International Club of Berne

Sophie Book Group

  • Wednesday, 24th January 2018 at 7pm
  • Thursday, 22nd February 2018 at 7pm
  • Wednesday, 28th March 2018 at 7:15pm
  • Wednesday, 23rd May 2018 at 7:15pm
  • Wednesday, 27th June 2018 at 6pm
  • Wednesday, 29th August 2018 at 6pm
  • Wednesday, 26th September 2018 at 7:15pm
  • Wednesday, 24th October 2018 at 7:15pm
  • Today, 21st November 2018 at 7:15pm

Location: to be notified

Dates planned for 2018 are 24.1, 21.2 changed to 22.2, 21.3 changed to 28.3, 25.4, 23.5, 20.6, 22.8, 19.9, 17.10, 21.11

  • 19:00 on January 24, 2018 - We choose 8 to 10 books on 24 January, and in addition we discuss the short stories by Isaac Asimov: "The Last Question" (1956) and "The Last Answer" (1980)
  • 19:00 on February 22, 2018 - Nadine Gordimer, The Conservationist
  • 19:15 on March 28, 2018 - Sun-Mi Hwang, The Hen who Dreamed She Could Fly
  • 19:15 on April 25 CANCELLED
  • 19:15 on May 23, NEW - Daniel Kehlman, Measuring the World
  • 19:00 on June 27, NEW DATE - Jonas Luscher, Barbarian Spring
  • 18:00 on August 22 NEW DATE - Pascal Merrcier, Lea
  • 19:15 on September 26 no book - delay one month. Discussion.
  • 19:15 on October 24 The History of Bees by Maja Lunde
  • 19:15 on November 21 The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
  • in December no meeting - Sometimes we have a "literary dinner"

You are welcome to join any meeting for whichever books you wish to read and discuss. You must have read the book before the meeting!

Comments

1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Displaying 1 - 10 of 34 comments
Graham wrote
at 1:08pm on Wednesday, 24th October 2018
Topics and Questions for Discussion

1. The History Of Bees alternates between three perspectives: those of Tao, George, and William. With which of these three main characters did you most relate? To whom did you find it hardest to connect? With whom do you most identify?

2. On page 30, William’s mentor, Rahm, opines “One reproduces, has offspring, one instinctively puts their needs first, they are mouths to feed, one becomes a provider, the intellect steps aside to make way for nature.” Do you agree or disagree with Rahm’s statement? What do you think William felt when his mentor put it thusly?

3. On page 36, George thinks longingly of the bees’ buzzing as the “real reunion celebration.” How does George’s expectation of how his reunion with Thomas will go impact how the two men relate to each other?

4. Throughout the book, there’s great emphasis on experience vs. intellect. Think of George’s experience vs. Thomas’s books, Tao’s attempts to discover what happened to Wei-Wen, William’s relationship with Rahm. Which brand of “knowledge” do you think is more valuable?

5. George is preoccupied with leaving a “legacy” behind, resisting Emma’s attempts to move them to Florida. From where does his legacy ultimately come? Is it what you expected?

6. William, on page 116, says of his desired creation “Only humans could construct proper buildings, a building it was possible to monitor, which gave humans, not nature, control.” From where does the impulse to control nature come? Do you think that a desire to control the natural world is something humans can overcome without catastrophic reason?

7. How do the workings of the hive impart a lesson for humans? Is there any wisdom to be gleaned from the way their “society” works?

8. When George goes on the camping trip with young Tom, he tells him a tale about a snake (p. 186). What could the snake be symbolic of?

9. Colony Collapse is partially about abandonment of the queen. How does the theme of abandonment or fear of abandonment play out throughout the novel, specifically in Tao’s timeline?

10. Both William and Tao find refuge in going to bed, while George finds himself unable to rest. How do the characters hide from their loved ones? Where do they each find solace?

11. Which character do you think is most important in the book? Whose life story holds the three narrative threads together?

12. On page 316, Tao notices that Li Xiara and the teenage boy are using the same words to describe two very different feelings—“Each and every one of us is not important” could be about either community or loneliness. Do you find meaning in community? How? How could a sense of community be taken too far?

from http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-History-of-Bees/Maja-Lunde/9781501161384/reading_group_guide
Graham wrote
at 3:13pm on Thursday, 27th September 2018
We postponed the disussion of the History of Bees to October, to give more members the time to read it. Peter, I and Dimiti had a good discussion on many topics on Wednesday 26 September.

The Collegium Generale talk was about the theater play "R.U.R." which was very prescient about robots:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.U.R.
Graham wrote
at 2:46pm on Thursday, 27th September 2018
Introduction to the book "The History of Bees by Maja Lunde"

This dazzling and ambitious literary debut follows three generations of beekeepers from the past, present, and future.

