USF Book Club: Cutting for Stone

Happy New Year! The USF Book Club has selected its next book. We are reading Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese and will meet on Thursday, March 3, 2011 to discuss it. We’ll be in the seminar room (#209) of Gleeson Library from 12 noon – 1 pm.

This book is somewhat longer than our usual selections (541 pages) and is insanely popular right now, so make sure to request your copy soon!

Gleeson’s copy is currently checked out, but you can try requesting it through Link+ or accessing it through the San Francisco Public Library, who have numerous paper copies, as well as a spoken word e-edition, an online e-version, and as spoken word via CD. Any California resident can get a library card to SFPL, so if you haven’t yet, I recommend doing so!

Since the book is so popular, you might not have luck getting it through a library. The NOOK (Barnes and Noble) and Kindle (Amazon) e-version is only $5, or you could help out a local independent book store like Green Apple or the Booksmith by purchasing it there. Remember, Gleeson’s iPads and Kindle will also have Cutting for Stone loaded on them!

Lauded for his sensitive memoir (My Own Country) about his time as a doctor in eastern Tennessee at the onset of the AIDS epidemic in the ’80s, Verghese turns his formidable talents to fiction, mining his own life and experiences in a magnificent, sweeping novel that moves from India to Ethiopia to an inner-city hospital in New York City over decades and generations. Sister Mary Joseph Praise, a devout young nun, leaves the south Indian state of Kerala in 1947 for a missionary post in Yemen. During the arduous sea voyage, she saves the life of an English doctor bound for Ethiopia, Thomas Stone, who becomes a key player in her destiny when they meet up again at Missing Hospital in Addis Ababa. Seven years later, Sister Praise dies birthing twin boys: Shiva and Marion, the latter narrating his own and his brother’s long, dramatic, biblical story set against the backdrop of political turmoil in Ethiopia, the life of the hospital compound in which they grow up and the love story of their adopted parents, both doctors at Missing. The boys become doctors as well and Verghese’s weaving of the practice of medicine into the narrative is fascinating even as the story bobs and weaves with the power and coincidences of the best 19th-century novel.

You can visit our wiki or you can sign up for the Book Club’s email list by emailing kbaughmanmcdowell@usfca.edu. Hope to see you there!

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