In June we are teaming up with The Nijmegen Book Club for a two-city read! Their book club is filled with like-minded, English books loving people who we can’t not meet. According to the Nijmegen Book Club Way we have a theme for the June book picks and the voting will happen through a poll on Facebook. To highlight the options and to urge you to vote before the 24th of March after which the decision will be made final, we decided to outline the books and choices for you.
The first option is A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. This book was nominated for the Man Booker Prize of 2013, but lost to The Luminaries. However, we all know that the losing books are often the better ones, so don’t judge it just yet. The book is about sixteen-year old Nao, living in Tokyo, who is contemplating suicide to protect herself from her bullying classmates and the aching loneliness that follows. Before this, Nao plans to document the life of her great-grandmother, a centenarian Buddhist nun, in her diary. This diary finds its way across the Pacific into the hands of Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island. Buried in a Hello Kitty Lunchbox, Ruth finds the debris of Nao’s life and starts to unfold it.
Our second option is We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo. This book was also nominated for the Man Booker Prize which we apparently adore and it Bulawayo debut novel. In We Need New Names a young girl named Darling tries to escape the perils from her life in Zimbabwe and find her way to America. Her old life in Zimbabwe is violent and dangerous, but arriving in America shows that life as an immigrant doesn’t give her the abundance and ease she hoped for.
Panopticon by Jenni Fagan is option number three and a book we have been contemplating for our book club for a while now. A panopticon is a circular prison, constructed in such a way that prisoners can view each other at all times. At the start of the book Anais finds herself arrested and on her way to the panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders. Here she forms a strong bond with the other inmates, who are all part of the same experiment. Anais is forced to find out about the strange circumstances about her life, which has been lived mostly among unloving foster parents and the alleged ‘crime’ she committed to get to Panopticon.
Your final option is the classic All Men Are Mortal by Simone de Beauvoir. This book, part novel part philosophy, tells the romantic tale of Count Raymond Fosca who is cursed to live forever. He falls in love with the young actress Regine, who is quite theatrical and obsessed with being eternal herself. Fosca confesses to her his condition, retelling the acts of his previous lives and how futile these have become once there is no definite end.
Now all of you are informed enough to vote on the book you like the most! Unlike our usual voting system, there will be no voting during the book club meeting itself, so make sure you tell us what to read. Voting is done easily by clicking on this link and then choosing your favorite. We hope you like the books we picked and would love to hear about books written by women you would like to read in the future!