All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr

When I first picked up this book, I had been reading a string of lengthy, war-time fiction. Hesitant to start another, I decided just to peek at the first few pages. Within a couple of days, I had finished the book. All the Light We Cannot See tells two stories: Werner, a young German orphan with a knack for repairing radios, lands himself in a prestigious but brutal Hitler Youth school. Marie-Laure, a blind twelve-year-old living in Paris, has her world turned upside down when the city is bombed and she must flee everything she's known with her father and a dangerously valuable jewel. As the LA Times describes, Doerr "illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another."

Cutting For Stone

Abraham Verghese

Cutting for Stone follows the story of doctor Marion Stone through his years spent growing up in Ethiopia and later his experience as a doctor in the United States. Incredibly well written, interesting, and inspiring, this book is not to be missed!

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

Anthony Marra

Not unlike one of my favorite books, City of Thieves, this book flawlessly combines humor and tragedy with brilliant prose. Eight-year-old Havaa is taken in by her neighbor Akhmed when her father is taken by Russian soldiers. Akhmed brings her to stay with Sonja, a doctor who has lost everything but her abandoned hospital. Taking place over the course of only five days, A Constellation of VItal Phenomena delivers a rich storyline full of overlapping histories and the harsh realities of a village in the midst of war. Fantastic.

This Is How You Lose Her

Junot Diaz

Junot Diaz has proven time and time again that he is a master of storytelling. Following a Dominican man as he relates his various encounters with love, This Is How You Lose Her is as heartbreakingly relatable as it is enjoyable. I read this book in less than a day, and I plan to read it many more times.

High Fidelity

Nick Hornby

One of my favorite books. The writing is hilarious and biting, the characters are quirky and enjoyable, and the story is entirely believable. If you have not read Nick Hornby before, start with this one. A great read for music lovers of all sorts.

Jitterbug Perfume

Tom Robbins

One of the most interesting books I've read. The story follows people from all over the world as they try to discover the secret behind a mysterious perfume. Robbins will make you appreciate beets more than you ever imagined you could...

Just Kids

Patti Smith

"It was the summer Coltrane died..." In her beautifully poetic way, Patti Smith tells the engaging story of discovering herself in small apartments and local artist venues in New York during the sixties and seventies. Just Kids provides a glimpse into the worlds of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe that no one has seen before, offering a memoir that is both intriguing and inspiring.

The Shadow of the Wind

Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The winding tale of a boy and a book in Barcelona in the 1940s, Shadow of the Wind is everything a book should be: thrilling, moving, and well written. I couldn't put it down.

The Dharma Bums

Jack Kerouac

A classic Kerouac book. Taking place in both San Francisco and the Sierra Nevada mountains, Kerouac takes us on a crazy ride filled with poetry, friendship, wild outings, and peaceful self discovery.

The Casual Vacancy

J.K. Rowling

There were high expectations for JK Rowling's first novel outside her immensely popular Harry Potter series, and despite the doubts, I found this book very enjoyable. Rowling writes with a style that is easy to read, and her characters blossom under her pen. The result is a tragic tale which reveals the inner workings of a government in need of help and the faults we all have.



The Poisonwood Bible

Barbara Kingsolver

A story of a family struggling to prosper in an Africa filled with turmoil and political unrest, Kingsolver delivers a wonderfully written story with the best character development I've ever read. She is an incredible storyteller.

Running the Rift

Naomi Benaron

Jean Patrick is a young man training to run for Rwanda in the Olympics. As a Tutsi caught in the middle of a bloody genocide, he moves from home to attend university, all the while worrying about his family and his brother, Robert, who has joined the resistance. Beautifully tragic, the characters leap off the page and into your hearts. One of my favorites.

State of Wonder

Ann Patchett

State of Wonder follows the journey of Dr. Marina Singh through the deepest parts of Brazil and the Amazon. When her colleague disappears in the jungle, Singh is sent to discover the reason why and report back with information regarding the most important study in medicine of the day. Equal parts entertaining and intriguing, Patchett delivers a narrative that flirts with science fiction and still manages to capture the heart.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Robin Sloan

When Clay Jannon is hired as the night worker for Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour bookstore on the streets of San Francisco, he has no idea of how deep the layers of the bookstore go. Teaming up with the aging bookstore owner, a young woman working for Google, and a millionaire best friend, Jannon discovers a secret society of book readers from all over the world, unraveling a mystery hundreds of years in the making.