BookClub

This page serves as a starting point for our English book club in Zürich, Switzerland.

We have a Meetup page!

To help pick books for future meetings, check our List of Open Books and add your opinions or propose your own. Go there, add books, and vote! We’re all set until September but time flies …

To edit a book meeting page:

  1. click on the title of the meeting below
  2. click on Edit this page or Diese Seite bearbeiten at the very bottom of the page

There is no login required, just pick any username you like when saving.

2016-12 Book Club

What: Games People Play by Eric Berne

When: 14 December, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional ;))

Where: Restaurant Werdguet

We think we’re relating to other people–but actually we’re all playing games.

Forty years ago, Games People Play revolutionized our understanding of what really goes on during our most basic social interactions. More than five million copies later, Dr. Eric Berne’s classic is as astonishing–and revealing–as it was on the day it was first published. We play games all the time–sexual games, marital games, power games with our bosses, and competitive games with our friends. Detailing status contests like “Martini” (I know a better way), to lethal couples combat like “If It Weren’t For You” and “Uproar,” to flirtation favorites like “The Stocking Game” and “Let’s You and Him Fight,” Dr. Berne exposes the secret ploys and unconscious maneuvers that rule our intimate lives. Explosive when it first appeared, Games People Play is now widely recognized as the most original and influential popular psychology book of our time. It’s as powerful and eye-opening as ever.

First suggested: ???

Supporter(s): ???

Add Comment

2016-11 Book Club

What: The Bricks that Built the Houses by Kate Tempest

When: 23 November, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional ;))

Where: Restaurant Werdguet

Well, I read a promising book review, praising the passionate language of this debut novel. Learning that the author is a known slam poet too, the internet turned up some captivating performances of her, most notably this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32i5zfcFt8g

an hour of poetry which shows not only her love for words and their power, but also for what is important in life and how a lot of people lose track of it nowadays …

Don’t know when I will get to read it - but figured that our group of language lovers might well be interested :-)

About the book’s story: well, that’s secondary in my perception, you’ll find a synopsis here: http://katetempest.co.uk/. The main reason to read the book would be to find joy in strong and passionate feelings again while reading.

First suggested: May 2016

Supporter(s): Leon, Rene, Nicole, Nela

Add Comment

2016-10 Book Club

What: Seven Years by Peter Stamm

When: 26 October, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional ;))

Where: Restaurant Werdguet

From Amazon:

Alex is caught between two very different women. Sonia, his wife, is intelligent, beautiful, charming and ambitious and together they have established a successful architectural firm and a life of easy luxury. But in the background is Ivona, who is dull, plain and passive. The only thing she offers Alex is her love, unconditionally, which inspires in him a queasy mixture of repulsion and passion. Alex knows he must make a choice, but when Ivona becomes pregnant, life takes an unexpected turn which leaves him more puzzled than ever by the mysteries of desire.

Thought it would be interesting to read some Swiss authors…

First suggested: April 2016

Supporter(s): Karina, Nicole, Nela, Uli

Add Comment

2016-09 Book Club

What: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

When: 21 September, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional ;))

Where: Restaurant Werdguet

From Books.ch: Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

First suggested: November 2015

Supporter: Nela, Jennifer, Nicole, Karina, Tanya

Add Comment

2016-08 Book Club

What: Invisible by Paul Auster

When: 17 August, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional ;))

Where: Restaurant Werdguet (tbc)

From Amazon: Sinuously constructed in four interlocking parts, Paul Auster’s fifteenth novel opens in New York City in the spring of 1967, when twenty-year-old Adam Walker, an aspiring poet and student at Columbia University, meets the enigmatic Frenchman Rudolf Born and his silent and seductive girfriend, Margot. Before long, Walker finds himself caught in a perverse triangle that leads to a sudden, shocking act of violence that will alter the course of his life.

Three different narrators tell the story of Invisible, a novel that travels in time from 1967 to 2007 and moves from Morningside Heights to the Left Bank of Paris to a remote island in the Caribbean. It is a book of youthful rage, unbridled sexual hunger, and a relentless quest for justice. With uncompromising insight, Auster takes us into the shadowy borderland between truth and memory, between authorship and identity, to produce a work of unforgettable power that confirms his reputation as “one of America’s most spectacularly inventive writers.”

