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! It’s what makes our reading fun and diverse …

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2019-11 Book Club

”Jerusalem” by Alan Moore

When: 20 November, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional 😉)

Where: Restaurant Werdguet

Begging comparisons to Tolstoy and Joyce, this “magnificent, sprawling cosmic epic” (Guardian) by Alan Moore—the genre-defying, “groundbreaking, hairy genius of our generation” (NPR)—takes its place among the most notable works of contemporary English literature. In decaying Northampton, eternity loiters between housing projects. Among saints, kings, prostitutes, and derelicts, a timeline unravels: second-century fiends wait in urine-scented stairwells, delinquent specters undermine a century with tunnels, and in upstairs parlors, laborers with golden blood reduce fate to a snooker tournament. Through the labyrinthine streets and pages of Jerusalem tread ghosts singing hymns of wealth and poverty. They celebrate the English language, challenge mortality post-Einstein, and insist upon their slum as Blake’s eternal holy city in “Moore’s apotheosis, a fourth-dimensional symphony” (Entertainment Weekly). This “brilliant . . . monumentally ambitious” tale from the gutter is “a massive literary achievement for our time—and maybe for all times simultaneously” (Washington Post).

Source: www.goodreads.com

Source: http://www.goodreads.com

Chosen ad hoc at June meeting

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2019-10 Book Club

”House of Leaves” by Mark Z. Danielewski

When: 23 October, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional 😉)

Where: Restaurant Werdguet

Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth—musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies—the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children.

Now, for the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendices.

The story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story—of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.

Source: http://www.goodreads.com

Chosen ad hoc at June meeting

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2019-09 Book Club

What: ”City of Glass” by Paul Auster

When: 25 September, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional 😉)

Where: Restaurant Werdguet

Nominated for an Edgar award for best mystery of the year, City of Glass inaugurates an intriguing New York Trilogy of novels that The Washington Post Book World has classified as “post-existentialist private eye... It’s as if Kafka has gotten hooked on the gumshoe game and penned his own ever-spiraling version.” As a result of a strange phone call in the middle of the night, Quinn, a writer of detective stories, becomes enmeshed in a case more puzzling than any he might have written. Written with hallucinatory clarity, City of Glass combines dark humor with Hitchcock-like suspense. Ghosts and The Locked Room are the next two brilliant installments in Paul Auster’s The New York Trilogy.

Source: http://www.goodreads.com

Chosen ad hoc at June meeting

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2019-08 Book Club

What: ”The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson

When: 21 August, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional 😉)

Where: Restaurant Werdguet

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a gothic novella by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, first published in 1886. The work is also known as The Strange Case of Jekyll Hyde, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, or simply Jekyll & Hyde. It is about a London legal practitioner named Gabriel John Utterson who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr Henry Jekyll, and the evil Edward Hyde. The novella’s impact is such that it has become a part of the language, with the phrase “Jekyll and Hyde” entering the vernacular to refer to people with an unpredictably dual nature: usually very good, but sometimes shockingly evil.

Source: http://www.wikipedia.com

Chosen ad hoc at June meeting

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2019-07 Book Club

What: ”The Good Soldier” by Ford Madox Ford

When: 24 July, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional 😉)

Where: Restaurant Werdguet

“A Tale of Passion,” as its subtitle declares, The Good Soldier relates the complex social and sexual relationships between two couples, one English, one American, and the growing awareness by the American narrator John Dowell of the intrigues and passions behind their orderly Edwardian facade. It is the attitude of Dowell, his puzzlement, his uncertainty, and the seemingly haphazard manner of his narration that make the book so powerful and mysterious. Despite its catalogue of death, insanity, and despair, the novel has many comic moments, and has inspired the work of several distinguished writers, including Graham Greene.

Source: http://www.goodreads.com

Chosen ad hoc at June meeting

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2019-06 Book Club

What: ”Dracula” by Bram Stoker

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

Where: Restaurant Werdguet

During a business visit to Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania, a young English solicitor finds himself at the center of a series of horrifying incidents. Jonathan Harker is attacked by three phantom women, observes the Count’s transformation from human to bat form, and discovers puncture wounds on his own neck that seem to have been made by teeth. Harker returns home upon his escape from Dracula’s grim fortress, but a friend’s strange malady — involving sleepwalking, inexplicable blood loss, and mysterious throat wounds — initiates a frantic vampire hunt.

