It’s hard to define the books that have inspired you the most. You read so much and there is no control for not having read something. Asked this question more than once over a period as short as a month, I’d probably have different answers. With that qualifier, here are the books I named for Cathy Galvin of the WordFactory when she asked me this question.
More on why I picked these particular books, and what I’ve been reading lately, at the WordFactory website. There are also some excellent book recommendations from writers James Meek, Tania Hershman, Helen Simpson and Hassan Blasim. I notice Tania Hershman has, with admirable consistency, restricted her nominations to short story collections. Ah, and a book of poems.