> == /Post Office/ by /Charles Bukowski/ ==
> "It began as a mistake." By middle age, Henry Chinaski has lost more than twelve years of his life to the U.S. Postal Service. In a world where his three true, bitter pleasures are women, booze, and racetrack betting, he somehow drags his hangover out of bed every dawn to lug waterlogged mailbags up mud-soaked mountains, outsmart vicious guard dogs, and pray to survive the day-to-day trials of sadistic bosses and certifiable coworkers. This classic 1971 novel—the one that catapulted its author to national fame—is the perfect introduction to the grimly hysterical world of legendary writer, poet, and Dirty Old Man Charles Bukowski and his fictional alter ego, Chinaski.
> (Source: amazon.com)
> I suggest adding this as an optional book. Two reasons: 1) It's really short. 2) It's not "fine" literature. It's raw, it's explicit, it might offend people's sense for aesthetics. But in my opinion it's a most entertaining, well drawn picture of an existing part of american society - now and then. Personally, I will read the other Chinaski books as well. Chinaski is so unlike myself, but Bukowski succeeds in making me feel with Chinaski every minute of his life and even liking him a bit from time to time.
> First suggested: November 2013 (Simon)
This page lists books suggested for our BookClub. Click on Edit this page or Diese Seite bearbeiten at the bottom of the page to edit it.
Most Wikipedia links are given for the English pages, even if the German equivalent has more info. Note the “In other languages” sidebar.
Help to rejuvenate this list! If you add new book suggestions (and please do), mention the date so we can weed out from time to time those hoary entries that never got picked.
History Hour: I’ve started a section ‘past & current reading’ at the bottom of this page, where you’ll find title and a link for each book that we’ve read, or selected for reading. Have a look.
“It began as a mistake.” By middle age, Henry Chinaski has lost more than twelve years of his life to the U.S. Postal Service. In a world where his three true, bitter pleasures are women, booze, and racetrack betting, he somehow drags his hangover out of bed every dawn to lug waterlogged mailbags up mud-soaked mountains, outsmart vicious guard dogs, and pray to survive the day-to-day trials of sadistic bosses and certifiable coworkers. This classic 1971 novel—the one that catapulted its author to national fame—is the perfect introduction to the grimly hysterical world of legendary writer, poet, and Dirty Old Man Charles Bukowski and his fictional alter ego, Chinaski. (Source: amazon.com)
I suggest adding this as an optional book. Two reasons: 1) It’s really short. 2) It’s not “fine” literature. It’s raw, it’s explicit, it might offend people’s sense for aesthetics. But in my opinion it’s a most entertaining, well drawn picture of an existing part of american society - now and then. Personally, I will read the other Chinaski books as well. Chinaski is so unlike myself, but Bukowski succeeds in making me feel with Chinaski every minute of his life and even liking him a bit from time to time.
First suggested: November 2013 (Simon)
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family’s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France’s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl’s ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d’Hiv’, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life. (Source: goodreads.com)
First suggested: June 2013 (Nadya)
Supporter(s): Nadya, Sasha, Päivi
Just in case we really want to go the science fiction route for a change but still read a “classic” … I really liked the book for it’s predictiveness, given the time it was written. And for us book addicts, this is a really nice topic, especially with its solution for book survival in the described society. Lovely. Looking forward to having a great discussion about it with you guys.
From Amazon: “Ray Bradburys internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of twentieth-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future.
Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.
Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television family. But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didnt live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.
When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.”
First suggested: June 2013
Supporter(s): Leon, Nicole, Rene, Dani, Uli
The novel concerns a young priest, Amaro, who serves as diocesan administrator at Leiria. Amaro lacks a vocation, having been pushed into the priesthood by his aristocratic patrons, the Marquesa de Alegros and, later, the Conde de Ribamar, and, owing to the vow of chastity he was obliged to take, is obsessed with women and deeply sexually frustrated. Upon arriving in Leiria, he falls for Amélia, the beautiful daughter of his landlady, a pious widow and the mistress of his superior, Canon Dias. After Amélia’s fiancé, João Eduardo, publishes an exposé of the local clergy’s venal habits in the town’s newspaper under a pseudonym, Amaro and his colleagues and parishioners expose João Eduardo as the author of the piece, pressure Amélia to break off the engagement, and drive João Eduardo out of town. Amaro begins a sexual relationship with Amélia, meeting first in his coal cellar and then in the bell-ringer’s house, using charitable visits to his bedridden, mentally disabled daughter as a cover. His love affair with Amélia ends in tragedy when she becomes pregnant, and is forced to seclude herself in the countryside for the duration of the pregnancy in order to prevent a scandal. João Eduardo returns to Leiria, and there is talk of convincing him to marry Amélia and hence make the child legitimate, but this does not come to pass. Amaro and his maid, Dionisia, who also acts as a midwife, find a wet-nurse who, it is implied, kills babies in her care. Amélia gives birth to a healthy boy, who is handed over to the wet-nurse by Amaro and killed. Amélia suffers complications after the birth and dies of a burst aneurysm, or so the doctor tells everyone. She was in good health immediately after the birth, but became hysterical when she was not allowed to see her son. The actual paternity of Amélia’s child, while the subject of gossip, never comes to light, and Amaro moves on to another parish. The novel leaves him in Lisbon, discussing the events of the Paris Commune.
