So I returned The Explosionist. It just kept getting to be more and more about ghosts and less about alternate history, bombs, or girls' boarding schools. And while I'm not opposed to ghost stories, I don't like them enough to be pleased when they're the end product of a bait and switch game.
But I have to say I'm feeling gleeful, because I'm reading THREE interesting books right now, and they balance each other very well. I'm still working on Terry Pratchett's Hogfather, and that's nothing but fun. It can also be taken in small bites, because the plot tends to be so convoluted that you can easily follow the big points and really can't follow the small ones no matter what. It's all about the funny, anyway.
Then I'm reading Ever, which is another by Gail Carson Levine, whose Fairest I enjoyed recently. This one does not appear to be a retelling of any story I know (though it could be--Lord knows I didn't see it coming in her other books). This is pretty straight fantasy, YA and romance. It's sweet and fast and nice.
And finally, I just started Plain Secrets: An Outsider Among the Amish, by Joe Mackall. This is a nonfiction account of the author's friendship with an Amish family in his neighborhood (in rural Ohio, needless to say). They belong to a particularly insular order of the Amish, and he describes their lives very well. It's much more about the story of one family, rather than trying to make them "typically" Amish. It reminds me of the parts in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, where Barbara Kingsolver describes a family of farmers with whom her own family is close, only explaining near the end that they are Amish.
After these, I have a true story of someone who forged a bunch of Vermeers and almost got away with it, a memoir by an Episocopalian minister who leaves her post but not the church, a Chris Bohjalian that I still haven't read and am excited about, and a book that appears, at first glance, to tell short, engaging stories about great events in English history. You hear that, Kris? I'm going to know one Henry from another soon!