56. Population 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time by Michael Perry
A series of vignettes about Perry's life as a writer and volunteer fire fighter in a small Wisconsin town. I really like Perry's voice and the setting, so I liked this book a lot.
57. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
The third in this super popular series. I liked this one, but I don't have the fanatical love for these books that some others have. I thought it wrapped things up pretty well, though, and through the whole series I really liked reading about Sweden.
58. The Snake, The Crocodile and the Dog by Elizabeth Peters
Another awesome Amelia Peabody mystery. Nothing more to say.
59. To the Edge: A Man, Death Valley, and the Mystery of Endurance by Kirk R. Johnson
This book was really interesting. It is the story of a reporter who signs up for Badwater, a 135 mile ultramarathon from the lowest point in Death Valley to the highest point. Johnson signs up for the race after his brother commits suicide -- Johnson's goal is to explore what makes a person able to endure. Johnson takes another brother and sister with him as crew, and aside from the family stories we also see Johnson's change from an observer of the race (as a reporter) to a whole hearted participant. The early part of the book was less interesting to me as I was not compelled by the questions of why some people do endurance events or even are able to survive certain circumstances while others cannot. What most interested me, was how the idea of Badwater started to obsess Johnson. The books does a good job of carrying the reader along on this transformation. At first I thought only crazy people would run the race, but by the end of the book I could understand its appeal. I'm unlikely to be running in the sauna to train for this race any time soon, but this book is a good glimpse into why someone might do something like that.