Book recommendations please?

Our fancy modern new Interweb should make the question, “Where can I find more books like this?” super easy to answer. But it’s not, because I often like books for different reasons than the majority of the books’ other fans.

But I bet you have good recommendations, fair reader! Here’s what I’m looking for:

Like Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” in terms of intricate moral thinking and personality studies with an amusing veneer. Answering “How should I live my life?” but talking about the fine details instead of Bernstein Bears basics.

Like Anne McCaffrey’s “Crystal Singer” in that it’s about an independent ambitious woman making her way in the world regardless of social pressure to take the safe route – and succeeding. Childish escapism optional but probably necessary.

Like Vernor Vinge’s “Zones of Thought” books in exploring the mind and identity based on the physical implementation thereof (rather than abstract philosophy – and no @#@#$ing uploads to Turing machines BAH GO AWAY BORING).

Like David Sedaris for word choice. I love his story about studying the thesaurus for s-free alternatives to words to escape speech therapy for his lisp – it explains so much.

Like Sarah Vowell’s “Assassination Vacation” for, well, probably the same reasons as everyone else: expressing passionate devotion to history and politics while being incredibly funny.

So, any suggestions? Or anything else you’d just like to recommend anyway? Also feel free to discuss these authors or otherwise conduct literary criticism – I’m on vacation and have time to indulge. :) Thanks in advance!