It weaves a spellbinding story of their relationship to the bees—and to their children and one another—against the backdrop of an urgent global crisis.

England, 1852. William is a biologist and seed merchant who sets out to build a new type of beehive—one that will give both him and his children honor and fame.

United States, 2007. George is a beekeeper fighting an uphill battle against modern farming, but hopes that his son can be their salvation.

China, 2098. Tao hand paints pollen onto the fruit trees now that the bees have long since disappeared. When Tao’s young son is taken away by the authorities after a tragic accident, she sets out on a grueling journey to find out what happened to him.

Haunting, illuminating, and deftly written, The History of Bees joins these three very different narratives into one gripping and thought-provoking story that is just as much about the powerful bond between children and parents as it is about our very relationship to nature and humanity.

from http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-History-of-Bees/Maja-Lunde/9781501161384/reading_group_guide
Graham wrote
at 8:45pm on Monday, 17th September 2018
September 26 The History of Bees by Maja Lunde.

England, 1851. William is a biologist and seed merchant, who sets out to build a new type of beehive-one that will give both him and his children honor and fame. United States, 2007. George is a beekeeper and fights an uphill battle against modern farming, but hopes that his son can be their salvation. China, 2098. Tao hand paints pollen onto the fruit trees now that the bees have long since disappeared. When Tao's young son is taken away by the authorities after a tragic accident-and is kept in the dark about his whereabouts and condition-she sets out on a grueling journey to find out what happened to him. Haunting, illuminating, and deftly written, The History of Bees joins these three very different narratives into one gripping and thought provoking story that is just as much about the powerful relationships between children and parents as it is about our very relationship to nature and humanity.

https://www.amazon.com/History-Bees-Maja-Lunde/dp/147116277X/

Maja Lunde is a Norwegian author and screenwriter, best known for The History of Bees (2015). It received massive attention when it was first presented at the London Book Fair (Spring 2015), and was sold to seven languages before the book was even launched in Norway. So far, rights have been sold to 29 languages for publication, and the book has been No 1 on the German Bestseller List for 14 consecutive weeks. The novel was the first debut to receive the prestigious Bokhandlerprisen (Norwegian Booksellers’ Prize), and is the first in a planned climate quartet. Lunde has written nine books for children and young adults. She has also written scripts for Norwegian television and films.

Graham wrote
at 1:29pm on Sunday, 19th August 2018
Who is attending, and how needs a lift from Berne
Wednesday 29 August from 7 pm at Agnes' house
Graham
Graham wrote
at 1:52pm on Thursday, 9th August 2018
Next meetings

August 29 Lea by Pascal Mercier

September 19 The History of Bees by Maja Lunde.
- Is this date NOT good for anybody?

October 17 No book selected.
- We can meet to tell each other about what we are currently reading.

November 21 The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
- Is this date ok? At the Ref. Forum or other suggestions?

December no meeting
- Sometimes we have a "literary dinner"

Graham

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Lea by Pascal Mercier
Hardcover: 225 pages
Publisher: Grove Press; Translation edition (September 12, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802121667
ISBN-13: 978-0802121660
Kindle $4.61
https://www.amazon.com/Lea-Novel-Pascal-Mercier/dp/0802121667
https://theresasmithwrites.com/2017/09/21/new-release-book-review-lea-by-pascal-mercier/

https://www.perlentaucher.de/buch/pascal-mercier/lea.html

some negative reviwes
... Es geht um einen geschiedenen Vater und seine Tochter, ein Wunderkind auf der Geige, die an ihrer Ausnahmebegabung zugrunde geht, was auch den Vater letztlich umbringt, ...
Available
https://www.orellfuessli.ch/shop/home/artikeldetails/ID14483899.html
https://www.amazon.de/Lea-Novel-Pascal-Mercier/dp/0802121667

https://www.exlibris.ch/de/buecher-buch/deutschsprachige-buecher/pascal-mercier/lea/id/9783442737468

------------------------------------------------------

The History of Bees by Maja Lunde

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/09/maja-lunde-the-history-of-bees/538683/
Following a simple premise—what would happen if bees disappeared?—Lunde’s novel, originally released in Norwegian in 2015, jumps back and forth, across time, between the stories of three beekeepers. The term, it should be noted, is used loosely: There’s William, a British biologist in the mid-1800s; George, a farmer in the contemporary Midwest; and Tao, a young Chinese mother in a bee-less 2098 who spends hours performing manual labor in the fields to make up for the lack of apiformes. All three are dealing with personal problems brought about by the existence—or lack—of bees in their life. But the novel smartly relies limitedly on its ecological-disaster framework and instead gains its best footing in the quiet and intimate relationships it depicts between its characters. At times, it’s easy to forget you’re reading a novel exploring the consequences of a species extinction—instead, you’ve become invested in the lives of the people whose stories it follows.

