One of the books on the list below just happens to be one of my all-time favorites. It is The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. It is a truly amazing book. I have only read it once and want to read it again, but I am saving it hoping that when I do re-read it I can recapture the experience of reading it for the first time.. It is beautiful and amazing and at one point made me sob for hours.
I cannot recommend strongly enough that you read this book.