1. Daniel Kehlmann, Measuring the World. A best-seller and critical rave in Germany, but it is dull. Did it succeed because Germans are overreacting to a "normal" (read: non-Nazi) novel about their history?
2. Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic, by Esther Perel. This is the most dangerous book I read this year. The main thesis is you keep your sex life alive through anger/arousel and distance, not intimacy. Here is a review.
3. Kathryn Davis, The Thin Place: A Novel. She is a consistently intriguing writer who finally wrote her breakthrough book; one of the best-reviewed novels of 2006.
4. Alice Munro, The View from Castle Rock: Stories. I’ll put her with early Pynchon, Coetzee, Rushdie, Saramago, Sebald, and Pamuk. A wonderful collection, but read this "roots approach" last, not first. You might start here instead, be ready for lots of Ontario. A big dose of her is the easiest way to make Philip Roth look overrated.
5. Javier Marias, Your Face Tomorrow: Fever and Spear. Spain’s best-known current writer, but ignored by Anglos. Here is a good article on him. The English-language translation is first-rate, but the story doesn’t click with me.
6. Pessimism: Philosophy, Ethic, Spirit, by Joshua Foa Dienstag, interesting from beginning to end: "Freedom for the pessimists is not merely a status but an
experience that a time-bound person can aspire to through a certain
approach to life. As I will elaborate later, the pessimists have
tended to see this approach exemplified in questing figures like
Columbus or Don Quixote."