If you’ve followed my blog for a while (thank you!), you’ll have noticed that my goals are to promote interesting events and opportunities in Switzerland as well as to write about things I love (Harry Potter, Arsenal FC, Travel, generally speaking Video Games/Movies/Books). I was able to combine these two goals earlier this year when talking about the Bookshop and last week in my Zurich Film Festival preview. So naturally I’m delighted to be able to continue this trend by introducing you to the Uncanny Book-Club.
I found one of their flyers at the comic book shop Analph and was intrigued immediately. After all, to quote from the website of the UBC: “First and foremost, we are about books. So we read a lot. Then we sit down and talk about the books. ”
So I decided to join their first event about the terrific (both meanings of the word) novel “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” by Shirley Jackson.
The group gathered in the heart of Zurich’s Old Town at the Cabaret Voltaire, a bar and nightclub famous for being the birthplace of the art movement Dada. The atmosphere was fitting for the book, with candlelight illuminating the closed-off section reserved for us. After a short round of introductions revealing the twelve of us to be a group with diverse backgrounds, the discussion on the book began.
“We Have Always Lived in the Castle” is the story of Mary Catherine and Constance Blackwood, two sisters living together after the tragic demise of their family. They live near a village with their old uncle Julian, but largely keep to themselves remaining in their large mansion. From the get-go, the reader senses that there must be more to their story. I don’t want to give anything away, but the way their story unfolds over the next 146 pages, is thrilling entertainment.
The discussion at the book club greatly enhanced my reading experience. I gained a deeper understanding of the main characters and noticed details of the book that had eluded me while reading. As the novel is the only book I’ve read by Ms Jackson, I learned a lot about the author while being inspired to read more of her writings. But what most enlightening about the discussion was the opportunity to see how people react differently to characters and books. This was the first time in a long time I’ve listened to and shared an interpretation of an author.
However, the highlight of the evening came afterwards during the more social part of the event with the group moving to Café Henrici, one of the best cafés in Zurich. There the discussions quickly delved into the various forms of entertainment this world has to over. Movies, TV shows, books; everyone seemed to have an impressive knowledge about the subjects they deeply cared about. One particularly heated debate was centered on House Hufflepuff, often overlooked despite being the home of fantastic students such as Cedric Diggory and Newt Scamander.
I left the event with a deeper understanding of a fascinating book, the knowledge I’m not the only one around willing to discuss fictional characters at great length and with a ton of recommendations I intend to follow up on (i.e. Girls, the new Star Wars comic).
So if you enjoy books, movies and recent pop culture, you’ll find a wonderful and open-minded group to share your thoughts and feelings. Check out their website (linked above) for more detailed information. As far as I’m informed, the next meeting will be in around two months to discuss the latest page-turner by Patrick Ness: “More Than This”. I finished the book about two or three weeks ago and can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone.
Thank you very much for reading.