First, From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Cultural Life by Jacques Barzun. This book was given to me as a thank-you gift for reading Tom Wright's manuscripts. At 802 great big pages jam-packed with information, this is a book I'm going to have to put myself on a schedule to read (for instance, ten minutes a day for the next THREE YEARS). It looks a whole lot like a textbook. I expect to learn quite a bit from it.
Inside the Third Reich: Memoirs by Albert Speer. My mom bought this book for a quarter during her trip to Maine last month. She finished reading it on the way here for her Labor Day visit, and asked if I wanted to read it. This was just after I was told that Sam Taylor was reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer. (I almost put that book on my TBR list, more because I thought it was something I ought to read than because it sounded like fun . . . but I didn't.) However, apparently the universe is conspiring against me and wants me to read about Hitler's Germany. Fortunately this book is "only" 619 pages.
These two great big doorstops are both the sort of book that I would love to just rest on my forehead and absorb by osmosis. I don't expect to enjoy reading them, but I want to know all of the information they contain. Perhaps someday I will. Meanwhile, I may need to put them at the bottom of the Tower, if only for safety reasons.
Anyway, the newest book on my list is The Canon: The Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier. I heard about it when Nymeth reviewed it here. I have my BS in a science, but if there were anyone in charge of gauging information retention, I'm afraid they would take my degree away from me. Anything I don't use on a regular basis has completely flown out of my head. Not only that, but we have already established that physics makes no sense to me. This book sounds like a great way to review what I should know and learn things I never did grasp.