http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-ca-jc-history-of-bees-20170921-story.html

https://www.amazon.co.uk/History-Bees-Maja-Lunde/dp/1471162745

Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Scribner UK (7 Sept. 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1471162745
ISBN-13: 978-1471162749


We discussed two films but I don't know if there are English versions.
More than Honey
http://www.morethanhoney.ch/
https://www.amazon.de/More-Than-Honey-Dieter-Meyer/dp/B00GEKOFCO/
"More Than Honey" ist ein sehr informativer und teilweise Erschreckendes zeigender Dokumentarfilm über die Bienenhaltung, deren Zucht und die Gewinnung von Honig. Außerdem ist er lehrreich in Bezug auf die Unterarten der Bienen.

Der Imker
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imker
https://www.amazon.de/Imker-Ibrahim-Gezer/dp/B00K0ACMRY

------------------------------------------------------

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Year-Magical-Thinking-Joan-Didion/dp/0007216858
Paperback: 227 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (4 Sept. 2006)
ISBN-10: 0007216858
ISBN-13: 978-0007216857

------------------------------------------------------
Graham wrote
at 5:27pm on Tuesday, 31st July 2018
Next meeting: Lea by Pascal Mercier
Wednesday 29 August, 6 pm at the home of Agnes in Münchenbuchsee.
Who is reading ...?
Graham
Graham wrote
at 10:01am on Friday, 27th July 2018
At the meeting of May 23 we responded to the call for proposals of books for September, October and November 2018.

We did not consider the choice list of January 2018, which was sent out in document form recently. It was more fun to look at new recommendations.

Agnes pleaded and others agreed that books should be short (preferably less than about 250 pages) and that we should not have one a month. Perhaps 8 a year, and members are welcome to attend just the discussions that they want to. There is no compulsion to read or discuss books which you are not interested in, and general members of the ICB are welcome to attend whichever Sophie meetings they are interested in.

So far in 2018

19:00 on February 22, 2018 - Nadine Gordimer, The Conservationist
19:15 on March 28, 2018 - Sun-Mi Hwang, The Hen who Dreamed She Could Fly
19:15 on April 25 CANCELLED
19:15 on May 23 - Daniel Kehlman, Measuring the World
19:00 on June 27 - Jonas Luscher, Barbarian Spring
19:00 on August 22 - Pascal Mercier, Lea


Proposals (see more details below)
The History of Bees by Maja Lunde (novel over 250 years with background of the death of bees)
The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt (antipopo John XXIII and Lucretius, non-fiction)
something by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Barcelona gothic stories)
something by Dürrenmatt (currently at cinema Rex and library Kornhaus)
something by Dan Brown (Inferno in Florence or Origin in Bilbao and Barcelona)
Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass)
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

More proposals are welcome.

------------------------------------------------------------------


The History of Bees by Maja Lunde
https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/09/maja-lunde-the-history-of-bees/538683/
Following a simple premise—what would happen if bees disappeared?—Lunde’s novel, originally released in Norwegian in 2015, jumps back and forth, across time, between the stories of three beekeepers. The term, it should be noted, is used loosely: There’s William, a British biologist in the mid-1800s; George, a farmer in the contemporary Midwest; and Tao, a young Chinese mother in a bee-less 2098 who spends hours performing manual labor in the fields to make up for the lack of apiformes. All three are dealing with personal problems brought about by the existence—or lack—of bees in their life. But the novel smartly relies limitedly on its ecological-disaster framework and instead gains its best footing in the quiet and intimate relationships it depicts between its characters. At times, it’s easy to forget you’re reading a novel exploring the consequences of a species extinction—instead, you’ve become invested in the lives of the people whose stories it follows.

http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-ca-jc-history-of-bees-20170921-story.html
https://www.amazon.co.uk/History-Bees-Maja-Lunde/dp/1471162745

Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Scribner UK (7 Sept. 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1471162745
ISBN-13: 978-1471162749


------------------------------------------------------------------

The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt
https://www.amazon.com/Swerve-How-World-Became-Modern/dp/0393343405
https://www.thedailybeast.com/stephen-greenblatts-the-swerve-lucretius-and-the-book-hunters
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antipope_John_XXIII

One of the world's most celebrated scholars, Stephen Greenblatt has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it.


