Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
The last book I read that made a huge impression on me was Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. It's won tons of prizes and it's a bestseller to boot, so most readers will probably be familiar with the plot, but just in case: it's an elliptical narrative about the end of the world we know and the beginning of a new one for the survivors of a deadly plague. That makes it sound much more dystopian than it is; what it's really about is loss and sadness and the meaning and importance of art, how there must be more to existence than survival. Of course that kind of theme is going to be catnip to a writer's ego, but it's such a lovely, quiet, ruminative, melancholy (and throw in any other positive adjectives you can think of) book that it's stayed with me for months.Visit Jessica Alcott's website.
On the YA side of things, I recently reread Judy Blundell's stunning What I Saw and How I Lied, which won the National Book Award. This book does not get nearly the amount of attention it deserves; it's a coming of age with noir elements, set in 1947 in Florida, and the heat of it makes you stick to your seat. It's gorgeously written and tightly plotted, and the last few lines are some of my favorite ever.
Finally, I just started William Fiennes' The Snow Geese, which is a beautifully written non-fiction account of migration, of both birds and people. It's warm and empathetic and observant of the kind of details that most people miss. Unfortunately it's out of print in the US, but it is well, well worth seeking out.