12. Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality by Jacob Tomsky
Borrowed from the library, it was a quick and entertaining read.I'm fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes, and according to Tomsky, there's plenty of intrigue behind the front desk of a luxury hotel. Plus, he'll give you the low-down on how to score free minibar items and other perks (Warning: Not for the morally uptight). A bit too profanity-laden for my taste, and fluffy in parts, but I definitely wanted to keep reading after it ended.
13. Empress Orchid by Anchee Min
Another historical fiction tome for my commute, I really enjoyed both the writing and the narrator. I'm glad I listened to it too, because I'm sure I would have pronounced the Chinese names all wrong. Min tells the story of China's last empress from her girlhood until she solidifies her regency (in her son's name). Despite ending rather abruptly, I really enjoyed the richly detailed descriptions of her life, and the satisfyingly tense environment where thousands of women "compete for one man," as the narrator continually reminds her reader. I also enjoyed several unusual metaphors that seemed apt to the character and time period-frequently including crickets, moths, and, one that stuck, calling a young girl "like a frosted eggplant whose growth had been stunted." Definitely recommended reading for historical fiction fans.