter's wedding, and it grows into a reflection and lamentation on his life. If I were going to be stuck on the tarmac, I would want this book in my carryon.