Although different in every way imaginable, I'd recommend every one of these books. Thought provoking and entertaining, each in it's own unique way. I can truly say the last few months of reading have been enjoyable and inspiring.
WHERE'D YOU GO BERNADETTE (Maria Semple) "Mom disappears into thin air two days before Christmas without telling me? Of course it’s complicated. Just because it’s complicated, just because you think you can’t ever know everything about another person, it doesn't mean you can't try."
DEFENDING JACOB (William Landay) "Gradually the beach would get quieter as the other guests left to get ready for dinner. The lifeguards would drag the empty beach chairs across the sand and stack them for the night, making a clatter, and finally the lifeguards themselves would leave, and only a few sunset gazers would linger on the beach. We would look out into the distance, where two arms of land reached out to encircle the little bay, and the horizon would burn yellow then red then indigo. Looking back on it now, I picture my happy family of three sitting on that beach at sunset and I want to freeze the story there. We must have looked so normal..."
SONGS OF THE HUMPBACK WHALE (Jodi Picoult) "Oliver said once that at certain places south of San Diego you can see whales from the coast, without binoculars. When I asked him where they were going, he laughed. Where would you go? he said, but I was afraid to tell him. In time, I learned. I discovered that Alaska to Hawaii and Nova Scotia to Bermuda were the parallel paths of two humpback whale stocks. I learned that the West Coast whales and the East Coast whales did not cross paths. Where would you go?"
THE GREAT GATSBY (F. Scott Fitzgerald) "He smiled understandingly -- much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it...it faced...the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey."
MEDICINE WOMAN (Lynn Andrews) "You don't know what you are...There is no explaining why you are born, or why you are the animated part of the Earth you are."
THE DEVIL'S HIGHWAY (Luis Alberto Urrea) "Five men stumbled out of the mountain pass so sunstruck they didn't know their own names, couldn't remember where they'd come from, had forgotten how long they'd been lost. One of them wandered back up a peak. One of them was barefoot. They were burned nearly black, their lips huge and cracking, what paltry drool still available to them spuming from their mouths in a salty foam as they walked. Their eyes were cloudy with dust, almost too dry to blink up a tear. Their hair was hard and stiffened by old sweat...old sweat because their bodies were no longer sweating. They were drunk from having their brains baked in the pan, they were seeing God and devils, and they were dizzy from drinking their own urine, the poisons clogging their systems."