“The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller
Madeline Miller’s 2011 novel is an adaptation of Homer’s “Iliad” told from the perspective of Patroclus, a young Greek prince. The story follows the prince’s relationship with Achilles after his exile to the court of King Peleus. Achilles and Patroclus develop a deep bond, which Achilles’ mother, a cruel sea goddess, despises. Set in Greece’s age of heroes, the novel recounts the Trojan War in a love story and battle between gods and kings.
Recommended by Bradley Collins, M.D. ’19.
“Honey Girl” by Morgan Rogers
One of the more recently published books on the list, Morgan Rogers’ 2021 romance novel provides humor and life lessons to its readers. Grace Porter, a 22-year-old woman who just earned a Ph.D. in astronomy, strays from her normal routine to take a girls’ trip to Las Vegas. She drunkenly marries a woman she does not know but flees her Portland home for a summer in New York with her new wife. Through her story, she discovers the need to heal family scars.
“Dune” by Frank Herbert
This science fiction novel transports readers to the desert planet of Arrakis. Here, Paul Atreides, an heir to a noble family, must rule over an inhospitable world where the only valuable item is melange, a drug that can extend life and enhance consciousness. The destruction of his family leads him on his path toward destiny.
Recommended by Natalia Beadle, a third-year medical student.
“The Idiot” by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote this novel after completing “Crime and Punishment” both are considered classics. This 19th-century novel recounts the story of Prince Myshkin, a saintly man who is thrown into a society that cares more about wealth and power than Christian ideals. Myshkin winds up in the center of a love triangle between a notorious woman and a young girl, leading to extortion and murder.
“The Heart’s Invisible Furies” by John Boyne
John Boyne’s 2017 historical fiction novel presents the life of Cyril Avery, a man born out of wedlock to a teenage girl who was cast from her rural Irish community. Avery was adopted by a Dublin couple. The book tells a story of Ireland from the 1940s through today from the eyes of one ordinary citizen.
Recommended by Sara Kennedy, M.D. ’22.