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Lesegruppe. Bitte die britische Fahne anklicken

This Reading Group meets at EMMAUS-Gemeinde, Onkel-Toms-Hütte

(U-Bahnhof).  Always on the third Monday in the month.    You can contact me at: alisonpask@web.de

When we were at a last venue the title of the course in the programme was: reading and talking.

Scroll down to find out what we are reading NOW: 

We always talk about a book that was originally written in English. They are mostly pretty modern. The basis of the discussion is the book, not an ideology or a particular critical approach. Some are a bit tough to read for some people but we try to alternate between easier  and more demanding reading. I lead the discussion and hope that I am open to suggestions for what we read and how we talk about it. 

People who attend contribute about 5 Euros for my administration and for a donation to the people in whose building we meet, recently the church, previously the Bruno-Taut-Laden and Mittelhof.

On the other side of the tracks in the Onkel-Toms-Hütte-Underground station is

BUCHHANDLUNG BORN. Inh. Juliane Kaiser Ladenstraße 17-18, 14169 Berlin Telefon: 030.31 86 91 60.

It is an independent bookshop – with friendly, helpful service where one can pre-order books and pick them up a month in advance – or ask me to pre-order them.

Since we moved from Das Schloß:

 Dec 2019 Dickens: A Christmas Carol, Carol Ann Duffy: Mrs Scrooge

Jan 2020: Toni Morrison : The Bluest Eye

Feb 2020: Margaret Atwood: Hag-Seed

On 16th March we had a really constructive dicussion of Ocean Vuong’s ‘On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous’. We were five people with notes from three more of you and it is developing into a written discussion! (Perhaps I have to learn how to set up a blog on the website?)

On May 18th 7 of us met (after consultation) at Piaggio’s at 3 pm and talked about Evaristo’s Booker Prize winning ‘Girl, Woman, Other’. It was an enlivening and productive discussion.

In June  : Elizabeth Strout: Olive, Again.

August  : Sarah Moss : Tidal Zone

September: Ian MacEwan: Machines Like Me Machines Like Me reviews

October: Max Porter, Lanny       in the Bruno Tau Laden, Onkel-Toms-Hütte   3 p.m.                    Lanny reviews   

November 2020: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird. Keep a special eye open for Dill, our author for December!

In December 2020   I’d like to talk about Truman Capote’s ‘A Christmas Memory’, ‘One CHristmas’ and ‘The Thanksgiving Visitor’. They are available in one volume but here are pdfs of the first two. I’m working onthe third!


On Monday 18th January 2021 at 3 pm Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’.

In February 2021 Ali Smith’s ‘How to be Both’

March 15th     Brit Bennet: The Vanishing Half     – we were 8 and our discussions online are improving (technically). We covered a lot of ground and for once, everybody had liked the book! Thanks, everybody!

For April     Anne Enright : The Actress

For May    ‘The Braid’ by Latitia Colimbani that Kathy recommends. (Yes, it is a translation. Exceptions prove the rule, don’t they!)

June 21st : Cleeves , Too Good to be True

Maggie O’Farrell : Hamnet for July. 18th

In August we’re talking about Jiles: News of the World,

In September : Jenny Offill, ‘Weather’. There also plenty of second hand copies available.

In October : Nunez ‘The Friend’

In November : Coetzee: Disgrace

In December: John Ironmonger ‘Not Forgetting the Whale’.


January 17th : Ishiguro’s ‘Klara and the Sun’

Febraury 21st : Virgina Woolf : To a Lighthouse

21st March Benjamin Myers The Offing

April our normal date would be Easter Monday so it didn’t happen unless we have something urgent that suits many of us!

16. May   The Handmaiden’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
20. Juni               Gurnah :  Paradise

18. Juli                Sarah Moss : The Fell

15. August     Natasha  Brown : The Assembly

17. October   NoViolet Bulawayo : We need new names

21. November : Mohsin Hamid : Exit West

19. December became January 2023 : Claire Keegan: Small Things Like These

February  2023 : Katie Kitamura : Intimacies

March : Dangaremgba, Nervous Conditions

April : Alan Bennet, Uncommon Reader (Reklam edition is helpful)

May : Picoult, Wish you were here

June:  Penelope Lively, Heat Wave

July: Hamid Mohsin, The Last White Man

August : H G Wells, The Time Machine

September : Claire Keegan, Foster

October :  Sebastian Barry ‘God’s Old Time’

November :  Toni Morrison, Recitatif  and Zadie SMith’s article about it.

December : Judith Kerr, When Hitler StolePink Rabbit


January 15th Petina Gappah   The Book of Memory

Feb : Toni Morrison, Recitatif and Zadie SMith’s Essay about it

March : Galgut, The Promise Gordimer Conservationist

April:  Louise Kennedy, Trespasses

Monday’s meeting (April 2024) was particularly lively. Thank you! I tried to work out later why that was, but I suspect it had something to do with the many details that had interested you.

This week I finally listened to Colm Toibin talking to Louise Kennedy on YouTube. Secondly I was sorry for her. She was so nervous (or so it sounded – I didn’t watch) and kept stalling. Firstly I was comforted, because their discussion was also wide-ranging without concentrating on any main points.

