Percy Jackson, The Lightening Thief is the first in a series about a young, dyslexic boy who is half-human, half-Greek god. With a definite Harry Potter feel, Percy ends up confronting several Greek gods in an attempt to win his father's approval. It's aimed at youth, but has just about as many adult readers as kids. I didn't love it, but I would certainly pick up the sequel.
The Time Travelers Wife is an interesting look at what it would be like to love someone who travels through time. Though parts were confusing to me, I caught on soon enough. Eventually the story line beat out the strangeness/interesting-ness of time travel, but it took a bit. Warning: If you are uncomfortable around profanity and have a hard time "reading over" the (not so infrequent) cuss words, don't read The Time Traveler's Wife.
While I loved DaVince Code, and have read several Dan Brown books, I have to say that The Lost Symbol is my least favorite of the bunch. So much of the book reads like a college lecture - an interesting lecture, but a lecture none the less. It took awhile for the action to pick up, but it did get there. This would certainly be great vacation read, but it was nowhere near the quality of other Brown books.
Several friends recommended No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, so I thought I would give it a try. Set in Africa this book presents a series of vignettes wherein Ms. Precious sets out to solve mysteries in a very no-nonsense, folksy way. This book is also a series, but I'm not too sure I'll keep up with them.
I used to teach social studies, so I lean towards this type of thing anyway, but I really liked Red Scarf Girl, the biography of a young Chinese girl who lived during Mao's Cultural Revolution. The thing I found most compelling about her story is how she witnessed the awfulness of Mao's reign, yet worshipped the man and his movement. The reader gets a real sense of how a society can get so caught up in a dictatorship. I found it fascinating.
Next: Faster and the Acceleration of Just About Everything.