This weekend I finished The Complete Works of T.S. Spivet. It's the story of a twelve year old cartographer who maps everything about life; he wins a fellowship at the Smithsonian Institute and hops the rails cross-country to accept. It's a difficult book to sum up -- what I wrote is not half of what it's about -- but I really enjoyed it. The plot is a little outlandish, but it clicks along pretty well mostly because the fascinating illustrations/maps included in the margins make the plot and the character of T.S. seem really sincere and not like weird devices. There is a kind of awkward book within a book thing, and the ending is kind of abrupt, but other than that I enjoyed it.
I'm about 150 pages into Jasper Fforde's latest, Shades of Grey, which is about a society with a caste system organized by colors - red, green, blue, yellow, purple, and gray. I was a little skeptical of the premise, but I should've known Fforde would make something fantastic out of it. It's not as whimsical as the Nursery Crimes or the Thursday Next books; there's more gravitas and satire about it, and I can hardly put it down.