I read about The 9/11 Wars by Jason Burke on Tim Bray's blog and thought "that sounds interesting", and so it is. I'm about half-way through this impressively researched book - it's 1/3rd notes, references, and indexes by weight - and so far I find it both highly educational and deeply depressing. Every time I put down the book I take a deep breath and think "what a mess!".
And so it's a pleasure to recommend the second book I'm working my way through as a light-hearted antidote. Regaling the exploits of the Catholic priest of a small village, Don Camillo, and his constant struggles with the Communist mayor, Peppone, it's hard to stay depressed after reading a couple of these short stories.
"Why fiction is good for you" at the Boston Globe is an interesting look at whether or not fiction is morally improving. Personally I would be a lot less happier without it.