Wow vbm we have similar taste in books I really enjoyed the kite runner and all the Pullman books as well. You should read the road it is kinda like getting kicked in the stomach but a great read and well worth it.
The Golden Compass was pretty good (albeit a lite read). The second one wasn't as good (typical 2nd in a trilogy - dry character development etc.). I just started the third one - I am a SLOW reader. You'll have to tell me how it is!
The third was the least favorite IMO. Just saw the GC movie it was pretty good better than I expected. I see they just made a movie out of the kite runner as well. Let me know if anybody reads "The Road" is is really intense especially if you have little kids.
Just finished The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril, a great book written in pulp style, and I think I'm going to pick up Warped Passages. Oh, and I'm finishing up The Thin Man, a great old mystery from the 20s.