AG Book Club :: 2016

I’m thrilled to announce the 2nd Annual AG Book Club. Below are the selections for 2016 (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 ::


Mrs. Mike by Benedict & Nancy Freedman

I finally picked this book up a few years ago and it quickly became one of my favorites. Set in the far north of Canada, it will be the perfect book for chilly January. “A classic tale that has enchanted millions of readers worldwide, Mrs. Mike brings the fierce, stunning landscape of the Great North to life—and masterfully evokes the tender, touching moments that bring a man and a woman together forever.” It’s the kind of book you’ll have trouble reading in more than 48 hours.


To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, inspiration for the Academy Award winning movie, this is arguably one of the best novels of our time, if not all time. You may have read this book in high school, but it’s time to read it again for its humor, grace and relevance.

Also, I’m pleased to announce that this month we’ll join with 451 Club, “a book club for gentlemen”, so we can read and discuss the book together. Go ahead and invite your friends, boyfriend or husband, as well as any women you think would enjoy reading this book with you!


Rising Strong by Brené Brown

Brené Brown is taking the world by storm, and with good reason. A researcher and storyteller, Brown collects data on subjects as abstract and compelling as vulnerability, courage, love, shame and failure. In her newest offering, Rising Strong, “Brown has listened as a range of people—from leaders in Fortune 500 companies and the military to artists, couples in long-term relationships, teachers, and parents—shared their stories of being brave, falling, and getting back up. She asked herself, What do these people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common?” Presenting clear and concrete answers, this book will be both personally challenging and rewarding.


The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

This is the true story of 9 working-class boys who fought their way to victory at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Written in the same kind of gripping narrative as Unbroken, this piece of historical nonfiction showed up on all the Best Books lists of 2015.


French Milk by Lucy Knisley

We had so much fun reading a graphic novel last year that I couldn’t resist putting another in this year’s list. French Milk is a charmingly illustrated story of a 23-year-old girl who spends 6 weeks in Paris with her mother. With vivid depictions of Paris, and a tender rendering of a mother-daughter relationship, this seemed like the perfect pick for us.


Wild in the Hollow by Amber Haines

Haines is an emerging new voice in Christian non-fiction, with gorgeous prose and a story full of both suffering and hope. “Amber calls readers to dispense with the pretty bows we use to dress up our stories and instead trust God to take our untidy, unfinished lives and make them free, authentic, and whole.” There’s nothing I want more than true intimacy with God and I look forward to reading one woman’s story of finding it in the unlikeliest of places.


The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

This memoir has been around for while, but it continues to be a book that pops up during conversations about good books. Walls tells the story of her own nonconventional childhood, at times living with her parents and siblings like nomads in the deserts of the Southwest, sometimes trying to make ends meet in a small mining town in West Virginia. Her eccentric, charismatic parents were the height of dysfunction, but Walls remembers them with fondness and honesty, bravely telling a story that she had kept secret for years.

One friend said that this book led to the best book club discussion she’d ever had. I love memoirs and can’t wait to see what all the fuss is about with this one.


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Recommended by several book-clubbers, this timeless classic is our big summer pick. It will be the perfect book to take to the pool or on long summer vacations. This is a personal favorite of mine and stepping into the small world of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy feels like going home. (PSA :: It’s $0.99 on Kindle!)


The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry

This 98-page story is a classic of children’s literature, full of mystery and whimsy. “The narrator is a downed pilot in the Sahara Desert, frantically trying to repair his wrecked plane. His efforts are interrupted one day by the apparition of a little, well, prince, who asks him to draw a sheep. ‘In the face of an overpowering mystery, you don’t dare disobey,’ the narrator recalls.” Saint-Exupéry, who wrote the book and was a French pilot during World War II, disappeared over the Mediterranean just a year after the book was published.

FYI, many people recommend the newest translation, which is widely available on Amazon and at bookstores.


Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Said by many to be the greatest crime novel of all time, Rebecca is loaded with romance and suspense, and will have you guessing until the bitter end. I’ve never read this book, but I love the film made by Alfred Hitchcock, and seriously don’t know if I’ll be able to wait until October to read this creepy book.


7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker

Hatmaker’s self-deprecating humor has made her widely popular, but this book is about her own personal journey to systematically remove excess from her life. After taking in hurricane victims and seeing the disparity in their lifestyles, Hatmaker decided to cut back in the excessive amounts of food, clothes, spending, media, possessions, waste and stress in her family’s life. I can’t tell if it will be a good or bad thing to read this book right before Christmas, but it will certainly get us all thinking!


Christmas Party

We’ll take the month of December to celebrate a year of reading together. Yay for Book Club!

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? :)

Posted by Aanna on Friday, January 1st, 2016

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