For years I have been meeting with a group of fellow writers who help me improve my writing. They say I help them, too. Something has been working, because six of us have now published books, three this year. Most have been self-published, including mine, something I never would have considered a few years ago. The publishing business is changing. I no longer believe that all self-published books are "vanity" books and poorly written. I have read books published by "real" publishers that were poorly-written and poorly edited.
Each book should be considered on its own merit. Books that have been written by good writers with functioning critique groups can be good reads, very good reads, indeed. I recommend these:
Smokin' Joe by Martha Sargent (a novel set in central Oregon)
Wombat Chow of the Damned by Donovan Reves (quirky short fiction and poetry)
Born Breech Into Covenant: The Experience of Mother by Carol Bosworth (nonfiction).