I spent a good part of this year reading Edmund Morris' thee-volume biography of Theodore Roosevelt, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Rex, and Colonel Roosevelt. I had been meaning to read them for some time. I was very impressed, both with the books and with the man whose life they covered. I had never understood why his face appeared on Mount Rushmore. These books make the reasons clear.
The piece of fiction I most enjoyed this year was Kraken by China Miéville. I loved this book. It's what fantasy can be but so rarely succeeds in being. Funny, original, and with a wonderful lack of all the stuff I hate.