Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
This sweeping and emotionally riveting saga contains a rich stew of topics to discuss. Africa and America, love and loss, healing and medicine, and the meaning of home. Don’t forget to dig into the author’s bio, too—he’s remarkable, as shown by the fact that this is the first novel he ever wrote. Oh, and he’s a practicing MD too. Amazing. Don’t miss these 18 classics you can read in a day.
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
A great nonfiction choice for either a family book group or perhaps a couples book group where one spouse is a semi-reluctant reader. On the surface, it’s a sports story about the men’s crew team that raced in the 1936 Olympics—but it’s much more than a sports book. The tale is chock-full of life lessons: resilience, determination, tiny miracles, luck, hard work. Add to that some great historical tidbits, compelling characters, and even the surprisingly fascinating physics behind what makes a boat fast. If you think you don’t like sports stories, give this one a try anyway. Don’t forget to also read these books that can completely change your life.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
This is a must on our book club books list, a wonderful wallow of a book that transports the reader into another world, with charismatic characters you won’t soon forget. The protagonist, known simply as The Count, is a Russian aristocrat under house arrest at a famous Moscow hotel circa the 1920s. With uncrushable optimism, The Count is determined to live a full and enriching life within the confines of the hotel. He befriends a variety of zany characters, from spies to thieves, revolutionaries to spirited children, movie stars to hotel maids. His zest for life, even when severely limited by his circumstances, is inspirational. While this one’s longish, it reads quickly and you’ll be sorry when the last page is turned.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishaguro
This one stays with you. The author blends utter normalcy with the unthinkable, and somehow that juxtaposition echoes in the mind well after you finish the book. The writing is gorgeous, the characters likable, and the twist underlying everything is utterly chilling. And scarily enough, while the premise might seem like pure science fiction, if you think about it, it’s not all that farfetched. Or is it? This question alone is sure to spark thoughtful debate among your group.