Books, books, books
I usually do most of my reading when traveling, but with July free from travel, I've found some time to do some reading around the house.
I reserved the new Harry Potter book from the library months ago and picked it up the day it was released. I found it to be really enjoyable. I was particularly impressed that Rowling was able to increase the maturity level of the series as the characters (and readers) mature. Christina pointed out that this progression was part of Rowling's original plan from the book, but I was impressed that she was able to pull it off. I look forward to Book Six.
In an age when news zips around the world in the blink of an eye, it's interesting to look back to a time when information traveled at a relative snail's pace. I think it was reading about the Battle of New Orleans, fought after a peace treaty had been signed in the War of 1812 that first got me interested in the transition to the Information Age. That transformation happened with the development of the telegraph. The Victorian Internet was a good read (though poorly titled) on that subject, and A Thread Across the Ocean joins it in filling in my knowledge of how the telegraph shrunk the world. The book gives an idea of both the massive technical challenges that faced the transatlantic cable, as well as the social and political effects of the connection.