Strange Bodies by Marcel Theroux - When my mom recommends a book to me, I try and read it right away because that woman has good taste. This one was no exception. The story is weird. It's incredibly interesting from the start, but took a completely different direction than I thought it would. It raises big questions, like what makes the self? What defines "human"? Strange Bodies is totally unlike anything else I've read and that's a great thing.
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese - Another mom recommendation, but one that took me a long time to finally get around to. The first hundred or so pages of Cutting for Stone are the most well-written, intense, amazing pages I've ever read. A nun is in labor. The hospital's ob/gyn is on a plane that is about to crash. Set in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the story follows the twins who are a result of that nun's labor as they grow up within the hospital grounds and eventually find their own way into medicine. It's a stunning novel.
Orfeo by Richard Powers - Have you ever read a book that you didn't feel like you were smart enough to understand? Orfeo is that book for me. Following composer Peter Els as he goes on the run after being accused of domestic terrorism, the story blends music and science together in a way that was just completely over my head. That's not to say that the writing isn't brilliant, because it is. But unfortunately, I felt lost during much of it.
I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes - I don't do spy novels. Yet for some reason, I picked this book up and loved every word. I can't really say anything without giving away the plot, but essentially a man has retired from his covert life working for one of America's secret intelligence agencies when he is dragged back in due to... a whole bunch of moving pieces. The story goes all over the world and our main character tells many stories of his life leading up to the present. This is a page-turner in every sense of the phrase. I can't say enough good things about this book, so just read it.