2015 Book Club
I’m thrilled to announce the first ever AG Book Club. Below are the selections for 2015 (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 during the last week 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 2015 ::
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
This is the book that I heard the most about last year, and I’ve been dying to read it for months. It’s the extraordinary story of Louis Zamperini, a man whose life was almost unbelievably exciting and unusual. Hitler, sharks, Olympic medals, Jesus…I guess we’ll just have to read it to believe it. Warning :: this book is really long, a perfect choice for the endless, cold nights of January. (Read my review here.)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
My favorite book of all time (besides August’s selection), this was a no-brainer for our classics category. Whether you’ve never read it or have read it 10 times, this book will be a delight. Eerie and romantic, the premier gothic novel, this story of an outcast and her search for love is unrivaled in its beauty and wisdom. (Read my review here.)
Jane, the Fox, and Me by Fanny Britt
My sister-in-law recently gave me this gorgeous graphic novel and it was an immediate candidate for the book club. It’s the story of a bullied girl who seeks refuge in the book Jane Eyre and the understanding eyes of a fox. Both poignant and heart-breaking, I was amazed at the power of this short story (it will take less than an hour to read). (Read my review here.)
Real Sex by Lauren F. Winner
Chastity is the age-old virtue of “sex only within marriage—which means, in turn, abstinence if you’re not married, and fidelity if you are”. Instead of focusing on virginity, Winner turns our attention on chastity, and the responsibility that every Christian bears to do sex in a way that’s best for the Body of Christ. This book is one of the best and certainly the most eloquent discussions on the topic of premarital sex from a Christian point of view, doggedly challenging both our culture and the Christian norm, while offering some surprisingly practical and doable tips for pursuing chastity.
A Selection of Articles (TBD)
Some of the best writing comes from journalists, and this month I’ll collect a few articles on a theme for our edification and enjoyment.
The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel by Jasper Fforde
Another book that takes its cue from Jane Eyre (see how much the world opens up when you read classics!) this book was one of the more zany and delightful books I have ever read. Immensely readable, this page-turner follows the protagonist Thursday Next, a literary detective, who must solve her case before one of the world’s most beloved characters disappears forever!
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
This book has been recommended by all kinds of different people. I know hardly anything about it, except that you might not get much work done once you start it. Who’s with me?! :) (And if you have your doubts, just read a review or take a look at that Pulitzer Prize…)
The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller
My very favorite book of all time, this deconstructed and then rebuilt so much of what I had known about the Gospel. Short and to the point, it’s basically a collection of sermons about Luke 15 and The Prodigal Son. Even though it’s one of the most well-known stories of all time, Keller’s understanding will totally change the way you see the story…and God.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Another book I know little about, except that I keep hearing people say, “The Night Circus is my favorite book!” Looking forward to a romantic, sweeping tale to get lost in.
A Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel
The internet seems to have left us all bewildered at its brilliance, nearly incapable of resisting its lure. While the temptation is to fast from it or cut it out of our lives as much as possible, I’d love to see people (and especially the Church) arrive at an understanding and grasp of its proper place in our lives. I want this not only for myself, but also for my daughter and all those who will be living in a generation with more, not less, technology. I chose this book because it may have some answers and it will certainly spark some good discussion.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Originally, we were supposed to read Lila by Marilynne Robinson (one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind), but the tone of the novel just didn’t seem to fit the club, so we had a big vote and decided on Bossypants by Tina Fey! So many people have already read this bestseller, but I’m happy to finally be one of them. It’s hilarious, shocking, and sometimes surprisingly poignant.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
I have never read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and I thought that it’d be the perfect selection for December. It’s short, so we’ll all most likely have time to grab a coffee and read it in Starbucks one afternoon, and I’m looking forward to experiencing the well-known story in Dickens’ own words for the first time.
Well, what do you think? Are any of these books ones you’ve been wanting 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? :)
(Photo of reading woman by Esther Haase)