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Past Selections

The Oracle of Stamboul  

2013 Selection
Mary Roach
Packing for Mars

Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, and beer. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can't walk for a year? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 4,000 miles per hour? To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations -- making it possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA's new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), Packing for Mars takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.

     
The Oracle of Stamboul  

2012 Selection
Michael David Lukas
The Oracle of Stamboul

The Oracle of Stamboul is a historical novel about a preternaturally intelligent little girl who becomes an advisor to the Ottoman sultan and through her advice to him, changes the course of history. It is the story of an eight year-old orphan who pushes back against the tides of history and changes their direction. Influenced by Charles Dickens, Roald Dahl, Italo Calvino, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Oracle of Stamboul is an evocative, magical historical novel that will transport readers to another time and place romantic, exotic, yet remarkably similar to our own.

     
CuttingForStone  

2011 Selection
Abraham Verghese
Cutting for Stone

The story is a riveting saga of twin brothers, Marion and Shiva Stone, born of a tragic union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother's death in childbirth and their father's disappearance, and bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.

     
WhatistheWhat  

2010 Selection
Michael Chabon
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

With this brilliant novel, the bestselling author of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh and Wonder Boys gives us an exhilarating triumph of language and invention, a stunning novel in which the tragicomic adventures of a couple of boy geniuses reveal much about what happened to America in the middle of the twentieth century. Like Phillip Roth's American Pastoral or Don DeLillo's Underworld, Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a superb novel with epic sweep, spanning continents and eras, a masterwork by one of America's finest writers.

     
WhatistheWhat  

2009 Selection
Dave Eggers
What is the What

Dave Eggers’ highly-acclaimed novel What is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng is the 2009 selection for One Book One Marin. This story of the lost boys of the Sudan follows the life of Valentino Achak Deng as he was chased from his village at age seven and forced to trek across Africa under the most harrowing circumstances.

     
Saving Fish from Drowning  

2008 Selection
Amy Tan
Saving Fish From Drowning

Saving Fish from Drowning, set in Burma, is a provocative and
mesmerizing tale about what is real and what is make believe — and the profound answers one seeks when things seemingly fall apart. Amy Tan has fashioned a distinctive fictional landscape, where Asia meets America, and where the traditional past encounters the shape-shifting present. In the end, Tan takes all readers to that place in their own hearts where hope is found.

     
Saving Fish from Drowning  

2007 Selection
Isabel Allende
Daughter of Fortune

Isabel Allende’s Daughter of Fortune follows the story of Eliza Sommers. Born and reared in Chile in a rigid household, she follows her lover to California during the Gold Rush of 1849 – a danger-filled quest that will become a momentous journey of transformation for Eliza. Daughter of Fortune is rich in historic detail for a pivotal period in California history. It is filled with critical topics of our day: the status of women, diversity, multilingualism, immigration.