Though not as prolific an author as many other best-sellers, Mitch Albom is known for his thoughtful, philosophical novels such as The Five People You Meet in Heaven, as well as for his inspiring non-fiction works like Tuesdays with Morrie.
Aleph by Paulo Coelho
In a frank and surprising personal story, one of the world’s most beloved authors embarks on a remarkable and transformative journey of self discovery. Facing a grave crisis of faith, and seeking a path ofspiritual renewal and growth, he decides to start over: to travel, to experiment, to reconnect with people and the world. On this journey through Europe, Africa, and Asia, he will again meet Hilal, the woman he loved 500 years before, an encounter that will initiate a mystical voyage through time and space, through past and present, in search of himself. Aleph is an encounter with our fears and our sins; a search for love and forgiveness, and the courage to confront the inevitable challenges of life.
This Book Will Save Your Life by AM Homes
Richard Novak is a modern-day Everyman, a middle-aged divorcé trading stocks out of his home. He has done such a good job getting his life under control that he needs no one–except his trainer, nutritionist, and housekeeper. He is functionally dead and doesn’t even notice until two incidents–an attack of intense pain that lands him in the emergency room, and the discovery of an expanding sinkhole outside his house–conspire to hurl him back into the world. He forms the first of many new relationships on his way home from the hospital. In the end, Richard is also brought back in closer touch with his family, including his estranged son. The promised land of Los Angeles is also very much a character in this novel about compassion, transformation, and what can happen if you are willing to lose yourself and open up to the world around you.–From publisher description.Disconnected from the outside world until a health scare and a sink hole in his yard force him to forge new relationships, middle-aged Richard Novak finds his life changed by a doughnut shop owner, a kidnapped woman, and a counterculture icon.
Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel
Fate takes many forms. . . . When Henry receives a letter from an elderly taxidermist, it poses a puzzle that he cannot resist. As he is pulled further into the world of this strange and calculating man, Henry becomes increasingly involved with the lives of a donkey and a howler monkey—named Beatrice and Virgil—and the epic journey they undertake together.
Heft by Liz Moore
Former academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn’t left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away, in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career—if he can untangle himself from his family drama. The link between this unlikely pair is Kel’s mother, Charlene, a former student of Arthur’s. After nearly two decades of silence, it is Charlene’s unexpected phone call to Arthur—a plea for help—that jostles them into action. Through Arthur and Kel’s own quirky and lovable voices, Heft tells the winning story of two improbable heroes whose sudden connection transforms both their lives.
The Returned by Jason Mott
Harold and Lucille Hargrave’s lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they’ve settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time. Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep–flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old. All over the world people’s loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, whether it’s a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he’s their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human.
The Last Gentleman by Walker Percy
Will Barrett, a twenty-five year old wanderer from the South living in New York City with no plans for the future and detached from the past. The purchase of a telescope changes his life, because he spots a beautiful young woman and falls in love with her.
Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
Would you give up your vengeance against someone you hate if it meant saving someone you love? Would you want your dreams to come true if it meant granting your enemy’s dying wish? One moment June Nealon was happily looking forward to years full of laughter and adventure with her family, and the next, she was staring into a future that was as empty as her heart. Now her life is a waiting game. Waiting for time to heal her wounds, waiting for justice. In short, waiting for a miracle to happen. For Shay Bourne, life holds no more surprises. The world has given him nothing, and he has nothing to offer in return. In a heartbeat, though, something happens that changes everything. Now he has one last chance for salvation, and it lies with June’s eleven-year-old daughter, Claire. But between Shay and Claire stretches an ocean of bitter regrets, past crimes, and the rage of a mother who has lost her child. Father Michael’s decisions as a young man led him to devote the rest of his life to God. But when he comes face-to-face with Shay, he is forced to question everything he’s been taught to believe about religion, about good and evil, about forgiveness. About himself. Can we save ourselves, or do we rely on others to do it? Is what we believe always the truth?
Wish You Were Here by Graham Swift
On an autumn day in 2006, on the Isle of Wight, Jack Luxton—once a Devon farmer, now the proprietor of a seaside caravan park—receives the news that his brother, Tom, not seen for years, has been killed in combat in Iraq. For Jack and his wife, Ellie, this will have unexpected, far-reaching effects. For Jack in particular it means a crucial journey: to receive his brother’s remains and to confront his most secret, troubling memories. A hauntingly intimate, deeply compassionate story about things that touch and test our human core, Wish You Were Herealso looks, inevitably, to a wider, afflicted world. Moving toward a fiercely suspenseful climax, it brilliantly transforms the stuff of headlines into heart-wrenching personal truth.
This inspirational true story of a friendship that has spanned three decades recounts how the author, a harried sales executive, befriended an 11-year-old panhandler, changing both of their lives forever.
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
A lot of professors give talks titled “The Last Lecture.” Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy? When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave – “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” – wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have…and you may find one day that you have less than you think”). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living. In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come.