Literary Circle

The Amerikahaus Literary Circle is a free English book club open to the public. Meetings (usually) take place in the Amerikahaus in Munich on the first Wednesday of each month from October through July.

 

The titles are nominated and voted upon by the members twice a year.

 

Meetings and Titles for 2018/2019

 

Wednesday, 10 October 2018 (6:00 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.)

It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

 

It Can’t Happen Here is the only one of Sinclair Lewis’s later novels to match the power of his very best—Main Street, Babbitt, and Arrowsmith. A cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy, the book offers an alarming and eerily timeless look at how fascism could take hold in America. Written during the Great Depression when the country was largely oblivious to Hitler’s aggression, the novel juxtaposes sharp political satire with the chillingly realistic rise of a president who becomes a dictator to save the nation from welfare cheats, sex, crime, and a liberal press. Called “a message to thinking Americans” when it was first published in 1935, It Can’t Happen Here is a shockingly prescient novel that remains as fresh and startlingly contemporary with today’s headlines.

 

 

Wednesday, 7 November 2018 (6:00 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.)

Anything is Possible by Elisabeth Strout

 

Recalling Strout’s Pulitzer-winning Olive Kitteridge in its richness, structure, and complexity, Anything Is Possible explores the whole range of human emotion through the intimate dramas of people struggling to understand themselves and others. This collection of interrelated stories tells the story of the inhabitants of rural, dusty Amgash, Illinois, the hometown of Lucy Barton, a successful New York writer who finally returns, after seventeen years of absence, to visit the siblings she left behind. Reverberating with the deep bonds of family and the hope that comes with reconciliation, Anything Is Possible underscores Elizabeth Strout's place as one of America's most respected authors. The book won The Story Prize and was listed by President Obama as one of the best books he read in 2017.

 

Wednesday, 5 December 2018 (6:00 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.)

Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin

 

"Mountain," Baldwin said, "is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else." Indeed, Go Tell It on The Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin's first major work, a semi-autobiographical novel that has since firmly established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy's discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in 1935. Baldwin's rendering of his protagonist's spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves. Time included Go Tell It on the Mountain on its list of “The 100 Best English-Language Novels from 1923 to 2005”.

 

 

Wednesday, 9 January 2019 (6:00 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.)

Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks

 

Tom Hanks is a noted advocate of the manual typewriter, and it is this machine that threads and binds the articulate and moving stories of his first collection. A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country's civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game—and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN's newest celebrity, and then he must decide whether perfection or celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance, and a bit of real life. These and other stories reveal that the Oscar-winning actor has brought his considerable talent for crafting singular characters to the page as well.

 

 

Wednesday, 6 February 2019 (6:00 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.)

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

 

Between the first and second world wars a group of young, non-English-speaking Japanese women travelled by boat to America. They were picture brides, clutching photos of husbands-to-be whom they had yet to meet. Julie Otsuka tells their extraordinary, heart-breaking story in this spellbinding and poetic account of strangers lost and alone in a new and deeply foreign land. The Buddha in the Attic won the Pen Faulkner Award in 2012 and was shortlisted for both the National Book Award as well as The Los Angeles Times Book Prize in 2011.

 

 

The Amerikahaus Literary Circle is sponsored by the Amerikahaus Verein and the Bavarian Center for Transatlantic Relations.