BookClub

BookClub Feed 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.

2015-12 Book Club

What: The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

When: 9 December, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional ;))

Where: Bistro Lochergut (tram 2+3 ‘Lochergut’)

The landmark novel of the Sixties – a powerful account of a woman searching for her personal, political and professional identity while facing rejection and betrayal.

In 1950s London, novelist Anna Wulf struggles with writer’s block. Divorced with a young child, and fearful of going mad, Anna records her experiences in four coloured notebooks: black for her writing life, red for political views, yellow for emotions, blue for everyday events. But it is a fifth notebook – the golden notebook – that finally pulls these wayward strands of her life together.

Widely regarded as Doris Lessing’s masterpiece and one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century, ‘The Golden Notebook’ is wry and perceptive, bold and indispensable.

First suggested: February 2015

Supporter(s): Richie, Nadja, Isa, Nela, Jennifer, Uli

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2015-11 Book Club

What: Before I go to sleep by S. J. Watson

When: 11 November, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional ;))

Where: Bistro Lochergut (tram 2+3 ‘Lochergut’)

Memories define us… So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep. Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story…

First suggested: June 2015

Supporter: Jennifer, Leon, Rene, Nicole

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2015-10 Book Club

What: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

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

Where: Bistro Lochergut (tram 2+3 ‘Lochergut’)

I’ve read this book some years back and was thinking that I would like to read it again (even though I don’t normally reread books). Anyways, I thought this book might also be interesting for many of the people, who I’ve met at the club. Contrary to what the title may imply, it’s not a love story, but more about finding yourself and living life. If this book does get choose, as I remember, this is much better as an actual book than an e-book (just as a heads up).

Here’s a short excerpt/description, which I found on Amazon: A long-lost book reappears, mysteriously connecting an old man searching for his son and a girl seeking a cure for her widowed mother’s loneliness. Leo Gursky taps his radiator each evening to let his upstairs neighbor know he’s still alive. But it wasn’t always like this: in the Polish village of his youth, he fell in love and wrote a book. . . . Sixty years later and half a world away, fourteen-year-old Alma, who was named after a character in that book, undertakes an adventure to find her namesake and save her family. With virtuosic skill and soaring imaginative power, Nicole Krauss gradually draws these stories together toward a climax of “extraordinary depth and beauty” (Newsday)

First suggested: May 2014

Supporter(s): Nadya, Nicole, Karina, Leon

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2015-09 Book Club

What: Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out by Mo Yan

When: 16 September, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional ;))

Where: Bistro Lochergut (tram 2+3 ‘Lochergut’)

I recently got this book recommended by a friend and think the description looks interesting..

Today’s most revered, feared, and controversial Chinese novelist offers a tour de force in which the real, the absurd, the comical, and the tragic are blended into a fascinating read. The hero-or antihero-of Mo Yan’s novel is Ximen Nao, a landowner known for his generosity and kindness and benevolence to his peasants. However, during Mao’s Land Reform Movement of 1948, he is not only stripped of his land and worldly possessions but cruelly executed, despite his protestations of innocence.

The novel opens in Hell, where Lord Yama, king of the underworld, has Ximen Nao tortured endlessly in order to force a confession of guilt from him. When his efforts remain fruitless, Lord Yama allows Ximen Nao to return to earth, where he is reborn not as a human, but first as a donkey, then a horse, a pig, a monkey, and, finally, the big-headed boy Lan Qiansui. Through the eyes of animal and boy, Ximen Nao takes us on a deliriously unique journey through fifty years of peasant history in China, right to the edge of the new millennium. Here is an absolutely riveting tale that reveals the author’s love of a homeland beset by ills inevitable, political, and traditional.

First suggested: August 2014

Supporter(s): Richie, Ronel, Uli, Isa

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2015-08 Book Club

What: The Grass is Singing by Doris Lessing

When: 12 August, 19:30 – RSVP on Meetup (optional ;))

Where: Bistro Lochergut (tram 2+3 ‘Lochergut’)

The Nobel Prize-winner Doris Lessing’s first novel is a taut and tragic portrayal of a crumbling marriage, set in Rhodesia during the years of Apartheid. ‘The Grass is Singing’ tells the story of Dick Turner, a failed white farmer and his wife, Mary, a town girl who hates the bush and viciously abuses the black South Africans who work on their farm. But after many years, trapped by poverty, sapped by the heat of their tiny house, the lonely and frightened Mary turns to Moses, the black cook, for kindness and understanding.

