Gilead by Marilynne Robinson was an interesting book. That's codespeak (this time, not every time) for I didn't really like it.
There are no chapter breaks, just paragraph separators and the book available at my library was large print so I just had no idea really where I was or how much farther were parts going to go on. The story rambles on as a journal entry/letter from a father to the son he never expected to have. It starts when he learns that he is dying (never tells from what) and what he wants to tell his (around age 7) son about his experiences and family history and life before he keels over (sorry to be crass but it's true).
There are lots of good "prose" so to speak and interesting/challenging theological thoughts. He is a pastor and so he writes a lot about how he can influence a congregation and the weight of that burden. I think that is why John Piper is still thinking about this book and it is very good in that aspect. I could see this being a Bible college or seminary recommended outside reading book.
But for the rest of us, it was a long dreary long winding never seeming to finish a thought kind of book. I got very frustrated that there wasn't enough background in descriptions for me to understand who he was talking about or the situation he was describing. Few dates were given so I wasn't sure what time period he was talking about. It was like listening to an elderly (very distant) relative rattle on about his life day after day after day, someone who you don't know and don't really care about or have a shared history.
One thing I think the author did a good job was telling a story from the perspective of the opposite gender, I think it is hard for men to write from a women's perspective and vice versa. :)