AG Book Club :: 2017
I’m thrilled to announce the 3rd Annual AG Book Club. Below are the selections for 2017 (I hope you like them!). I took care to include fiction and non-fiction, Christian and secular, literary and page-turner, brainy and fun. Some of these are books that I’ve been dying to read, others are suggestions from you, or books that people won’t stop talking about.
The idea is that we all read the book of the month, and then I’ll write my own review and a list of questions to spark discussion in the comments. However, I think that the beauty of this idea lies in the possibility of a book club meeting in your own home. Why not ask a few friends if they’ll join you, then meet once a month in your home for some yummy snacks and a lively debate on what you thought of the book?
For those of you in Joplin, I’ll be hosting this book club on the last Thursday of every month and would love for you to join me! Also, I’m giving the list ahead of time in case you want to jump in and out of the readings. If you know a certain month is going to be extra busy, there’s nothing to stop you from just skipping that month and joining in again the next month! No pressure here! :)
Without further ado, the books of 2016 ::
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
This book makes all kinds of top 10 lists: Most Readable, Best Romantic Comedy, Best Romance, Strongest Female Protagonist, and many say Best Novel of All Time. A personal favorite, I’ve been dying to put this book on a book list and I think this is the year to do it. If you’ve never read it (or perhaps have tried without success), I suggest watching the film first, to get a good grasp of the characters and plot before reading the book.
This book immediately caught my eye not only because of the strong praise from critics, but also for its timeliness. Mindy Belz is the editor of World magazine and a long time journalist covering the Middle East. “With her vivid personal accounts, Belz puts a human face on grim statistics. Some of these 21st-century martyrs were her friends.” (Christianity Today) Not only as a concerned citizen, but much more as a Christian, I want to hear the personal accounts of the effect of ISIS on the Middle East.
I heard Jen Wilkin speak last summer and was immediately struck both by her theological chops and her down-to-earth humor. She is definitely someone I can learn from and this book has been on my reading list for months. One of the things I love about this book is that it’s about God. To look away from ourselves and focus on the one perfectly good thing in the universe is one of the great joys of our existence.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
This book seems to defy categorization, or even description. The little I know about this novel is that it won a Pulitzer, is kind of weird and quirky and delightful, and is recommended by every person I know who has read it. Also, the cover art is amazing.
Jackaroo by Cynthia Voigt
A beloved young-adult novel, I’m pretty sure I read this in a day when I was in middle school. It’s the kind of book you can’t help but love for its mystery, suspense and fun. Set in the middles ages, it tells the story of Gwyn, a young girl who discovers the secret behind the masked legend who defends the poor and helpless.
The life of William Wilberforce is evidence of the saving and transformative work of God in a person’s life. Also, proof that one man can change the world. This readable and beautiful biography of Wilberforce will challenge and delight you.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
In the past two years at book club, we’ve all loved hearing from voices of other cultures. This year I specifically set out to find a book written by a non-western writer and it didn’t take long for this title to rise to the top. Both my bibliophile sister Eden and my English professor from college specifically recommended it, which is all the commendation I need.
This is a collection of essays by the writer of When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail, so you know it’s going to be witty, funny and well-written. I’ve wanted to read one of her books for awhile now, and I’m especially interested in hearing from a woman trying to come to grips with the aging process.
Watership Down by Richard Adams
If you’ve heard me talk about books much at all, you know I love this book. It’s a story of a group of rabbits who set out for a better home after their warren is destroyed. But it’s so much more than that—characters that you will love like friends, lessons on leadership and courage that go straight to your heart, and that feeling that you just can’t wait to finish whatever you’re doing so that you can get back to reading your book. Richard Adams passed away last week, on Christmas Eve, and so I especially wanted to read this with everyone in memory of a man who wrote such a beautiful story.
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
There’s been an interesting thread throughout many of the books of the past two years—many of the books and stories have been about World War II (Unbroken, Maus, The Little Prince, Boys in the Boat, etc.). It’s really fascinating to look at one event in history from so many different perspectives, so this year I deliberately chose another book about what took place during those years. I don’t think The Hiding Place needs much introduction—it’s one of the most widely-read and admired accounts about that time. This one will be especially good to discuss and process together in book club.
Oh my word! This book is brilliant, beautiful and exquisite. Simple enough for a child to understand, I found myself in tears over some of the most profound moments in literature that I’d ever read. Forgiveness, which is a big theme from the book, has become an increasingly important thing in my life, and I can’t wait to read this gorgeous tale again.
We’ll take the month of December to celebrate a year of reading together.
Well, what do you think? Are any of these books ones you’ve wanted to read? I can’t wait to spend more time reading this year, and especially grateful to get to do it with you! Let me know if you plan on joining us this year!
P.S. I retain the right to change any of the selections for any reason. Who knows what the year (or the books) will hold? :)
P.S.S. Later this week I’m going to write some tips for making your own book list! More later…