Suggested One Read: Cutting for Stone

Book cover for Cutting for StoneWe continue to highlight just some of the more than 100 books nominated for One Read 2016.

Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese has been a favorite of book clubs since its publication in 2009. In the novel, twin brothers born from a secret love affair between an Indian nun and a British surgeon in Ethiopia come of age in a country on the brink of revolution, where their love for the same woman drives them apart.

Our nominator writes that book is “an epic story. . . with politics, mystery, love, family, ethics and medicine – this Ethiopian-born doctor tells a story that is close to his heart, opening the reader’s eyes to third-world lives and medical practices and the heroes who work miracles.”

See some of the other titles that have been nominated for One Read 2016.

Suggested One Reads: The Yellow Birds and The Book of Jonas

Book cover for The Yellow Birds by Kevin PowersTwo of the nominated books for One Read 2013 look at the emotional impact of war from very different angles. “Yellow Birds” by Kevin Powers is told from the point of view of a young soldier unmoored by his experiences in Iraq. Private John Bartle recounts in flashback his friendship with Murph, the younger soldier he promised to protect, and their attempts to cope with the horrors of the battlefield. Haunting and lyrical, this is an extremely intimate look at the consequences of war for those on the front lines. The reader suggesting this book said, “I think a community discussion of the Iraq War and effects on returning veterans is very important.”

Book cover for The Book of Jonas by Stephen DauStephen Dau’s “Book of Jonas” follows the 15-year-old survivor of an attack on his Middle Eastern village after he is sent to America to live with a foster family. Jonas struggles to adapt and to suppress memories of his village’s destruction and the details of his own survival. He finally reveals the heroics of a missing soldier who saved his life, a story that reveals a shocking secret to the soldier’s grieving mother. Our nominator writes that this novel addresses “the timely topics of war, terrorists and immigrants. [The writing is] well-crafted, including an unusual structure.”

See other readers’ nominations for One Read 2013.

Suggested One Read: Afterwards

Book cover for Afterwards by Rachel SeiffertStories of love, loss, secrets and war always provide a wealth of topics for discussion. The nominator of “Afterwards” by Rachel Seiffert seems to agree with this sentiment, writing that this novel has “an amazing amount of discussion material, including two wars, relationships, post traumatic stress syndrome, etc. Highly recommended.”

Seiffert’s work of psychological fiction follows the relationship of Alice and Joseph, who fall in love but hesitate to grow too close to each other as each hides a dark secret. Joseph was involved in violence in Northern Ireland. Alice never met her father and is caring for her grandfather after her grandmother’s death, but her grandfather is hiding some secrets from his own past as a soldier in Kenya. Seiffert handles her characters with compassion and delicacy as she explores the scars left by military service.

See other readers’ nominations for One Read 2012.


Suggested One Read: Little Bee

Book cover for Little Bee by Chris CleaveDuring the month of December we are highlighting books nominated to be next year’s One Read selection. “Little Bee” by Chris Cleave was the 2011 choice for Seattle Reads, and a local reader thinks this would be a good choice for our community-wide reading program as well.

The story begins in the voice of refugee Little Bee: “Most days I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl. Everyone would be pleased to see me coming.” Sarah and Andrew, a British couple on vacation in Nigeria, fatefully encounter Little Bee and her sister—the only people to survive a massacre in their village—and are confronted with an excruciating decision in an attempt to save them. A few years later, Little Bee seeks refugee status in London and reconnects with Sarah, the two forging an unlikely friendship.

Our nominator writes, “This is a beautifully written and powerful novel about a Nigerian refugee in the UK. While it is fiction, it highlights true-life issues faced by refugees within the context of a gripping story. Since Columbia is home to many refugees, it seems like a fitting book for our community.”

See other readers’ nominations for One Read 2012.