By Khaled Hosseini
I know this novel was a book-club darling, but I heard about it from a friend who was going to produce it as a film. It's an epic story, starting with two boys growing up in Afghanistan before the Soviet invasion. There's an annual kite-running contest, and one year Amir, the son of a wealthy man, follows Hassan, the son of the family servant, as he retrieves their kite. Hassan is attacked, and Amir's shame at not helping his friend leads to a single act that follows him his entire life. There are moments in this book where I gasped—scenes of brutality and surprise that just chilled me.