Our reading list for winter term 2023/2024 has been completed and leads us into horror, suspense, and thrill—while still ending on a wholesome note.
We start with a post-Halloween special on November 9, 2023 with some classic horror retold:
The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe
What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher
The 1839/1840 tale by Poe makes us witnesses to the mysterious decline of a house and the horrifying demise of its inhabitants. The 2022 retelling by Kingfisher gives Poe’s anonymous narrator a name, aids them with “a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor” and will hopefully guide us through the fungal growths of the house of Usher without becoming too unsettled—or maybe that uneasy feeling is exactly what we are after?
We have our Christmas session on December 14, 2023 with 90s nostalgia wrapped up in a supernatural thriller:
Mister Magic by Kiersten White
This 2023 novel follows the Circle of Friends, five former cast members of the 90s children’s programme “Mister Magic”, who survived a tragic accident that ended the show’s production. They have spent their lives looking for the special sense of happiness they felt when they were on the show and they end their search back at its remote filming location. Is their reunion their fate or a trap? Will they find answers to their questions? We will see.
The magical Christmas session is completed by an extravaganza that is making its second appearance: the Secret Santa Book Swap! This is how it works:
- Everybody who wants to participate selects a book that they have read and want somebody else to enjoy, too.
- It must be originally written in English. It can be by any author, from any genre, from any time period. It can be second-hand or brand-new.
- It must be wrapped in paper and given a little written teaser that should not give away the title or author but only give the potential receiver a little hint at what sort of book it is and why it’s interesting.
- We will figure out who takes which parcel during our December session and enjoy the surprise unwrappings.
We start the new year on January 11, 2024 with a text about covert racism, cultural appropriation, and creative theft:
Yellowface by Rebecca F. Kuang
This 2023 novel centers around authors June Hayward and Athena Liu. While June struggles to get her writing career going, Athena becomes a literary success story. When Athena dies in a freak accident, June acts on impulse: she steals not only Athena’s manuscript of a new masterpiece, she steals her whole identity and claims a space in the spotlight for herself. Does it really make a difference whether her Chinese background is real of fake?
PADERBORN2READ—The English Book Club will participate in a Banned Books Day on January 26, 2024. Stay tuned to our blog, more information will follow soon!
We continue our schedule on February 8, 2024 with a bestseller on power, privilege, and dark magic:
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Set on the prestigious Yale campus, Bardugo’s 2019 fantasy novel introduces us to an unlikely Yale freshman: Galaxy “Alex” Stern was raised by a hippie mother, dropped out of school, worked shady odd jobs, and solely survived an unsolved multiple homicide. The offer to attend university must come with a catch, right? And as it turns out—yes, things are certainly not as they seem.
We wrap things up on March 14, 2024 with a YA novel and graphic novel double feature, both on finding one’s place in this world:
What I Leave Behind by Alison McGhee
The Sad Ghost Club by Lize Meddings
McGhee’s 2019 YA novel tells the story of sixteen-year-old Will, who tries to cope with the misery of his father’s suicide by doing some good in the world and to those around him. Meddings’s 2021 graphic novel introduces us to a secret society for the anxious and alone, a club most of us need at least once in a while. This end-of-term double feature promises a wholesome twist after a somewhat suspenseful reading list.