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 …

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.

2020-12 Book Club

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

When: 16 December, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional 😉)

Where (tentative): Restaurant Werdguet — or online depending on how the C#@! situation evolves

The Book Thief is a beautiful story narrated by a compassionate Death. It tells us about Liesel, a girl growing up in Germany during World War II who steals books, learns to read, and finds comfort in words. She and Max, the Jew her family protects, are the only main characters that survive the war.

Pitched by: Cecile, Nadine, Matthias, Christoph

First suggested: November 2019

Supporter(s): Cecile

Add Comment

2020-11 Book Club

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

When: 18 November, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup to get access to meeting link

Where: Online

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

Further information at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36809135-where-the-crawdads-sing

Pitch text from Goodreads.com

First suggested: September 2020

Supporters: Alisa, Andrea B., Nela, Sandy R., Nicole M.

Add Comment

2020-10 Book Club

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein

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

Where: Online

Plenty of experts argue that anyone who wants to develop a skill, play an instrument, or lead their field should start early, focus intensely, and rack up as many hours of deliberate practice as possible. If you dabble or delay, you’ll never catch up to the people who got a head start. But a closer look at research on the world’s top performers, from professional athletes to Nobel laureates, shows that early specialization is the exception, not the rule.

David Epstein examined the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists. He discovered that in most fields–especially those that are complex and unpredictable–generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. Generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one. They’re also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can’t see.

Provocative, rigorous, and engrossing, Range makes a compelling case for actively cultivating inefficiency. Failing a test is the best way to learn. Frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers. The most impactful inventors cross domains rather than deepening their knowledge in a single area. As experts silo themselves further while computers master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans, people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive.

Page count: 352

Pitch text from: Goodreads.com

Pitch by: Richie

First Suggested: August 2020

Supporter(s): Richie, Nela, Cécile

Add Comment

2020-09 Book Club

”The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood

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

Where: Restaurant Werdguet

We read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood in June 2018. This book picks up the story 15 years after the events in the first book. As far as I know, it is the verbal testament of three people from the time of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Further information at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42975172-the-testaments

Page count: 422

Pitch text from: Rene

Pitch by: Rene

First Suggested: November 2019

Supporter(s): Rene, Martin, Janine, Nicole M., Katja

Add Comment

2020-08 Book Club

”A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles

When: 26 August, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional 😉)

Where: Restaurant Werdguet

Blurb from the author’s web site:

With his breakout debut novel, Rules of Civility, Amor Towles established himself as a master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction, bringing late 1930s Manhattan to life with splendid atmosphere and a flawless command of style. Readers and critics were enchanted; as NPR commented, “Towles writes with grace and verve about the mores and manners of a society on the cusp of radical change.”

A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.

Chosen spontaneously at the July meeting

Add Comment

2020-07 Book Club

”10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World” by Elif Shafak

When: 22 July, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional 😉)

Where: Restaurant Werdguet

Description from Goodreads:

’In the first minute following her death, Tequila Leila’s consciousness began to ebb, slowly and steadily, like a tide receding from the shore. Her brain cells, having run out of blood, were now completely deprived of oxygen. But they did not shut down. Not right away…’

For Leila, each minute after her death brings a sensuous memory: the taste of spiced goat stew, sacrificed by her father to celebrate the long-awaited birth of a son; the sight of bubbling vats of lemon and sugar which the women use to wax their legs while the men attend mosque; the scent of cardamom coffee that Leila shares with a handsome student in the brothel where she works. Each memory, too, recalls the friends she made at each key moment in her life – friends who are now desperately trying to find her…

Pitch text from: Goodreads

Chosen spontaneously at the June meeting

Add Comment

2020-06 Book Club

”Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee

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

Where: Restaurant Werdguet

Pachinko is the second novel by Korean-American author Min Jin Lee. Published in 2017, Pachinko is an epic historical novel following a Korean family who eventually migrates to Japan, it is the first novel written for an adult, English-speaking audience about Japanese–Korean culture. (...) Pachinko takes place between the years of 1910 and 1989, a period that included the Japanese occupation of Korea and World War II. As an historical novel, these events play a central role (...) influencing the characters’ decisions. (...) The character-driven tale features a large ensemble of characters who become subjected to issues of racism and stereotypes, among other events with historical origins in the 20th-century Korean experiences with Japan.”

Page count: 450

Pitch text from: Wikipedia

Pitch by: Bozena

First Suggested: August 2019

Supporter(s): Bozena, Nicole M., Nela, Nadya, Uli, Mo, Katie, Martin, Janine

Add Comment

2020-05 Book Club

”Freedom or Death” by Nikos Kazantzakis (Original greek title: Captain Michaelis)

When: 27 May, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional 😉)

Where: Restaurant Werdguet – wouldn’t that be nice? But perhaps not yet …

Freedom or Death by Nikos Kazantzakis is a novel on the heroic or epic scale about the rebellion of the Greek Christians against the Turks on the island of Crete, where Kazantzakis was from. The story follows the exploits of a Greek: Captain Michalis and his blood brother, Nurey Bey, a Turk, through war, love , friendship, hatred and a backdrop of the island of Crete with all its beauty, drama, joy and sadness. This book was unanimously praised by critics worldwide as the work of a master with characters that come to life and destined to live forever.

Pitch text: goodreads.com

Pitched by: Alexander

First suggested: March 2019

Supporter(s): Alexander, Martin, Bozena, Nela, Janine

Add Comment

2020-04 Book Club

”Madame” by Antoni Libera

When: 22 April, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup to get Zoom call details 😉

Where: Online meeting via Zoom, details see Meetup

Madame is an unexpected gem: a novel about Poland during the grim years of Soviet-controlled mediocrity, which nonetheless sparkles with light and warmth. (...) Our young narrator-hero is suffering through the regulated boredom of high school when he is transfixed by a new teacher - an elegant “older woman” (she is thirty-two) who bewitches him with her glacial beauty and her strict intelligence. He resolves to learn everything he can about her and to win her heart. In a sequence of marvelously funny but sobering maneuvers, he learns much more than he expected to – about politics, Poland, the Spanish Civil War, and his own passion for theater and art – all while his loved one continues to elude him.”

Pitch text from: goodreads.com

Pitch by: Bozena

First Suggested: August 2019

Supporter(s): Bozena, Nela, Uli, Nico, Katie, Martin, Janine

Add Comment

2020-03 Book Club

”Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee

No meetup in March; moved to 24 June

Pachinko is the second novel by Korean-American author Min Jin Lee. Published in 2017, Pachinko is an epic historical novel following a Korean family who eventually migrates to Japan, it is the first novel written for an adult, English-speaking audience about Japanese–Korean culture. (...) Pachinko takes place between the years of 1910 and 1989, a period that included the Japanese occupation of Korea and World War II. As an historical novel, these events play a central role (...) influencing the characters’ decisions. (...) The character-driven tale features a large ensemble of characters who become subjected to issues of racism and stereotypes, among other events with historical origins in the 20th-century Korean experiences with Japan.”

Page count: 450

Pitch text from: Wikipedia

Pitch by: Bozena

First Suggested: August 2019

Supporter(s): Bozena, Nicole M., Nela, Nadya, Uli, Mo, Katie, Martin, Janine

Add Comment

More...

Comments


Please make sure you contribute only your own work, or work licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Note: in order to facilitate peer review and fight vandalism, we will store your IP number for a number of days. See Privacy Policy for more information. 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:

Just say HELLO