4) The Natchez Trace Historic Trail in American History, by William R. Sanford.
I'm working on a not-yet-contracted book where, among other adventures, my hero and heroine will travel up the Natchez Trace in 1815. I just figured out this part of their journey last week, so I promptly reserved all the books on the Trace I could find from the Seattle Public Library. Since this one is a short, basic introduction that looks to have been designed for middle or high school students doing research papers, it's where I started. It's a simple history, but it did give me enough of a sense of what challenges my characters might encounter on that part of their journey to flesh out my synopsis. I trust the other two more detailed books I brought home today will flesh out the actual book. :-)
5) The Crowded Grave, by Martin Walker.
I'm now caught up on everything from this series that's been released in America, though I understand the UK is a book ahead of us. As usual, it made me wish myself in France RIGHT NOW, and because of these books I've added the Perigord to my tentative itinerary for the big European trip I'm planning for the spring/summer of 2015. (I mean to be at Waterloo for the 200th anniversary of the battle, and before and/or after to spend some time in France, Spain, and Portugal, and hopefully England, too. Oh, and I'd love to go to Italy, but I'll probably have to save that for a different trip.) Anyway, this book ended in a darker place than previous entries in the series, and I really wish I didn't have to wait for the next one.
6) Wyrd Sisters, by Terry Pratchett.
I decided to give Pratchett a try after enough of my friends expressed amazement that I hadn't already read and loved all his works. And I enjoyed it very much, but it was more a matter of liking, admiration, and extreme amusement than love. I read it with my head rather than my heart, basically. I expect I'll read more Pratchett, but I'm not feeling the same frantic hunger to read the whole series NOW that I got when I finally gave in and read the Vorkosigan books (to name another set of books my friends were always urging me to read, but I put off because surely no books could be THAT good).