The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsover: Pretty crackin' good yarn about a family of well-meaning but ill-prepared Baptists plunked down in the Congo. The travelogue portion, of course, I love. The insight into each character's behavior and thoughts I found intriguing. Plus, it's practically four-books-in-one!

Mad Hot Ballroom: Captivating to watch a group of tough inner-city children move with such adult grace as they whirl and twirl each other around the ballroom in a dancing competition. Picture Spellbound plus Strictly Ballroom.

Matador at Fifteen: Did I mention this already? Good tunes and lots of 'em. Plus, an extra CD. Plus, a DVD. Plus, liner notes that include hate mail received by the company.

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