Oh, books. My loves. I recently finished some incredibly amazing ones. Two books of short stories: Revenge by Yoko Ogawa (beautiful, strange, and eerie stories that end up all intertwining with each other), and There Once Was a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband, and He Hanged Himself by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya (stories about "the bleak Soviet and post Soviet living conditions and lives of the people of Russia"). Also a short novel called We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. This last one tells the story of two sisters who are basically shut-ins, and are feared by the people of their village. Throughout the story you learn why. I completely fell in love with the narrator, Merricat, the younger of the two and wish there were more stories written about her and her sister.
I also finished J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy. As Jo herself says about it: "This is a book about responsibility. In the minor sense—how responsible we are for our own personal happiness, and where we find ourselves in life—but in the macro sense also, of course: how responsible we are for the poor, the disadvantaged, other people’s misery."
As far as my own opinion of the book: It's not a happy book. It's not an easy book. It's about some very ugly people and bad situations. But after I finished it I felt that it shed a lot of light on social and political responsibilities, and how people view them so differently from one another. I liked it, but its not one I'll be able to revisit many times.
As for what I am reading now: Pattern Recognition by the amazing William Gibson. My buddy :)