First suggested: May 2013 (Dominique)
Supporter(s): Dominique, Andrei
Paris in the twenties: Pernod, parties and expatriate Americans, loose-living on money from home. Jake is wildly in love with Brett Ashley, aristocratic and irresistibly beautiful, but with an abandoned, sensuous nature that she cannot change. When the couple drifts to Spain to the dazzle of the fiesta and the heady atmosphere of the bullfight, their affair is strained by new passions, new jealousies, and Jake must finally learn that he will never possess the woman he loves. Powerful, intense, visually magnificent, Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises is the novel which established Ernest Hemingway as a writer of genius.
First suggested: September 2013
Supporter(s): Nela, Richie
It’s America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco, the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some twenty years earlier the United States lost a war—and is now occupied by Nazi Germany and Japan.
This harrowing, Hugo Award-winning novel is the work that established Philip K. Dick as an innovator in science fiction while breaking the barrier between science fiction and the serious novel of ideas. In it Dick offers a haunting vision of history as a nightmare from which it may just be possible to wake.
Winner of the Hugo Award
First Suggested: September 2013
Because I loved the movie with the same name and absolutely want to read the book it’s based upon and discuss it with you if possible.
First Suggested: September 2013
This book looks like excellent reading, has one of the funniest begins in world literature and is full of surprises. It won among others the “Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis 2007, Kategorie Preis der Jugendjury”.
First Suggested: September 2013
Peter Stamm is one of the most smart and successful German writing Swiss authors. I read his “Unformed landscape” a couple of years ago and I loved it. I’m looking forward to read this other novel of his, which seems was also a major commercial success.
First Suggested: September 2013
So. Another attempt of establishing to read more in the area of speculative fiction … But this one closing in on today’s tendency towards all-encompassing openness on the web - and the consequences which this might lead to. Sounds fun to read and could give rise to very interesting discussions afterwards.
From Amazon: “When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.”
First suggested: October 2013
I wanted to put another book by this author on the list, but it looks like only a few of his books got translated into english and unfortunately the one I wanted to put on the list wasn’t. So I don’t know this book at all, but I’ve read some other books by Paasilinna and they’re always hilarious if you like this kind of black humor. From Amazon: ‘Gunnar Huttunen arrives in North Finland after the war and buys a dilapidated mill. Despite being a decent and hard-working Finn, he is also an outsider and an eccentric: prone to mood swings, black depression, high elation and a general lack of decorum. He puts on performances at the mill for local children at which he specialises in imitating animals and making fun of the village notables. Already prejudiced against him by his jibes, the villagers reserve most ire for the howling which Huttunen indulges in at night, which the local dogs join in a delirious chorus. Passionate and outraged by his treatment at the hands of the villagers, it is not long before the accident-prone miller finds that his situation soon spirals out of control…Paasilinna’s riotous book revels in a black, rebellious, deadpan humour. It is also a fable about the eternal struggle between freedom and repressive authority.’
First suggested: November 2013
Michael J. Sandel teaches political philosophy at Harvard and in this book he looks at how market values have become common in a lot of different aspects of life. It sounds like a very tedious lecture, but it’s actually very easy to read because Sandel illustrates his philosophical ideas with a lot of different examples. Might be something different for the book club, but it’s worth reading (and very easy to read). From Amazon: ‘What Money Can’t Buy is the Top Ten Sunday Times Bestseller from ‘the superstar philosopher’, Michael Sandel. Should we financially reward children for good marks? Is it ethical to pay people to donate organs? What about hiring mercenaries to fight our wars, outsourcing inmates to for-profit prisons or selling citizenship? In recent decades, market values have impinged on almost every aspect of life - medicine, education, government, law, even family life. We have drifted from having a market economy to being a market society. In What Money Can’t Buy Michael Sandel asks: Isn’t there something wrong with a world in which everything is for sale? And how do we protect the things that really matter?’
First suggested: November 2013
Some months missing for 2005 … sorry …
… The beginning of this branch of our book club!