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Purple Fig Club: 2016 Reading List

It's finally here! The book selections for the next year have been carefully chosen and are now assigned to their very own months. Feel free to bookmark this entry as a handy reminder, but know that I will continue to post mid-month reminders in plenty of time before you need to get ahold of the next book.

In 2016, it'll be a little different since Andee is more of observational participant (she's going back to school to prepare for a new career goal, so I'm sure she'll need the extra time!) Thank you to mom & Sarah Beth for agreeing to throw in an extra book to keep us going in the meantime. And now, without further ado (well, maybe a little ado), click through to see the list!

Side notes: I had to move a few books around from the original suggestions to make sure everything fit somewhere and also to try to keep the larger books in the summertime. The only major change I made was to adjust the October theme because none of us chose anything that fit! I know, I know, cheating. But it's my blog, so I can do what I want. LOL. Also, keep in mind that this reading order will not rotate through us in any particular order since the books were chosen differently this year, so for example, my mom has two back-to-back books in the fall. Just FYI.


Is it weird to start the year with a book by this title? I think this is a story, in part, of new love. (Hopefully I'm right!) Chosen for: New beginnings.

Synposis: In 1956, Stevens, a long-serving butler at Darlington Hall, decides to take a motoring trip through the West Country. The six-day excursion becomes a journey into the past of Stevens and England, a past that takes in fascism, two world wars, and an unrealised love between the butler and his housekeeper. Ishiguro's dazzling novel is a sad and humorous love story, a meditation on the condition of modern man, and an elegy for England at a time of acute change. 


(Obviously this memoir of frienship was) chosen for: Friendship

Synposis: “It’s an old, old story: I had a friend and we shared everything, and then she died and so we shared that, too.” So begins this gorgeous memoir by Pulitzer Prize winner Gail Caldwell, a testament to the power of friendship, a story of how an extraordinary bond between two women can illuminate the loneliest, funniest, hardest moments in life, including the final and ultimate challenge.


Chosen for: Health

Synposis: People have more access to medical information than ever before, and yet we still believe "facts" about our bodies and health that are just plain wrong. DON'T SWALLOW YOUR GUM! takes on these myths and misconceptions, and exposes the truth behind some of those weird and worrisome things we think about our bodies. 


Chosen for: Journey

Synposis: Nationally syndicated radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh has long wanted to make American history come to life for the children of his listeners, so he created the character of a fearless middle-school history teacher named Rush Revere, who travels back in time and experiences American history as it happens, in adventures with exceptional Americans. In this book, he is transported back to the deck of the Mayflower. 


Chosen for: Female writer

Synopsis: After five hectic years of retirement from Lord’s Chapel, Father Tim Kavanagh returns with his wife, Cynthia, from a so-called pleasure trip to the land of his Irish ancestors. While glad to be at home in Mitford, something is definitely missing: a pulpit. But when he’s offered one, he decides he doesn’t want it. Maybe he’s lost his passion.


Chosen for: Book in a series

Synopsis: Each of the three Schuyler sisters has her own world-class problems, but in the autumn of 1966, Pepper Schuyler's problems are in a class of their own. When Pepper fixes up a beautiful and rare vintage Mercedes and sells it at auction, she thinks she's finally found a way to take care of herself and the baby she carries, the result of an affair with a married, legendary politician. But the car's new owner turns out to have secrets of her own, and as the glamorous and mysterious Annabelle Dommerich takes pregnant Pepper under her wing, the startling provenance of this car comes to light: a Nazi husband, a Jewish lover, a flight from Europe, and a love so profound it transcends decades.


Chosen for: American author

Synopsis: Daniel James Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.


I think this book is possibly the one best fit to its category. Chosen for: Forgiveness, acceptance

Synopsis: Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantès is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. 


I truly enjoyed Bonhoeffer, so I'm really looking forwarrd to another one by this author! Chosen for: Strength

Synopsis: In "Seven Men," "New York Times" best-selling author Eric Metaxas presents seven exquisitely crafted short portraits of widely known--but not well understood--Christian men, each of whom uniquely showcases a commitment to live by certain virtues in the truth of the gospel.


Not to be confused with another book title The Boys in the Trees OR my previous choice: The Boys in the Boat. LOL. Chosen for: National carry a tune week.

Synopsis: Simon's memoir reveals her remarkable life, beginning with her storied childhood as the third daughter of Richard L. Simon, the co-founder of publishing giant Simon & Schuster, her musical debut as half of The Simon Sisters performing folk songs with her sister Lucy in Greenwich Village, to a meteoric solo career that would result in 13 top 40 hits, including the #1 song "You're So Vain." She was the first artist in history to win a Grammy Award, an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award, for her song "Let the River Run" from the movie Working Girl. The memoir recalls a childhood enriched by music and culture, but also one shrouded in secrets that would eventually tear her family apart.


Chosen for: War

Synopsis: Based on local history & family stories passed down by Frazier’s great-great-grandfather, Cold Mountain is the tale of a wounded Confederate soldier, Inman, who walks away from the ravages of the war & back home to his prewar sweetheart, Ada. His odyssey thru the devastated landscape of the soon-to-be-defeated South interweaves with Ada’s struggle to revive her father’s farm, with the help of an intrepid young drifter named Ruby. As their long-separated lives begin to converge at the close of the war, Inman & Ada confront the vastly transformed world they’ve been delivered.


Chosen for: Nobel prize winner

Synopsis: Malala Yousafzai was only ten years old when the Taliban took control of her region. They said music was a crime. They said women weren't allowed to go to the market. They said girls couldn't go to school. Raised in a once-peaceful area of Pakistan transformed by terrorism, Malala was taught to stand up for what she believes. So she fought for her right to be educated. And on October 9, 2012, she nearly lost her life for teh cause: She was shot point-blank while riding the bus on her way home from school. No one expected her to survive.

So, that's the list! Hopefully you're excited about the picks for next year. We start off relatively light and end relatively light (in page count, at least) with a bit of a commitment in the middle! Just read what you have time for and don't stress out about missing any you can't read. 

Also, if you have any difficulty finding these books or picking out the title and author names from the images, let me know!

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