Looking at my notes on Monday evening I decided that perhaps we should also have mentioned her ‘means’ of writing – to distinguish this, her first novel, from many other ‘stories’ or narratives. I do think I would say it was ‘literary’, although her choice of words only struck me more and more when I re-read it. (I am not referring to the Irishness.) I had simply noted : ‘luck, happenstance, ghastly fortuity’ for that main topic that we possibly didn’t say enough about.

However, there are also all several the mirror-scenes where the reader is told what Cushla sees, the photographs, the humour…. (cleverly phrased), not to mention the obvious motifs of the gorse etc tying up the plot.

That being said, we must move on (tho I do, of course, welcome any comments about our discussion) :

May 20th = Whitsuntide so no meeting but we will meet informally in a cafe for chat and exchange of ideas on May 13th at Gourmet Sud. You can get there by Bus 118 or take the U 3 to Krumme Lanke. No need to say if you’re not coming.

June 17th Pip Williams, The Dictionary of Lost Words

Please remember that this is a little longer than our books usually are, although I think it was a relatively simple read.

July – Coetzee The Pole  (Spice re Coetzee Pole LRB) (long short story – just the one)

August – Paul Harding This Other Eden (under 10 Euros)

September I realise that I will be away……..

Later : Chetna Maroo : Western Lane (under 10 Euros)

What about McBride : The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store (380?)? and

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (or sequel?)

Tea Obrecht’s books

Julian Barnes : Flaubert’s Parrot



1) First meeting (was) : November 2015: Ian McEwen: The Children Act2) End of January 2016 :: The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Society von Barrows/Schaffer

3)  February (on Feb 29th! 2016) The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

4)  25th April. Anne Enright’s The Green Road

5)  June 27th,:  Jo MacMillan’s Motherland

6) Gail Jones: A Guide to Berlin –  July  25th 2016 ;

7) Joseph Kanon, Leaving Berlin – August 29th 2016 .

8)    ‘Reader, I married him’ on September 26th 2016

9) October 31st    2016  Kent Haruf: Our Souls at Night

10) November_  Bill Clegg’s : Did you ever have a family

11. January 2017  Colim Toibin’s ‘Nora Webster’

12) February 2017:  Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann (Bloomsbury Publishing

13) March 2017 :Tyler: Vinegar Girl

14) May 2017:  Zadie Smith: Swing Time

15) June 17 : The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan.

16)  July 17 : My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

October 16th 2017 –Groff: Fates and Furies. fates and furies three reviews

November 20th 2017: McEwen: Nutshell

December 18th 2017  The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson 

January 15th 2018    Winterston – The Gap of Time (2015)     Hogarth Shakespeare

Feb 19th 2018 : Colson Whitehead: Underground Railroad

March 19th 2018 : Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift

April 16th 2018: Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day

June 18th  2018 – Julian Barnes, Noise of Time (It is now out in paperback and there should be plenty of copies in libraries).

July 16th 2018 “Stay with Me” by Ayobami Adebyo

August 20th  2018 A Gentleman in Moscow (Towles)

September 17th 2018 :   Reservoir 13 (Jon McGregor)

October 2018 : Carr: A Month in the Country

November 2018: Days without End (Sebastian Barry)

December 2018:   Winter (Ali Smith)


January 2019: Another Brooklyn  (Jaqueline Woodson) (2016)

February 2019 Lincoln in the Bardo

March 2019 Little Fires Everywhere : Celeste Ng      

April : Tessa Hadley : Bad Dreams (several short stories)

May 2019 Colum McCann: Let the whole world spin

June 2019 Banville : The Sea

July Pat Barker Regeneration (first of the trilogy)

August Jane Gardam : Old Filth

September Michelle : Obama Becoming

October: Ishiguro The Buried Giant

Nov 2019 McClaverty: Midwinter Break

P L E A S E  bring your suggestions! 

Who knows Jennifer Egan’s ‘Manhattan Beach’ (2017)

The daring and magnificent novel from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad.

Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men.

‎Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that once belonged to men, now soldiers abroad. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. One evening at a nightclub, she meets Dexter Styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished.

With the atmosphere of a noir thriller, Egan’s first historical novel follows Anna and Styles into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men. Manhattan Beach is a deft, dazzling, propulsive exploration of a transformative moment in the lives and identities of women and men, of America and the world. It is a magnificent novel by the author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, one of the great writers of our time.  (Goodreads)

Who knows:The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (2015)

It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain,

Later, may be: The Broken Shore  ( Peter Temple, 2005) The Broken SHore: Broken by his last case, homicide detective Joe Cashin has fled the city and returned to his hometown to run its one-man police station while his wounds heal and the nightmares fade. He lives a quiet life with his two dogs in the tumbledown wreck his family home has become. It’s a peaceful existence – ideal for the rehabilitating man. But his recovery is rudely interrupted by a brutal attack on Charles Bourgoyne, a prominent member of the local community. Suspicion falls on three young men from the local Aboriginal community. But Cashin’s not so sure and as the case unfolds amid simmering corruption and prejudice, he finds himself holding on to something that it might be better to let go.  (Goodreads)

See below for what we have already covered


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