Cutting For Stone By Abraham Verghese Riveting tale of identical twin boys named Shira and Marion, growing up in Ethiopia during the 1960's. Their adoptive parents are Hema and Ghosh, two charming Indian doctors working at a Mission hospital, practicing a kind of tropical medicine that we in the United States (for all our complaining) have never seen. Their past, history and present lead them through turmoil, love, politics, friendship and deep sadness, all the while remaining just "boys" trying to find their way. Both brilliant with an unquestioned future in medicine, is what always draws them together and ultimately pulls them apart. Great characters, interesting setting and historical backdrop in both politics and medicine. Its a long book but most definitely worth the read!
Open By Andre Agassi Open is exactly as the title depicts. Andre Agassi, famed, successful, beloved tennis star opens his heart and soul to the world. The reader does not need to be a tennis fan to enjoy this incredible account of life as a child prodigy, early professional tennis champion. I, for one, know nothing about tennis and adored this easy to follow autobiography of Andre's life, according to Andre. As a young child growing up in Las Vegas Andre Agassi finds himself under the thumb of his demanding, perfectionist, overachieving father. He is sent away to the infamous Bollitierri Academy in Florida and drops out of school by the 9th grade, a regret he is constantly at odds with throughout the book. He goes on to have a rollercoaster career filled with emotions the public rarely gets to hear about. His friends and family support and love him but it is not easy. It is never easy, and maybe that makes you stronger but it also wears you down way too fast. His honesty is humbling and one could only imagine how exhausting putting this autobiography together must have been. Kudos to Mr. Agassi, his loving family and fans that will always remember the good old days with him.
The Septembers of Shiraz By Dalia Sofer The Amin family waited too long. The story takes place in Iran, early 1980's. After the air was filled with angst and most families able to, arranged to leave, the Amin family chose to stay, chose to hope, that the new regime would work itself out. That the new government would be okay. Violence became imminent. Laws changed overnight and Isaac Amin, his wife Farnaz and daughter Shirin are caught between two worlds. As a wealthy jewish jeweler, Isaac is frowned upon by the government. His westernized lifestyle is condemned and he is arrested on suspicion of being a spy for Israel. The two themes of focus in this story are family and things. When your life is at risk, your family's well being, can you walk away from everything you have, everything you worked for all your life, all the "things" you think make you who you are. But what good are any of these things if you are dead? The values have to be recalculated when everything is taken but you have your loved ones. Lessons to be learned from this captivating and thoughtful story. Excellent writing, a must read.