First suggested: November 2015

Supporter: Rene, Uli, Karina, Nicole

Add Comment

2016-07 Book Club

What: Fault Lines by Nancy Huston

When: 13 July, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional ;))

Where: Restaurant Werdguet (tbc)

An incredibly funny to read beginning grips the readers attention, drawing into a contemporary story that reaches back to the second world war. It describes a line in a family’s history from the perspectives of young children in that family, each one contributing its limited view of why the grown ups behave as they do. And wondering about it, not understanding many aspects, while these young kids think that they know about the world … Going back in history reveals that there is a lot more than what meets the eye. The author excels at keeping a very humorous tone while describing even the most drastic events. All the while keeping the delicate balance between narrating a good story and leaving room for the readers imagination. I thoroughly enjoyed reading that book (so far, at more than 50%), found myself laughing time and again, learned some very interesting facts along the way and could hardly put it out of my hands.

Supporter: Leon, Barbara, Nela, Karina, Rene

Add Comment

2016-06 Book Club

What: Small is Beautiful by E.F. Schumacher

When: 15 June, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional ;))

Where: Restaurant Werdguet (tbc)

So apparently there was a “Small is Beautiful” movement that started in the U.S. in the 1950s, and this book, though published only in 1973, seems to have come to embody it. It questioned the mantra of economic growth above everything, of happiness through material wealth, centralisation of political decision making as well as economic power, and the sustainability of it all. Instead of me rambling on further – here’s a Guardian article about the book and the ideas behind it. I’ll admit that I’d never heard of the book or the movement before but when I did come across it, I thought here’s something we could use now as much as ever. I suspect the book will read a bit dated, but would love to give it a try.

Amazon synopsis: Small is Beautiful is E. F. Schumacher’s stimulating and controversial study of economics and its purpose. This remarkable book examines our modern economic system – its use of resources and impact on how we live – questioning whether they reflect what we truly care about. The revolutionary ideas are as pertinent, inspirational and thought-provoking today as when they were first published in 1973.

If you don’t mind reading on screen – the book is available in full here: http://www.ditext.com/schumacher/small/small.html (though it seems to have been scanned from paper, and I’m not entirely sure about the license there :-)

First suggested: November 2015

Supporters: Uli, Nela, Leon

Add Comment

2016-05 Book Club

What: Mend the living by Maylis de Kerangal

When: 18 May, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional ;))

Where: TBD; most likely Restaurant Werdguet

Just stumbled upon a promising review of this book. Originally published in French, the German translation is now out – but the English one is apparently still pending, scheduled to be released in paperback in February 2016.

The book describes the 24 hours between a young man’s fatal accident and the moment when he finally dies – by the machines keeping him alive being turned off. In between, all the decisions in regard to donating his organs are illustrated, together with what it means for all the involved people: doctors, his parents, recipients …

It seems, the author has managed to find the right mix of touching language and good research to let the reader take part in something which hopefully none of us will ever have to experience in real life.

First suggested: July 2015

Supporter: Leon, Richie, Jennifer, Nela

Add Comment

2016-04 Book Club

What: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

When: 13 April, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional ;))

New location! Restaurant Werdguet, Morgartenstr. 30 (tram 9 or 14 ‘Werd’, or 5 minutes’ walk from Stauffacher)

From Goodreads.com: The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior—to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.

From Amazon.com: One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father—a crusading local lawyer—risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.

First suggested: August 2015

Supporter: Rene, Jennifer, Uli

Add Comment

2016-03b Book Club

What: Guter Mann im Mittelfeld by Andrei Mihailescu

When: 29 March, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional ;))

New location! Restaurant Werdguet, Morgartenstr. 30 (tram 9 or 14 ‘Werd’, or 5 minutes’ walk from Stauffacher)

Notes:

  • The date is a Tuesday!
  • The author will join us for this special evening
  • The discussion will be in English as usual, even though the book is only available in German up to now.

But the fact that it was written by one of our members might already be reason enough. Aside from that, it appears to circle around topics which are of a timeless nature and, more importantly, have relevance in all our lives: the question whom to trust and how to behave under difficult circumstances …

First suggested: September 2015

Supporter: Leon, Rene

Add Comment

More...

Comments


Please make sure you contribute only your own work, or work licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. See Info for text formatting rules. You can edit the comment page if you need to fix typos. You can subscribe to new comments by email without leaving a comment.

To save this page you must answer this question:

Please say HELLO.