Friday book post

It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these, but I’ve just read two excellent books in a row, I want to recommend.

First, Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.  It’s hard to summarize this expansive novel in a few sentences, but it largely about the life story of a doctor of complicated parentage who grows up at a mission hospital in turbulent 1960’s and 70’s Ethiopia and comes to America.  Hmmm, that doesn’t do it justice.  The plot moves along just fine, but this book isn’t about the plot– like all great novels, it’s about people and their relationships and it feels utterly real.  There’s also a lot about medicine, which I always really enjoy reading about.  Most notably it is beautifully written and told in such a compelling first-person voice it seems hard to believe its a work of fiction and not a memoir.  Definitely one of those books that stick with you.

I don’t read a lot of mysteries, but when one is strongly recommended on NPR, I’ve had good success.  And so it is with The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino.   In this case, a genius mathematician helps a neighbor cover up a murder.  The cover-up plan is almost perfect and seems to account for everything.  The one thing his plan does not account for is that his former college friend, a genius physicist gets involved in the case and unraveling the cover-up.  Really entertaining reading and I enjoyed getting a good taste of Japanese culture while at it.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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