I finished up The Winter Palace which is about Catherine the Great. Positives: I learned more about this Russian ruler than I knew before. Negatives: I found this one kind of slow and a bit fragmented. The narrative is told through a young woman who winds up as a maid-of-honor at the Russian court, but her story wound up shadowing the story of Catherine, and about 50% of the book has Catherine only very peripheral to the rest of the story. I think it could have used more editing.
At any rate, onward to The Fossil Hunter this week. I had read Remarkable Creatures (a fictious account of the same town of Lyme Regis on the coast of England where many amazing fossils were found in the early 19th century) by Tracy Chevalier last year and enjoyed that very much. This is the nonfiction version of the same set of facts. Just a couple of chapters into it, but so far, a very good read - well-written and interesting.
I need to back-track at some point and pick up a volume of short stories - I may find something to fit the bill that I can take with me to read at night in the hotel in Denver in another week when I'm tired and short on attention span!