These are books I've been poring over the past few weeks. They can all be found in the library and contain great examples of the best of figures and portraiture.
Painting People, Figure Painting Today includes work from a wide range of contemporary artists, including a few of my faves, Lucian Freud and Eric Fischl. I discovered some artists I hadn't heard of before like Yan Pei-Ming (beautiful, expressive paintings http://www.artnet.com/artist/722994/yan-pei-ming.html) and Rezi van Lankveid (really different stuff, definitely check her out http://www.petzel.com/rvl/rvl_ex1007.html).
The other two books are less diverse in style, but no less inspiring. I'm constantly bouncing between the two worlds of traditional, figure drawing and contemporary, figurative work. So many artists pick a side and stay on it. Some traditionalists value classical painting and don't see the value of expressive, figurative work, and vice versa. I am inspired by the best of both worlds--the discipline and technique of the realistic painters and the bold diversity of the figurative painters.