I read this post this afternoon and went 'ah neat, I should try to think about what I've read this year'. Having just spent the better part of 4 hours emptying bookshelves, disassembling, re-assembling, dusting, re-shelving, and integrating the last year's reading with the stuff on the shelves- well. First off, I've got most of the last year's reading put away, and I realize that an attempt at a full past-tense year's reading list would be utter folly.
So this is some of the things that have stuck in my head from the last year-or-so's reading, which I think others would enjoy.
I'd really recommend:
Patricia McKillip's novels 'In the Forests of Serre' and 'Ombria in Shadow', if you're looking for something in a very beautifully told fairytale fantasy. Ombria in Shadow won the World Fantasy Award for the year it came out in- which is one of the few times I've agreed with the WFA folks.
China Mieville's 'The Scar', if you enjoy weeeird fantasy. This is Munchausen territory.
Haruki Murakami just in general- though if you are at all interested in the sarin gas attacks in the Tokyo subway several years ago, I can't recommend his non-fiction book Underground strongly enough.
Iain Banks wrote a nonfiction book about looking through Scotland for the best scotch around. It was an interesting read, and I recommend it especially because you learn that the author of The Wasp Factory is not clinically insane, despite what his books might lead you to believe. It's also very educational about how whisky happens, who bottles it, how it's aged, etc etc etc. This book is titled Raw Spirit: in Search of the Perfect Dram.
Poppy Z. Brite did a new anthology titled The Devil You Know recently. If you have not picked it up and have ever enjoyed her mordant wit, these stories are chock full of it. And how often do you get a story titled 'Oh Death, Where Is Thy Spatula?'
Dan Simmons' new one, Ilium, is great fun. A bit preciously clever, but it's better than anything of his I've read since, IMHO, Fall of Hyperion. And one gets the strong impression that he doesn't give a shit about homosexuality- or if he does, he's able to look at an antipathic reaction on his own part and go 'oh, I'm just being a kneejerk' and get the hell on with his life. That was cool.