The Twilight Of The Superheroes: Stories by Deborah Eisenberg, a short story collection that explores today's American society. She has a pretty bleak view of modern life and I was struck by the hopelessness and cynical the stories are. The story that stood out for me was Like It Or Not, in which a middle aged divorcee takes a short trip with an Italian count. The shifting perspectives show that instead of a romantic story she is still coming to terms with her lost marriage while the count is lusting after a teenaged girl on vacation. Each story illustrates the ultimate aloneness of each individual, living completely separate lives from those around them.
In The Company Of The Courtesan by Sarah Dunant is a straightforward piece of historical fiction detailing the life of a midget and his employer, a beautiful and successful courtesan in Rome. After the Lutherans take over Rome, they flee to Venice to start over. As they struggle to rebuild their lives a blind healer becomes a frequent visitor with tragic results. This novel is also based on historical events and the glimpse into the life of a courtesan is fascinating. This probably won't stay on my best list (although you never know about these things) but I did enjoy reading it.