Book discussion

Nemesis by Phillip Roth Jim's Bookcorner le 03/04/2013 à 12:15

Nemesis by Phillip Roth

Summer, 1944. In the 'stifling heat of equatorial Newark', a terrifying epidemic is raging, threatening the children of the New Jersey city with maiming, paralysis, life-long disability, even death. Vigorous, decent, twenty-three year old playground director Bucky Cantor is devoted to his charges and disappointed with himself because his weak eyes have excluded him from serving in the war. As polio begins to ravage Bucky's playground, Roth leads us through every inch of emotion such a pestilence can breed: the fear, the panic, the anger, the bewilderment, the suffering and the pain.

Through this story runs the dark question that haunts all four of Roth's late short novels, Everyman, Indignation, The Humbling, and now, Nemesis: what choices fatally shape a life? How powerless is each of us up against the force of circumstances?

The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster

Discussion Jim's bookcorner Staps Language Lab le 12/12/2012 à 12:15

The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster will be discussed on Wednesday 12the December 2012 at 12.15 in the Staps Language Lab The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster will be discussed on Wednesday 12th December at 12.15 at Jim's bookcorner Staps Language Lab

60-year-old Nathan Glass returns to Brooklyn after his wife has left him. He is recovering from lung cancer and is looking for "a quiet place to die". In Brooklyn he meets his nephew, Tom, whom he has not seen in several years. Tom has seemingly given up on life and has resigned himself to a string of meaningless jobs as he waits for his life to change. They develop a close friendship, entertaining each other in their misery, as they both try to avoid taking part in life.

When Lucy, Tom's young niece who initially refuses to speak, comes into their lives there is suddenly a bridge between their past and their future that offers both Tom and Nathan some form of redemption.

The Brooklyn Follies contains the classic elements of a Paul Auster novel. The main character is a lonely man, who has suffered an unfortunate reversal. The narrative is based on sudden and randomly happening events and coincidences. "It is a book about survival" as Paul Auster says.

The novel was published in Danish in May 2005, under the name Brooklyn Dårskab. It was published in English in November 2005. The Traditional Chinese version appeared in October 2006 with the title slightly altered as Mr. Nathan in Brooklyn.

'The Moment' by Douglas Kennedy

Discussion Staps language laboratory le 16/05/2012 à 12:15

I would like to invite you to a discussion about the book 'The Moment' by Douglas Kennedy on Wednesday 16th May from 12.15 to 13.45 . It will take place in the Staps language laboratory Ist floor of the Staps building Allée Paschal Grousset behind the résidence des Bailly,where Jim's bookcorner is housed.If 500 pages is too much for you the book exists in French.(Cet instant-là). There are questions for discussion at the end of the book. I found it absolutely gripping,because I lived in East Germany in 1981/1982 and it brought back so many memories.At the same time you will be able to borrow books from Jim's bookcorner. We hope to have the website which students from the IUT are doing,up and running.
Here is a summary of the book.


Thomas Nesbitt is a divorced American writer in the midst of a rueful middle age. Living a very private life in Maine - in touch only with his daughter and still trying to reconcile himself to the end of a long marriage that he knew was flawed from the outset - he finds his solitude disrupted by the arrival, one wintry morning, of a box postmarked Berlin. The return address on the box - Dussmann - unsettles him completely. For it is the name of the woman with whom he had an intense love affair twenty-six years ago in Berlin - at a time when the city was cleaved in two, and personal and political allegiances were haunted by the deep shadows of the Cold War. Refusing initially to confront what he might find in that box, Thomas nevertheless finds himself forced to grapple with a past he has never discussed with any living person - and in the process relive those months in Berlin, when he discovered, for the first and only time in his life, the full, extraordinary force of true love. But Petra Dussmann - the woman to whom he lost his heart - was not just a refugee from a police state, but also someone who lived with an ongoing sorrow beyond dreams...and one which gradually rewrote both their destinies. In this, his tenth novel, Douglas Kennedy has written that rare thing: a love story as morally complex as it is tragic and deeply reflective. Brilliantly gripping, it is an atmospherically dense, ethically tangled tale of romantic certainty and conflicting loyalties, all set amidst a stunningly rendered portrait of Berlin in the final dark years before "The Wall" came down. Like all of Kennedy's previous, critically acclaimed bestselling novels, "The Moment" is both unputdownable and profound. Posing so many searching questions about why and how we fall in love - and the tangled way we project on to others that which our hearts seek - it is a love story of great epic sweep and immense emotional power.

Book details




The English version of the book has questions for discussion at the end. Please tell me if you plan to come and if anybody would like to organise a discussion of a recent English book in June, please let me know.

'The Road Home' by Rose Tremain

Discussion Staps language laboratory le 01/01/1970 à 00:00

Five of us had an excellent discussion about the Moment.

The next discussion in early September will be about the Road Home by Rose Tremain. It is available in French and English and you have the summer holidays to read it.

"In the story of Lev, newly arrived in London from Eastern Europe, Rose Tremain has written a wise and witty book about the contemporary migrant experience.

On the coach, Lev chose a seat near the back and he sat huddled against the window, staring out at the land he was leaving... Lev is on his way to Britain to seek work, so that he can send money back to Eastern Europe to support his mother and little daughter.

Readers will become totally involved with his story, as he struggles with the mysterious rituals of "Englishness," and the fashions and fads of the London scene. We see the road Lev travels through Lev's eyes, and we share his dilemmas: the intimacy of his friendships, old and new; his joys and sufferings; his aspirations and his hopes of finding his way home, wherever home may be. "