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

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
  • 19:00 on August 22 NEW DATE - Pascal Merrcier, Lea

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!


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Displaying 21 - 30 of 30 comments
Graham wrote
at 9:41pm on Tuesday, 23rd January 2018
Barbarian Spring by Jonas Lüscher.
On a business trip to Tunisia, Preising, a leading Swiss industrialist, is invited to spend the week with the daughter of a local gangster. He accompanies her to the wedding of two London city traders at a desert luxury resort that was once the site of an old Berber oasis. With the wedding party in full swing and the bride riding up the aisle on a camel, no one is aware that the global financial system stands on the brink of collapse. As the wedding guests nurse their hangovers, they learn that the British pound has depreciated tenfold, and their world begins to crumble around them.
So begins Barbarian Spring, the debut novel from Jonas Lüscher, a major emerging voice in European fiction. In this delightfully bizarre and cynical novel, it should be noted that the wedding guests are all newly-rich, hotshot traders at leading British banks and that the world which crumbles around them has left their credit cards worthless. They are stuck high and dry in a posh resort in the Tunisian desert facing 'the natives' with nothing left of their wealth and power. It is a story of attempted survival. The book was written in German and was on the short list for the Swiss Book Prize two years ago.
• Paperback: 192 pages
• Publisher: Haus Publishing; 1st UK Edition 1st Printing edition (March 15, 2015)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 1908323833
• ISBN-13: 978-1908323835
Graham wrote
at 9:40pm on Tuesday, 23rd January 2018
Founded in 2003, Words Without Borders is an organization that promotes cultural understanding through the translation, and publication of contemporary international literature. Every month the group publishes eight to twelve new works by international writers, including Nobel Prize laureates and new writers. To date Words Without Borders has published more than 2,400 pieces from 132 countries and 112 languages.
Kathleen Kelly Janus' Books to Make the World Better

The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change
by Adam Braun
"In this gripping story, Braun recounts how one interaction on a study abroad trip completely transformed his life. This book is an inspiring guide for how to transform serendipity into action."
Good Minds Suggest: Kathleen Kelly Janus' Books to Make the World Better

The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change by Adam Braun
"In this gripping story, Braun recounts how one interaction on a study abroad trip completely transformed his life. This book is an inspiring guide for how to transform serendipity into action."

The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity
by Nadine Burke Harris
"A remarkable account of Dr. Burke Harris' journey to find a cure for toxic stress in children and a compelling case for how we can all be advocates for the rights of children."

I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
"An extraordinary story about a girl who took a stand for what was right and inspired a generation of women and girls globally by her actions."
The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Povertyby Peter Singer
4.05 avg rating — 2,577 ratings published 2009
Using ethical arguments, provocative thought experiments, illuminating examples, and case studies of charitable giving, philosopher Peter Singer shows that our current response to world poverty is not ...more
The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer
"Peter Singer reminds us that eradicating world poverty is within our reach and makes a strong case for why we should all be doing more for those who are suffering most in our world."
Graham wrote
at 9:39pm on Tuesday, 23rd January 2018
More suggestions:

I Heard the Owl Call My Name is a best-selling 1967 book by Margaret Craven. The book tells the story of a young Anglican vicar named Mark Brian who has not long to live, and also who learns about the meaning of life when he is to be sent to a First Nations (native Canadian) parish in British Columbia.

Again Calls the Owl. is a 1983 book, 120 pages

"The Hen who dreamed she could fly" from Sun-Mi Hwang.
• Paperback: 144 pages
• Publisher: Penguin Books (November 26, 2013)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 0143123203
• ISBN-13: 978-0143123200

Graham wrote
at 11:38am on Tuesday, 16th January 2018
Meeting on Wednesday, 24 January at 19:00
will NOT be at the Ref. Forum but at a nearby restaurant.
Graham wrote
at 4:21pm on Thursday, 4th January 2018
Sophie Book Group
When Wednesday, 24 January at 19:00
Where Ref. Forum, Länggassstrasse 41
Contact Graham Tritt
Deadline Please register by the Monday before
We review all proposals of works for reading in 2018. We plan to pick a total of eight books. Members are welcome to attend any meetings – you can choose to attend only those sessions covering the books you are interested in.
If there is time, we will also discuss the two short stories we could not review in November – The Last Question (12 pages, 1956) and The Last Answer (8 pages, 1980), two philosophical stories by renowned science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. These texts can be read online at and
Graham wrote
at 9:03pm on Monday, 18th December 2017
Some books which are being read by a ZUrich book group

The author Yuval Noah Harari

Two major non-fiction books
"Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind"
"Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow"

Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life.

