It seems to always turn out that some of my favourite books are completely obvious, and some take more thought. Both last year and this year, my favourite nonfiction and two of my favourite fiction books were obvious, and the third fiction was not so obvious.
Bluestockings, by Jane Robinson - This is a wonderful, wonderful book, full of fascinating, hilarious, and infuriating anecdotes about very real women who just wanted the right to learn things. Read my original review here.
Blackout/All Clear, by Connie Willis - I know these are two books, in a physical sense, but I don't think they were originally intended to be separate, and they are one story. One giant, glorious story. I read 350 pages of All Clear in one day because I literally couldn't put it down. I learned more about World War II here than I ever did in school. Connie Willis really does just keep getting better. Original reviews are here and here.
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, by Helen Simonson - I loved this book. It dealt with all sorts of important issues, and it did so the more effectively because it was such a good story on its own. Original review here.
The Post-Office Girl, by Stefan Zweig - This was a beautiful and very sad book. While the other books on this list are here because I loved reading them so much, this one is here because I think it's important that it be here. Not that it was not a good reading experience, because it was, but it was not the same kind of experience that more lighthearted books were. Read the original review here.