I've just started reading Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch. It got rave reviews when it came out last month but the plot sounded so complicated that I wasn't sure I wanted to read it. I got it anyway and I'm now around page 100 and can't put it down. I read her earlier two books ages ago and liked them a lot, and somehow her writing just gets better and better - voice, characters, plot, place, descriptions et al.
I just finished Mark Salzman's beautiful novel The Soloist - which was published in 1994 and is still available in paperback. It's about music, Zen, teaching, jury duty and losing a gift that defined you. I learned so much from this book, and at the same time it was a delicious read. Another of my favorite novels is Mark's Lying Awake, and also his memoir, The Man in the Empty Boat. He makes writing look so easy, but also makes it clear in his memoir that it isn't.
FYI: I'm thrilled that Mark is the special speaker for my UCLA Writers Studio class, "Courage & Craft" (February 6-9) - Come join us. The class is filling up so contact the Writers' Program at UCLA Extension if you're interested.