"21 Lessons for the 21st Century" only 112 pages, about the present

"One Day I Will Write About This Place" by Binyavanga Wainaina
The book is a comic refutation of the premise that this is how you write about Africa. As such, it reads like nothing I have read before, crackling with the energy of a writer who delights in revealing the multi-cultural, multi-national, multi-ethnic world of his middle-class Kenyan upbringing.” – Magnus Taylor, African Arguments

"Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley

"M. Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Koran" by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt

"The Rosie Project" by Graeme Simsion
An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love. The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.
Graham wrote
at 8:55pm on Monday, 18th December 2017
The Last Question by Isaac Asimov in 1956 can be found here

The "Last Answer" by Isaac Asimov in 1980 can be found here
Graham wrote
at 8:52pm on Monday, 18th December 2017
Soemthing by celebrated Britis writer Jane Gardam

Perhaps some of her short stories, for instance the 2016 book

Graham wrote
at 8:47pm on Monday, 18th December 2017
A thriller by Sam Bourne, prescient of the election of Trump!

To Kill a President - Sam Bourne
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins; 01 edition (4 July 2017)
ISBN-10: 0007413734
ISBN-13: 978-0007413737

The unthinkable has happened - the United States has elected a volatile demagogue as president, backed by a ruthless chief strategist. When a war of words with the North Korean regime spirals out of control and the President comes perilously close to launching a nuclear attack, it's clear someone has to act, or the world will be reduced to ashes.

Soon Maggie Costello, a seasoned Washington operator and stubbornly principled, discovers an inside plot to kill the President – and faces the ultimate moral dilemma. Should she save the President and leave the free world at the mercy of an increasingly crazed would-be tyrant - or commit treason against her Commander in Chief and risk plunging the country into a civil war?


The author, a columnist for the left-leaning Guardian newspaper, handed in the manuscript of his latest thriller, "To Kill the President," in late January - just 72 hours after Donald J. Trump took his presidential oath of office and eight months before Dotard vs. Rocket Man awakened fears of the apocalypse. And between then and its publication in June, he didn’t change a word. But trenchant satire aside, parallels with the current president are so familiar that some readers have dubbed Mr. Freedland "Nostradamus"

Graham wrote
at 8:45pm on Monday, 18th December 2017
Do you still have suggestions, Graham? Mine were

Heat and Light by Jennifer Haigh

"Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Haigh returns to the Pennsylvania town at the center of her iconic novel Baker Towers in this ambitious, achingly human story of modern America and the conflicting forces at its heart—a bold, moving drama of hope and desperation, greed and power, big business and small-town families.

Forty years ago, Bakerton coal fueled the country. Then the mines closed, and the town wore away like a bar of soap. Now Bakerton has been granted a surprise third act: it sits squarely atop the Marcellus Shale, a massive deposit of natural gas."

Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Ecco; First Edition edition (May 3, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061763292
ISBN-13: 978-0061763298


Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

"#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • With richly layered characters and a gripping moral dilemma that will lead readers to question everything they know about privilege, power, and race, the stunning new page-turner from Jodi Picoult."
Quotes are from Amazon.

Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (October 11, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345544951
ISBN-13: 978-0345544957


As these may be too long for our group, shorter ones follow:


Between the World and Me by Ta Nehisi-Coates

In a series of essays, written as a letter to his son, Coates confronts the notion of race in America and how it has shaped American history, many times at the cost of black bodies and lives.


The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Paperback: 227 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (4 Sept. 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0007216858
ISBN-13: 978-0007216857


So there are 4 ideas for you all!

Please tell me when we vote, I hope we can vote online or by email.

Thanks and Happy Holidays!



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events in August

By Graham on 7th August

In the warm weather: join the Swimming / Picnic WhatsApp group

Thursday to Saturday: Buskers in Berne
Thursday 9: Spanish café cancelled
Sunday 12: BARBECUE at Auguet
Tuesday 14: French café
Thursday 16: English Tea Time
Thursday 16: Meditation
Sunday 19: Cycling: note changes to the plan
Sunday 26: Estaveyer Benichon
Week 20-26 August: Salzburg festival - anyone interested in this trip?

Other events in Berne
Museums are open and free on Saturdays
Kino Rex shows Hitchcock movies
Movies group on WhatsApp - ask to join
Köniz castle events
GenerationenHaus events:


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