Paperback: 356 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (September 4, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780393343403
ISBN-13: 978-0393343403

------------------------------------------------------------------


Carlos Ruiz Zafon https://www.carlosruizzafon.co.uk/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Ruiz_Zaf%C3%B3n

La sombra del viento, 2001 (The Shadow of the Wind)
El juego del angel, 2008 (The Angel's Game)
El prisionero del cielo, 2011 (The Prisoner of Heaven)
El laberinto de los espíritus, 2017 (The Labyrinth of Spirits)

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_D%C3%BCrrenmatt

The Visit (1964, Der Besuch der alten Dame)
The Visit film https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Visit_(1964_film)
The Judge and His Hangman (Der Richter und sein Henker, 1950; novella)
Suspicion (Der Verdacht, 1951, also known as The Quarry)
A Dangerous Game (Die Panne, 1956, novel / novella, also known as Traps[4])

The Pledge: Requiem for the Detective Novel (Das Versprechen: Requiem auf den Kriminalroman, 1958, novella)
https://www.amazon.com/Pledge-Friedrich-D%C3%BCrrenmatt/dp/0226174379
https://mrspeabodyinvestigates.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/21-friedrich-durrenmatt-the-pledge-first-review-of-swiss-crime/

The Pledge (2001 film) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pledge_(film)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pledge:_Requiem_for_the_Detective_Novel
http://www.postmodernmystery.com/the_pledge.html
https://www.theguardian.com/film/2001/oct/12/seanpenn
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00005BCKG

The Pledge playing at Kino Rex on 5.5 and 19.5
USA 2001, 121 Min., 35mm, E/d/f
Regie: Sean Penn
Drehbuch: Jerzy Kromolowski,
Mary Olsen-Kromolowski, nach
dem Roman «Das Versprechen»
von Friedrich Dürrenmatt
Mit: Jack Nicholson, Patricia
Clarkson, Benicio Del Toro,
Aaron Eckhart, Robin Wright Penn,
Vanessa Redgrave, Mickey Rourke,
Harry Dean Stanton, Helen Mirren
https://www.literapedia-bern.ch/D%C3%BCrrenmatt,_Friedrich


Museum http://www.bundesmuseen.ch/cdn/00120/00133/02259/index.html?lang=de

Kino Rex https://www.rexbern.ch/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/kinorexphmai2seitig.pdf

------------------------------------------------------------------


Dan Brown - Inferno, set in Florence,
Dan Brown - Origin, set in Bilbao and Barcelony


------------------------------------------------------------------

Lewis Carroll

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Carroll
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice%27s_Adventures_in_Wonderland
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Through_the_Looking-Glass

You can read about his stories in Swiss-German
https://als.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_im_Wunderland

------------------------------------------------------------------

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Year-Magical-Thinking-Joan-Didion/dp/0007216858

Paperback: 227 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (4 Sept. 2006)
ISBN-10: 0007216858
ISBN-13: 978-0007216857
Graham wrote
at 9:51am on Friday, 27th July 2018
Next meeting: Lea by Pascal Mercier
Wednesday 29 August, 6 pm at the home of Agnes in Münchenbuchsee.
Who is reading ...?
Graham

-----------------------

A great list here - many "must-reads"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dystopian_literature
Graham wrote
at 9:50am on Friday, 27th July 2018
On last Tuesday radio SRF 1 presented
«The President is missing» von Bill Clinton und James Patterson

You can hear a review here (in German)
https://www.srf.ch/play/radio/kontext/audio/the-president-is-missing-von-bill-clinton-und-james-patterson

President Bill Clinton and bestselling novelist James Patterson have written a spellbinding thriller ...
https://www.amazon.com/President-Missing-Novel-James-Patterson/dp/0316412694

Hardcover: 528 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company and Knopf; First Edition edition (June 4, 2018)

A review by Justin Tate from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35097255-the-president-is-missing
It reads like most popular thrillers, and I’m sure Patterson wrote 95% of it, but the added voice of an experienced president shines through. It’s not JUST a thriller, it’s a scenario of what-ifs. The commentary on how a president has to make tough decisions (they elect to avoid the phrase “hard choices”) is the most intriguing part of the book while the conventional edge-of-your-seat plot kept me eagerly reading. I rarely “devour” a book, but I really did tear through this one. Only took 4 days to finish.

Many more good reviews here on goodreads and amazon

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club meeting

By Graham 4 days ago

 Media and Disinformation

Tuesday, 20 November, from 19:00
Meeting room, Bruder Klaus Church (tram 7 to Burgernziel)

There will be three talks, followed by a lively discussion. The themes cover mass media, from newspapers and television to social media.  We will discuss all aspects of misinformation, including “false facts” and “half-lies”, propaganda, politics and advertising.

Forum

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