The English Book Club
The English Book Club

What we read in summer term 2023

Our book choices for summer term 2023 have been made and we are looking forward to surgeons and chemists, to time travel and queer identity.

We kick things off on May 11, 2023 with romance, corpses, and mystery:

Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz

“Hazel Sinnett is a lady who wants to be a surgeon more than she wants to marry. Jack Currer is a resurrection man who’s just trying to survive in a city where it’s too easy to die.” This 2022 novel, set in 1817 Edinburgh, tells Hazel’s and Jack’s romance that enfolds over corpses and mystery. Who doesn’t love a gothic tale?

We contribute to Paderborn University’s Reading Week on May 30, 2023 with some time travelling:

Looking Backward, 20001887 by Edward Bellamy
This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

The 1888 utopian science-fiction novel features a protagonist time travelling to a socialist version of the United States in the year 2000. Let’s see how Bellamy’s imagination compares to U.S. reality in the 21st century! The 2019 epistolary sci-fi novel has a duo of lesbian space agents time travelling back and forth through multiple universes on behalf of their warring empires. Let’s compare this version of time travel story-telling to Bellamy’s prototype!


The discussion of the two time travel stories is only the finale of our Reading Week Extravaganza. Join us for various book-related activities on May 30, 2023:

  • Book Exhibition & Book Grab (3.006.00 p.m.)
    There will be an open exhibition of members’ book favourites and other reading recommendations as well as a rummage table of second-hand books ready for grabs. Get inspired and enjoy browsing while also having some snacks!
  • DIY Workshop: Craft your own bookmark! (3.004.30 p.m.)
    Our club member Kristin will guide you in creating your very own bookmark. The DIY station can be visited at any time during the 90-minute timeframe, a small contribution towards expenses will be asked from everybody using the craft materials.
  • Book Slam: Present your favourite book! (4.306.00 p.m.)
    Our club member Ronja will organize a book slam in which all participants will have a maximum of three minutes to present and push (one of) their favourite book(s). Registering for the slam will be possible all afternoon, the most intriguing presentation will be awarded.
  • Book Discussion: Time Travel Past and Present (6.008.00 p.m.)
    The extravaganza ends with a regular PADERBORN2READ book discussion. Join us for our discussion of two time-travel novels, Looking Backward, 2000–1887 by Edward Bellamy and This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone.

Stay tuned for more information!

We celebrate pride month on June 15, 2023 with two queer texts:

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe

Thomas’s 2020 YA novel follows a latinx trans boy engaging with the Mexican death culture and features actual magic. Kobabe’s 2019 graphic novel shows the author’s own journey to eir non-binary gender identity and has been at the heart of the ongoing U.S. censorship debate. We will discuss the texts with regards to their forms of story-telling and in context of the LGBTQ+ struggles.

We continue our schedule on July 13, 2023 with identity searching and serial killing:

Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie

This 1996 “feel-good novel about interracial murder” (according to the author) intertwines the personal life-story of John Smith, born native and adopted by white parents (evidently oblivious to Pocahontas), with the murder-mystery of a serial killer dubbed the “indian killer” because of the scalping of his white victims.

We continue on August 10, 2023 with a non-fiction text:

A Night to Remember by Walter Lord

The 1955 minute-by-minute account details the sinking of the RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912. Lord’s carefully researched text including interviews with survivors is considered a definitive resource about the historical nautical desaster and the author was consultant to film director James Cameron for his 1997 blockbuster Titanic.

We wrap things up on September 14, 2023 with emancipation and science:

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

This 2022 best-selling novel centres on intellectually gifted chemist Elizabeth Zott and her struggles to work in scientific research as a woman in the 1950s. And because chemistry and cooking are quite closely related, a culinary tweak is also included. This book choice promises to bring us full circle from our Victorian aspiring surgeon to this Californian no-nonsense chemist.

Summer Term 2023

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