Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia By Elizabeth Gilbert; Paperback, 352 pages; List Price: $15.00
Spellings says that she just finished this novel, which she found "reflective and thought provoking." Gibert's spiritual memoir follows her recovery from a messy divorce as she battles depression and loneliness. Leaving behind all the trappings of the American dream – a career, marriage and country house – Gilbert sets off for Italy, Indonesia and India to find peace. She indulges her senses in Italy, learns how to meditate at an ashram in India and finds balance for her life on the island of Bali.
The Master Butcher's Singing Club By Louise Erdrich; Paperback, 416 pages; List Price: $13.95
Award-winning author Louise Erdrich draws on her German heritage to create a novel whose protagonist, Fidelis, is patterned after her own grandfather. Fidelis returns from WWI, marries his best friend's pregnant widow, Eva, then packs up a set of butcher knives and heads for Argus, North Dakota. He and Eva set up a butcher shop, and he starts a local singing club. The couple meets hardworking Delphine, who has returned to Argus to nurse her ailing father. Erdrich tells the rich stories behind each of her charismatic characters, and weaves in the brutal, hidden dramas behind a host of Argus' townspeople.
A Thousand Splendid Suns By Khaled Hosseini; Hardcover, 384 pages; List Price: $25.95
Hosseini, lauded for his novel, The Kite Runner follows his debut work with a tale of two Afghan women who survive decades of repression in their home country. Mariam is forced at 15 to marry 40-year-old Rasheed, who beats her when she fails to produce a child. Rasheed takes another wife, 14-year-old Laila, who bonds with Mariam. The women cope with unending war in a society that endorses brutal patriarchal despotism. Spellings, who has visited Afghanistan twice, says Hosseini's "love of his country and passion and regret about what it was and what it became" makes his stories particularly compelling.