Tess of the d'Urbervilles, by Thomas Hardy
My semi-random "read a classic to better myself" book :-). This one makes me glad as a woman I was born now and here, and not then and there.
The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein
Great read. Big emotional button pusher, but it pushes the buttons really well. It's a rare book that will make me cry in the first 3 pages.
Wake, by Robert J. Sawyer
Read this for Hugo voting, although by coincidence I bought it before downloading the voter packet. Interesting technology concepts relating to vision, and the emergence of consciousness in artificial systems.