A Great Time for Booklovers in Zurich

It’s a great time to love books in Zurich. In today’s post I’ll look back at the reading I attended last Friday and introduce two events in the next two weeks that might prove interesting for readers in the region.

Zürich Liest: A Reading with Stefan Bachmann

Last Friday, Stefan Bachmann, the young Swiss-American writer, was at the Orell Füssli Bookshop to read from his new book, “The Whatnot”. Around fifty guests gathered in the store to listen to him and they had no reason to be disappointed. Mr. Bachmann was very engaging, funny and surprisingly critical of his own works. How he would change certain things about his debut novel “The Peculiar” and how he strived to improve on his work in his newest book stood out to me. He read out the prologue of both books and answered some very interesting questions. I definitely became a fan of his after attending the reading, having not read his books before.

The Uncanny Bookclub: More Than This

I’ve written about my great experience at the UBC here and am delighted to see them host their second event this Sunday (November 3) at the Cabaret Voltaire. The official link to the event can be found on their Facebook page.

The book we’ll be discussing is the brilliant “More Than This” by Patrick Ness, easily one of my favorite books of the year. The story of young Seth, who wakes up in a deserted world not knowing exactly where he is and what has struck him, is breathtaking, fast-paced and wonderfully innovative. If you want to meet some young and passionate book lovers in Zurich, you should come by this Sunday at 5pm. I’ll definitely be there!

The Bookshop’s Bookclub: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

And just a week later, the Bookshop’s own book club will talk about another fantastic book, Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane. This event takes place November 14 at 8.30pm at the Bookshop. Details can be found on their official website.

Mr. Gaiman’s book is highly imaginative and a wonderful storytelling experience. I felt drawn into the world immediately, as it is a fantastical and extremely charming story of a middle-aged man thinking back to his childhood and his adventures with the weird family living in a farm at the end of the lane.

So, book lovers have their fair share of events to choose from during the wonderful month of November, coincidentally also known as “National Novel Writing Month” among internet aficionados. I’ll be writing and reading a lot the next weeks and hopefully, you will too!

Have a great week.

Sincerely yours,
Albert

An Evening with the Uncanny Book-Club in Zurich

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.

Sincerely yours,
Albert