I'll chime in in praise of Bill Bryson (though we're supposed to be talking fiction here as I understand it). I've only read A Walk in the Woods
--need to get me some more.
Best fiction I've read in the past several months: No Country for Old Men
by Cormac McCarthy. I finished it, went back to the beginning and read it again. Absolutely astounding (he pretty much always is, but this is way up there). Warning: not for the faint of heart.
Let's see...then there's The Summer He Didn't Die
--Jim Harrison working in the novella form he's so @#*ing good at. And how about The Time Traveller's Wife
by (I'm not making this up) Audrey Niffenegger. Terrific.