Okay, this is an experiment. One of the hundreds of books I read during my "exile" is The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson. If you have read his series about the colonization and areo-forming of Mars then you already know the high calibre of writing to expect from this newer book. It's a world history "what-if" - what if ALL Europeans had died of the bubonic plague. As in his Mars books Robinson delves into religious differences, trade, exploration and colonization issues, the place of women in these alternate societies, world wars, philosophical perspectives, social mores, scientific developments, ecology and economics, and spiritual matters.
I originally read this a few years ago when it first published - and given the current state of world affairs - it is as timely now as then. Beg, borrow, steal or (preferably) buy it. You will read it more than once.