I finished re-reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay a few days ago, and - once again - it left me completely in awe of Michael Chabon's writing abilities. I would quote a couple of my favorite passages here, except I loaned the book to my mom after gushing about it over dinner the other night, so I am currently unable to assault you with a battery of his writing.
Assault with a battery. Heh. Heh heh.
Unlike, say, Dan Brown, Michael Chabon is a truly masterful author, whose use of description and metaphor is, in my opinion, unparalleled. At least, no one immediately comes to mind.
The story is an almost Dickensian tale of two young Jewish men at the beginning of World War II, their introduction to one another, the love one has for comic books, and how their pursuit of the American Dream is complicated by WWII, sex, and the havoc wrought by survivor's guilt.
All the while you're reading about sexual awakenings and Jewish folk lore, you also get a run-down of the birth of the comic book industry in the United States and the tradition of illusionists and escape artists in Jewish culture in the early part of the 20th century.
I've also read, by Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, which was equally spellbinding and also dealt heavily with Jewish tradition and World War II, but in an alternate reality where World War II wasn't necessarily lost by the Nazis, and America was proving to be not so hospitable a retreat for the diaspora. It is more in the tradition of tough-guy detective stories, but in a way as imminently readable as Kavalier & clay.
In short, if you want to read a good book that's informative and gripping with beautifully crafted prose, Michael Chabon is your man.