Summer Binge, Sterling 2017

A secret union between a nun and a surgeon, orphaned twins, and Ethiopia on the brink of revolution. That’s what we’re considering as the Sterling book group reads Cutting For Stone, by Abraham Verghese, as a selection of our first summer reading program. (This is not your old punishing “summer school” curriculum like I took in high school, three times in a row, for failing my typing class.) This program is an extension of our regular book discussion group, for those (imagine, every hand raised when asked who was interested) who could not imagine a break from reading over the summer months. I chose books by length this time, to offer a month to the guys to finish these 600-900 page tomes. They were fine with that!

Threaded throughout this spellbinding saga, is a theme of caring for the sick and the different ways healing can be administered. It’s a book about doctors and medicine, but the bigger picture is a theme of healing. Through “words of comfort” is how we heal the sick, but these words also help those who are emotionally wounded. Fear of mortality is not a universal emotion, the reader discovers, as one of the twin brothers observes that in Ethiopia, patients assume that all illnesses are fatal and that death is expected… but in America, news of a fatal illness “always seemed to come as a surprise, as if we took it for granted that we were all immortal.”

A beautiful, epic tale of love, loss, family, betrayal, forgiveness, medicine and healing, with characters that come alive through the trials and triumphs of their journeys. Looking forward to the challenge and pleasure of our discussion on July 10. Download the flyer as shared with our Sterling Correctional Facility participants.