“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through but how many can get through to you”.
So said Mortimer J. Adler (philosopher, educator and author). Of course, everyone’s definition of a good book is different. In the Book Club we try to keep our selections eclectic and exciting (we may not always succeed, but we do try!).
The reading year begins in September with a comparison of two books (most of us can manage two during the summer months…). This year we will compare two novels written by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling). The Cuckoo’s Calling (2013) and The Silkworm (2014) describe the life of Private Detective Cormoran Strike – an amputee war veteran, who, in the best tradition of loveable gumshoes is a little down-at-heel, at times desperate, but ultimately successful in solving cases.
Later in the year, we will be reading about an altogether different sort of detective in the classic novel The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. “A wonderful Sherlock Holmes story from its sparkling first pages, through its vivid painting of darkest Dartmoor, its undertones of fear of the mind’s depths, and on to the triumph of the rational” (The Times)
But the Book Club is not all about detectives and crime solving! We also aim to read one title translated from Dutch into English, one piece of non-fiction, and one biography/autobiography as well as the usual fiction. Titles that are included on the list for later in the year include:
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2014
Forever after, there were for them only two sorts of men: the men who were on the Line, and the rest of humanity, who were not.
In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Burma Death Railway, surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever.
This is a story about the many forms of love and death, of war and truth, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost.
Intercities by Stefan Hertmans (translated from Dutch)
In this title, the author thinks about what constitutes identity in present-day Europe. Looking at people and cities from the periphery, he tries to discover an archaeology of streets and faces which could bring him closer to himself. Set in peripheral cities such as Trieste, Marseilles, Dresden and Bratislava, and in major ones like Vienna and Amsterdam, this work is about the feeling of being abroad, of losing part of one’s self in order to gain a richer life. Mingling travel stories with philosophical reflections, Hertmans’s poetic text proves the 16th-century observation that every journey is a voyage around your own chamber. His book is a personal statement about living in Europe today which looks beyond the surface to the heart of contemporary urban existence.
The Book Club meets on the second Tuesday of each month, 10:00-12:00 at member’s homes. We are always looking for fresh blood, so if you are interested, please contact us.