Reading House of Sand and Fog, by Andre Dubus III. It's set in the Bay Area and from it, so far, she can see the importance of putting yourself in someone else's shoes.

She's here visiting for the summer, doing research with a particle accelerator to learn the composition of the Earth's core--she's a high school Physics teacher-- and the members of her book club each gave her books to read while she's away, including Dante's Inferno; The Dante Club, by Matthew Pearl; Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks; and the one she's reading now--House of Sand and Fog. Most recently the book club read The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri.

Good fiction she recommends that contains science--Next, by Michael Crichton, which she says is well researched and is about bioethics.

Her favorite books of all time: To Kill a Mocking Bird, by Harper Lee; Catch 22, by Joseph Heller; and Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.