Hamburg Book of the Month Club

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A few of us from Book Club were together yesterday at the Tuesday Coffee Morning Meetup, and decided that the Book Club thread has gotten way too long at 10 pages. We have decided to start a new thread for this group.

 

To summarize, we are a group of English speakers from all over the globe, who get together once a month to discuss a book we have chosen for the occasion. Each month we designate someone to choose the book. Our criteria: it must be in English, easy to obtain in a paperback form, and hopefully not longer than 350 pages.

 

We will meetup each month at 4pm on the second Sunday of the month, in the Café Reise Bar in Altona. We are always happy to have new members, so if you are interested don't be shy. Just let us know you will be coming!

 

Café Reise Bar

Ottenser Hauptstr. 30

22765 Hamburg

(40) 39806666

 

Beth has chosen the book for our December meetup:

 

And She Was by Cindy Dyson

Cindy Dyson’s debut novel is set in the Aleutian Islands in the 1980s. Dyson intricately weaves stories from past generations of Aleut women with stories of their present descendants and one wild, guarded, blond American named Brandy. Dyson intermingles Aleutian history with Aleut women's beliefs, story traditions, and brutal secrets. Brandy follows her fisherman boyfriend to the islands for yet another adventure to add to her years of wandering. Dyson’s characters aren’t smooth-edged; they are gritty, rough, and real. From Brandy who isn’t afraid of going after what she wants and using her wiles to get it, to Little Liz, the town drunk bursting to tell someone the age-old secret, to Mary, the battered wife who won’t let go, to Ida the ancient, who entrances Brandy and dares her to learn about the past, Dyson’s book will haunt readers. It is a perfect blending of the stories of women through the ages and how they grow strong together and support one another.

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Hello Everybody!

 

Stephanie reminded me today about choosing a book for the next meeting of our Book Club.

I have two suggestions:

 

1) a long one: 'A Son of the Circus' by John Irving, 640 pages but this is a fantastic book!

2) classics : 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Bronte

 

Please let me know what you think!

 

Cheers,

Beata

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I won't be here so I know my vote doesn't officially count, but I just read Jane Eyre recently and it was wonderful! It's also a bit long but a month is plenty of time if you stick to your reading.

 

Looking forward to seeing you all on the 14th. My book just arrived yesterday.

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Ps. I have a copy of Jane Erye up for grabs if you decide on that for the next book.

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Hi Beata,

 

Jane Erye is such a wonderful book, but I do believe we have all read it. I love the idea of reading a classic and wonder if you would be interested in suggesting another by one of the Bronte sisters? Or perhaps you have another classic in mind that we haven't already read?

 

We are still trying to avoid rereading books that we have already read since there are so many great books to choose from.

 

The John Irving book might be too long but I will go with the majority vote.

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Hi Girls,

 

Just to let you know I won't be there today. I have sent you email to explain.

 

Stephanie

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Who is coming to the meetup today? I know for sure I will be there and so will Zoe. Anyone else? Beth? Beata?

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The meeting was small, short and sweet today. It looks like the girls have chosen a new book, but I'll let the selectors post. I'm really going to miss meeting up with you guys and talking books. On the note of the few scheduling conflicts we had early on, I'm glad that all got ironed out and we have made some good guidelines. Apparently there are lots of people with problems over bookclub. Click the link for an article in the New York Times this month.

 

Fought over any good books lately?

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what a great article marymanu :D it makes me so proud of us!!

 

yesterday was another great meet up and we managed a concensus on Nabokov's Lolita as our choice for the next book club in January (second Sunday is the 11th). We also discussed Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi for February as a good way to follow up the controversial classic.

 

An inspired blend of memoir and literary criticism, Reading Lolita in Tehran is a moving testament to the power of art and its ability to change and improve people's lives. In 1995, after resigning from her job as a professor at a university in Tehran due to repressive policies, Azar Nafisi invited seven of her best female students to attend a weekly study of great Western literature in her home. Since the books they read were officially banned by the government, the women were forced to meet in secret, often sharing photocopied pages of the illegal novels. For two years they met to talk, share, and "shed their mandatory veils and robes and burst into color." Though most of the women were shy and intimidated at first, they soon became emboldened by the forum and used the meetings as a springboard for debating the social, cultural, and political realities of living under strict Islamic rule. They discussed their harassment at the hands of "morality guards," the daily indignities of living under the Ayatollah Khomeini's regime, the effects of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, love, marriage, and life in general, giving readers a rare inside look at revolutionary Iran. The books were always the primary focus, however, and they became "essential to our lives: they were not a luxury but a necessity," she writes.

