Summer is here, so why not crack open some classics, or discover great new books for your reading pleasure? This year’s Round Table members submitted some page-turning recommendations for you!
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This stunningly illustrated World War II novel intertwines the story of a blind French girl who joins resistance efforts and a German orphan pressured into service by the Nazi army. Each page left me desperately searching for answers as the characters’ paths move closer and closer with every chapter.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Henrietta Lacks, known as Hela to the scientific community, is a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells — taken without her knowledge in 1951 — become one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, IVF, and more. Her cells are sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance.
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Set in a hospital in Addis Ababa, twins, Marion and Shiva, live life together on the brink of a revolution. Verghese elaborately combines Ethiopian politics, medicine, and love into an unforgettable story of union and betrayal.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Set within a mysterious and phantasmagorical circus, the story centers on two young magicians dueling in a competition of magical displays. This novel captures the beautiful mystery and wonder surrounding the circus and its magicians through eloquent prose that appeals to the imaginative bibliophile.
The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami
Laila Lalami’s groundbreaking novel follows the Spanish-owned slave Estebanico’s search for both purpose and freedom on his exploration to the New World. The tale serves as a gateway for greater questions of identity, race, and nature.
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Steinbeck’s extensive Cain and Abel allusion is a passionately written, intimately impactful story. East of Eden is deeply personal; it pulses with the life of its intricately depicted characters. Readers are compelled to introspection and enthralling empathy. It makes you think; it makes you ache — it is a master class of fiction.
Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris
Bruce Norris’s play offers witty and fast-paced dialogue that quickly escalates into arguments concerning race. Set first in the 1950s and then in the 2000s, Norris is able to emphasize different shifts in people’s mindsets over the years, showing how racism still exists in today’s society.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
A power struggle ensues when a psychiatric ward admits a particularly rebellious inmate. The newcomer feels unexpected moral obligations when troubled patients look to him for salvation from the corrupt staff. Unlike the Academy Award winning film, the novel tells the story through the unique perspective of a mute narrator.
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
This perspective-shifting novel, inspired by the author’s own experiences in the Vietnam War, follows various characters and their experiences before, during, and after wartime. O’Brien provides new insights on the ideas of war, memory, and storytelling and portrays the blurred distinction between truth and reality.
The Passion by Jeanette Winterson
In her beautiful narrative, Winterson sets up two independent stories that eventually clash to provide an insightful exposition on where our passions lie and their resulting repercussions.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
In a world where three parallel Londons exist in three separate dimensions, A Darker Shade of Magic shows a rich adult fantasy world that nevertheless manages to discuss complicated themes of family, power, and the true meaning of belonging.
The Shining by Stephen King
The Shining is a masterpiece of fiction as King weaves elements of horror, drama, and tragedy into a suspenseful work that genuinely leaves the reader feeling unsettled and stunned long after the final words have been read.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
Hamid expertly portrays the challenges faced by a Pakistani immigrant living in post 9/11 America through a series of flashbacks recounted to an unknown audience. Through the life of Changez, the protagonist, Hamid delves into issues of nationalism, prejudice, and identity that arise in the wake of tragedy.