The Love of Stones by Tobias Hill: Burrowing through the goldsmiths’ quarters and hidden archives of London, Tokyo, and Istanbul, Katharine Sterne is on the trail of a ruby, diamond, and pearl brooch once worn by Queen Elizabeth I. Interwoven with the tale of her hunt is that of a pair of Iraqi Jewish brothers who travelled to London two hundred years earlier with fortunes made from an unearthed jar of priceless stones. Spanning two continents and six centuries, the book follows three very different people, each consumed by the same desire —possession of the legendary jewel — which binds their stories together in an irresistible quest.
Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre: Winner of the Booker Prize in 2003, the riotous adventures of Vernon Gregory Little in small town Texas and beachfront Mexico mark one of the most spectacular, irreverent and bizarre debuts of the 21st century. Its depiction of innocence and simple humanity (all seasoned with a dash of dysfunctional profanity) in an evil world is never less than astonishing.
The Great Transformation by Karen Armstrong: In the ninth century BCE, events in four regions of the civilized world led to the rise of religious traditions that have endured to the present day — development of Confucianism and Daoism in China, Hinduism and Buddhism in India, monotheism in Israel, and philosophical rationalism in Greece. Armstrong, one of our most prominent religious scholars, examines how these traditions began in response to the violence of their time. Studying figures as diverse as the Buddha and Socrates, Confucius and Jeremiah, Armstrong reveals how these still enduring philosophies can help address our contemporary problems.