1. Carnival, Elizabeth Bear. Really good (and standalone) diplomacy SF. There's a deceptive touch of John Barnes on the surface here (the two diplomats are estranged lovers, and this universe also contains theme-based experimental worlds created during a human diaspora), but underneath, the themes here are much more Le Guin than Barnes*, and the writing is uniquely Bear's own. It's fast-paced, and probably the most accessible of the five Bear novels I've read (although I still think Blood and Iron is her best).
2. World War Z, Max Brooks. This one actually mostly lives up to the hype. If you've somehow missed that hype, the concept here is that, after a zombie outbreak that nearly destroyed the world, a reporter has done interviews with survivors and fighters from all countries. It's a surprisingly effective technique. Brooks still has some rough edges when it comes to dialogue (a few too many characters speak with the same voice), but this was a hell of a tough (and innovative) project, and he pulls it off with panache**.
3. The Machine's Child, Kage Baker. What could be more fun than watching a formerly fascinating character spend the entire novel brain-damged, amnesiac, and (for an early chunk) with the body of a fourteen-year-old? I know! Watching her being emotionally manipulated and sexually used by the character formerly known as Himbo MacGuffin (who, like so many MacGuffins, was a lot more interesting when we didn't get to experience life from his perspective). It's not all bad -- there's a good ffity pages or so of Joseph, and the overarching conspiracy is still fascinating. But I needed a shower after reading this one.
Current working on #4: Are You Really Going to Eat That, by Robb Walsh. I got lots of foodie books for the holidays. Yay!
*Which isn't to imply that Barnes would be a bad thing.
**Pulling it off with ganache would have been niftier, but also more caloric.