The popularity of Bram Stoker’s 1897 horror romance is as deathless as any vampire. Its supernatural appeal has spawned a host of film and stage adaptations, and more than a century after its initial publication, it continues to hold readers spellbound.

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2019-05 Book Club

What: ”Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf

When: 29 May, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional 😉)

Where: Restaurant Werdguet

In this vivid portrait of one day in a woman’s life, Clarissa Dalloway is preoccupied with the last-minute details of party preparation while in her mind she is much more than a perfect society hostess. As she readies her house, she is flooded with far-away remembrances. And, met with the realities of the present, Clarissa reexamines the choices she has made, hesitantly looking ahead to growing old.

Published in 1925 – Virginia Woolf was an English writer, considered one of the most important modernist 20th-century authors and a pioneer in the use of stream of consciousness as a narrative device.

Pitched by: Wendy

First suggested: February 2019

Supporter(s): Wendy, Alexander, Nora, Leon

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2019-04 Book Club

What: ”The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon

When: 24 Apr, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional 😉)

Where: Restaurant Werdguet

From … somewhere on the web: Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor’s dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructed universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows makes for a novel that is funny, poignant and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.

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2019-03 Book Club

What: "Magdas Apokalypse" by Chloe Vollmer-Lo, Carole Maurel

When: 20 Mar, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional ;))

Where: Restaurant Werdguet

From Amazon: “Was, wenn morgen die Welt untergeht? Gut, dann kann man ein Apfelbäumchen pflanzen und ansonsten froh sein, dass einem nicht mehr allzu viel Zeit bleibt, sich darüber Gedanken zu machen. Was aber, wenn die Apokalypse noch ein Jahr auf sich warten lässt und man wie Magda gerade erst seinen 13. Geburtstag feiert? Sie fühlt sich um ihre Zukunft betrogen und beschließt, sich das Leben, das ihr vorenthalten bleiben soll, mit aller Macht selber anzueignen. In einer Welt um sie herum, die zunehmend aus den Fugen gerät, ist zum Zaudern, Zögern, Warten keine Zeit mehr. Umso mehr ist nun Magda verstört – kann es sein, dass sie mit 14 ihr Leben schon hinter sich hat? Eine mitreißende, aufwühlende Erzählung über das Heranwachsen, mit all seinen Risiken und Nebenwirkungen – und einem fatalen Fluchtpunkt.”

First of all: sorry, this graphic novel book appears to be available only in its original publishing language French and the German translation. I haven’t found an English version. But. With a stage set very similarly to our past reading of “The last Policeman”, I found it very intriguing to head for a story from an entirely different perspective while facing the same fate. Also, the form of a graphic novel might be a nice change for our group - just to try something new. So, maybe, despite the lack of an English version, enough of us find the outset interesting enough to deal with the German translation anyway and enjoy a good discussion afterwards.

Pitch text by: Leon

First suggested: February 2018

Supporter(s): Leon, Nela, Guido, Billy

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2019-02 Book Club

What: "The Bone Clocks" by David Mitchell

When: 20 Feb, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional ;))

Where: Restaurant Werdguet

Following a scalding row with her mother, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: a sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as “the radio people,” Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life.

For Holly has caught the attention of a cabal of dangerous mystics—and their enemies. But her lost weekend is merely the prelude to a shocking disappearance that leaves her family irrevocably scarred. This unsolved mystery will echo through every decade of Holly’s life, affecting all the people Holly loves—even the ones who are not yet born.

A Cambridge scholarship boy grooming himself for wealth and influence, a conflicted father who feels alive only while reporting from occupied Iraq, a middle-aged writer mourning his exile from the bestseller list—all have a part to play in this surreal, invisible war on the margins of our world. From the medieval Swiss Alps to the nineteenth-century Australian bush, from a hotel in Shanghai to a Manhattan townhouse in the near future, their stories come together in moments of everyday grace and extraordinary wonder.

Pitch text by: goodreads.com

Pitched by: Rene

First suggested: November 2018

Supporter(s): Rene, Alex, Hung

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