You came. You listened. You did not rip me a new one. For that I thank you. I do not need a new one.
So here's my new tack.
I ditched Lost in a Good Book, per several people's suggestion. I have not given up on Fforde, though. I'm going to put in a library request for The Eyre Affair and make a clean start.
I don't want to abandon Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman so soon, either, so I'm going to check out Pratchett's Monstrous Regiment and Small Gods, as well as Gaiman's Coraline. And thanks to Marissa for the heads up that Pratchett and Gaiman may be teaming up for a Good Omens sequel. Whee!
I'm also going to request a copy of Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. I've been meaning to read Bourdain since forever, so this seems a good place and time to start.
I'd completely forgotten that a looooong time ago Cap'n Ganch had strongly urged me to read Jincy Willett's book, Winner of the National Book Award, and I meant to and then totally forgot, so thanks for the reminder, katiedid. It's back on my frontlist. (Hey, Cap'n, I went to the Jones Soda site and voted for your photo. Let me know if you win. I love Mr. Potato-Head!)
On the backlist: travel writer Tim Moore, Saki, The Night Life of the Gods by Thorne Smith, Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott, Diary of a Provincial Lady by E. M. Delafield, and Dave Barry's Big Trouble. How's that for diversity?
For Master Sam: The Giggler Treatment by Roddy Doyle. I've never read it, either, so... ahem... I'll give it a test drive before I pass it along. And thanks to Anna's reminder that these books exist, Master Sam will definitely be getting "his own" copies of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, as well as Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith's other books. I bought these for my niece and nephew ages and ages ago, when they were first published, and I've decided to hog more than my share of the credit for the fact that, because of the incredible awesomeness of my book-giving skills, my niece is now studying English literature in university. And on scholarship, no less.
Right now, I'm reading Connie Willis's To Say Nothing of the Dog. Coincidentally, I'd already gotten it out of the library when I wrote my original post, so I grabbed it with great hope and optimism when several of you recommended it. And so far I'm liking it, slow-ish start and all. Yay!
Thanks for the fantastic -- and plentiful -- suggestions, folks (and I think it goes without saying that I invite you to keep them coming). I may end this year with a bang (and not a whimper) after all.