A masterpiece of realism, ‘The Grass is Singing’ is a superb evocation of Africa’s majestic beauty, an intense psychological portrait of lives in confusion and, most of all, a fearless exploration of the ideology of white supremacy.

First suggested: February 2015

Supporter(s): Richie, Nela, Patrycja, Isa, Rene, Nicole

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2015-07 Book Club

What: The Tin Drum by Günter Grass

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

Where: Bistro Lochergut (tram 2+3 ‘Lochergut’)

On his third birthday Oskar decides to stop growing. Haunted by the deaths of his parents and wielding his tin drum Oskar recounts the events of his extraordinary life; from the long nightmare of the Nazi era to his anarchic adventures is post-war Germany.

First suggested: February 2015

Supporter(s): Richie, Uli, Nicole, Patrycja, Karina

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2015-06 Book Club

What: Stone Junction by Jim Dodge

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

Where: Bistro Lochergut (tram 2+3 ‘Lochergut’)

A while ago, this book was recommended to me – and reading it was a pleasure. It is full of witty, beautiful and clever language (an appropriate example that comes to my mind: “do you understand what i’m messing up saying?”). Though I must confess it is quite dated and thus might seem a bit aged. But it was never a problem while reading it - which in my humble view marks it as being a candidate for a classic …

From Amazon: “Starting with his mother’s ‘roundhouse’ right to a nun’s jaw, Stone Junction is a modern odyssey of one man’s quest for knowledge and understanding in a world where revenge, betrayal, revolution, mind-bending chemicals, magic and murder are the norm. With jaw-dropping scope, a stiletto-sharp wit and an array of utterly bizarre characters, Jim Dodge has woven a mesmerising and age-defining tale. Like a river constantly changing direction, Stone Junction is both stomach-clutching hilarious and heart-rendingly sad - but always utterly compelling. Prepare to step into a world where nothing is ever as it seems.”

First suggested: March 2015

Supporter(s): Leon, Uli, Nicole Dominik, Karina

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2015-05 Book Club

What: Orient Express by John Dos Passos

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

Where: Bistro Lochergut (tram 2+3 ‘Lochergut’)

Work doesn’t permit me to travel half as much as I’d like, but how about another piece of travel literature? This one is from a 1921 trip that took the author from Istanbul to Damascus, by way of Anatolia, the Caucasus, Persia and Mesopotamia (or Iran and Irak, respectively) – and from before the author was made famous by Manhattan Transfer. It sounds like a beautiful way to read about a region that nowadays only ever seems to appear in public view together with ‘crisis’ or ‘war’.

http://www.johndospassos.com/writings/orient-express

Note: This book appears hard to get in English. A recent German translation is much more readily available, from bookstores as well as libraries.

First suggested: March 2014

Supporter(s): Uli, Richie, Jessy, Michaela

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2015-04 Book Club

What: Stoner by John Williams

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

Where: Bistro Lochergut (tram 2+3 ‘Lochergut’)

The Greatest American Novel You’ve Never Heard Of

… the New Yorker calls it. And goes on to say “In one of those few gratifying instances of belated artistic justice, John Williams’s “Stoner” has become an unexpected bestseller in Europe after being translated and championed by the French writer Anna Gavalda. Once every decade or so, someone like me tries to do the same service for it in the U.S., writing an essay arguing that “Stoner” is a great, chronically underappreciated American novel. (The latest of these, which also lists several previous such essays, is Morris Dickstein’s for the Times.) And yet it goes on being largely undiscovered in its own country, passed around and praised only among a bookish cognoscenti, and its author, John Williams, consigned to that unenviable category inhabited by such august company as Richard Yates and James Salter: the writer’s writer.”

Makes one curious!

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2015-03 Book Club

What: Lies of Silence by Brian Moore

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

Where: Bistro Lochergut (tram 2+3 ‘Lochergut’)

Lies of Silence by Brian Moore

“The plot revolves around the protagonist, Michael Dillon, and his wife, Moira Dillon, who are held hostage in their house by terrorists that are members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). The men force Dillon, an apolitical hotel manager, to drive his bomb-laden car to the hotel he manages in order to kill a leading Protestant reverend, members of the Orange Order, and militant Protestants, all of whom are attending the same function.” (from Wikipedia)

Review from the New York Times

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