 

Threaded into the memoir are trenchant discussions of the work of Vladimir Nabokov, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jane Austen, and other authors who provided the women with examples of those who successfully asserted their autonomy despite great odds. The great works encouraged them to strike out against authoritarianism and repression in their own ways, both large and small: "There, in that living room, we rediscovered that we were also living, breathing human beings; and no matter how repressive the state became, no matter how intimidated and frightened we were, like Lolita we tried to escape and to create our own little pockets of freedom," she writes. In short, the art helped them to survive. --Shawn Carkonen

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Zoe, the book for February sounds great! I love the idea of reading a classic and then using it as a springboard to then read and discuss another book. I've always wanted to read Lolita, so I will definitely be reading both from afar in Seattle!

 

I like it best when we choose books that can spark a discussion beyond the story. I think Reading Lolita in Tehran will be great for that.

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Happy 2009.

 

It's a New Year and a new start to the book club.

 

If anyone would like to join us we are meeting on Sunday January 11th 4pm @

 

Café Reise Bar

Ottenser Hauptstr. 30

22765 Hamburg

(40) 39806666

 

This month we will be discussing Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.

 

If you haven't read the book but are interested in joining the group please feel free to come and say hello and and see how this group works.

 

See you all on Sunday.

 

Stephanie

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I am hoping that I will be able finish the book in time, but I shall be there regardless. Looking forward to it!

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Hi Guys!

Happy 2009 :)

I would also love to be there, but will be enjoying drinks in the sun by the beach on Sunday...:P

Will try to manage to keep up with the reading though, as I will be there for the Feb meeting...

Big hugs to you all and will be seeing you again very soon,

jxoxox

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Hi guys,

 

I'd love to join this club, but due to work and other activities I'm just a too slow reader... :(

 

However, I would like to know if any of you read the book "Planet Germany" by Cathy Dobson. I know there was some interest in it, but don't know if anybody else has actually read it.

I gave it to CookieAddict, think he didn't finish it, also wasn't too impressed about it.

For me as a German, it was a funny read, but I find many things really hard to believe and would be keen to talk about it with others who have read it...

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Hello Everybody!

 

For our next meeting on 8 February I would suggest a book by Mikhail Bulgakov "The Master and Margarita" . 'The novel deals with the

interplay of good and evil, innocence and guilt, courage and cowardice, exploring such issues as the responsibility towards truth when authority would deny it, and the freedom of the spirit in an unfree world. Love and sensuality are also dominant themes in the novel. Margarita's

devotional love for the Master leads her to leave her husband, but she emerges victorious' (Wikipedia).

 

Have a nice reading!

 

Beata

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@hammonia - see my post here

 

Planet Germany

 

I thought it was brilliant, but then I'm not German. What exactly did you find hard to believe?

 

Sorry, have only just seen this reply.

Now you're asking. It's been a while since I read the book, have to have a look again, for special incidents.

However, her co-worker is a hard-to-believe character.

 

But it's nothing I want to discuss long-winded here on the forum, it's something I'd rather like to talk about with a few people who read the book.

 

Maybe there's interest in a little break ranks meeting to talk about this book? (Sorry for hijacking the thread)

 

Anybody like to meet up for a coffee or a beer?

(Note to self: ask lazybum! - I know he read the book, but I haven't seen him for a while)

 

 

Generally, I found it funny. A good read for the train, but it was far from "absolutely hilarious" as stated by others.

That has nothing to do with the incidents she was writing about, more with the writing itself.

Compared to other books that I've read (I especially like the way Marian Keyes writes, and her columns work well for a pretty direct comparison), the writing seems a bit - hmm, how to put it - unedited...

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Unedited perhaps because it was self-published? She's doing pretty well for a book she wrote and marketed herself.

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I know it is self-published.

 

 

She's doing pretty well for a book she wrote and marketed herself.

I'm not denying her that.

 

But the writing (imo) is more like I'm reading a mail from a friend than a book. Maybe sometimes trying a little too hard to be funny.

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