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Literary Circle

1. Dezember um 18:00 - 19:30

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Eine ganztägige Veranstaltung, die um 18:00 Uhr am First. Tag des Monats stattfindet und bis zum 31. Dezember 2021 wiederholt wird.

The Amerikahaus Literary Circle is a free English book club open to the public.

Meetings (usually) take place on the first Wednesday of each month.

Please note: The session will be held online. Register at

Meetings and Titles for April 2021 – December 2021

Wednesday, June 2, 2021 (6:00 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.) 

Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

This classic by Willa Cather depicts a life lived simply and singly in the silence of the Southwest. In 1851, arriving to the new Territory of New Mexico, Father Jean Marie Latour comes to serve as vicar apostolic, where he encounters a vastness of hills and arroyos that is ostensibly now part of the U.S. but, really, far more Navajo, Hopi, and Mexican. Like Jerome of Stridon, Latour does God’s work in the desert—wherefrom Cather wrests a poetry now hailed as one of the best novels of the twentieth century.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021 (6:00 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.)

Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas

Funny in Farsi chronicles the adventures of the Dumas family, who, in 1972, leave Iran for California. Episodically, we witness the family reckon with the quirks of their adopted home in learning the language, in partaking of traditions, and, not least, in plumbing the curiosities of the culture—while watching Bob Hope, for example, Firoozeh’s parents guffaw uproariously, though they don’t get the jokes even in Farsi. This is a celebration of familial love amid the immigration experience that is beautifully told and quintessentially American.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021 (6:00 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.)

Grendel by John Gardner

The first and most terrifying monster in English literature, Grendel tells his own side of the story in this book that is frequently banned in the United States (yet a staple on college reading lists). This brilliant retelling of the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf follows Grendel as he learns about how humans wage war. John Gardner, a medievalist, artfully seeds this postmodern novella with existential kernels of concern that include both the philosophical search for meaning amid a world of dubious good and the workings of language in a timeless tale whose power is redoubled by the echoes of intertextuality.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021 (6:00 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.)

A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin

Melding wit with melancholy, Berlin’s art distils miracles from the gatherings of everyday women—whom, though lost, are also strong, clever, and, though fictive, utterly real. They embody the ennui of the wayward Christians and inveterate hitchhikers who populate the cafeterias and self-service laundries of the American Southwest, navigating their workaday worlds of jockeys, doctors, and switchboard operators, where they laugh, and they mourn, and they drink. Berlin remains a highly influential writer, and this remarkable collection from a master of the form is not to be missed.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021 (6:00 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.)

Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov

Penned as sketches for The New Yorker while looking to get Lolita published, Pnin was later expanded into a novel that was nominated for the National Book Award for Fiction. The novel’s eponymous hero is, like Nabokov, exiled to the U.S., where he teaches Russian at the fictional Waindell College, which uncannily evokes Wellesley, where Nabokov taught. An inveterate punster, Nabokov might be toying with a homophone here—pain—in this celebrated metafictional response to Cervantes’ cartoonish treatment of Quixote, which Nabokov had infuriatingly read the year prior to starting Pnin.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021 (6:00 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.)

The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore

Delving into the life of Wonder Woman’s eccentric creator, psychologist William Moulton Marston, Jill Lepore, Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer, delineates the heroine’s feminist origins (from the warrior princesses of the Amazon to iconic suffragists like Emmeline Pankhurst) and inspiration in the women with whom Marston shared a bed—his wife and mistress. This riveting exploration into the history of American pop culture details insights into the twentieth-century struggle for women’s rights and, thereby, the notable state of feminism today.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021 (6:00 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.)

The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence

Toggling between past and present, The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence, a major figure in contemporary Canadian fiction, tells the story of ninety-year-old Hagar Currie Shipley. In the present day, Hagar struggles mightily in being relegated to a nursing home—for, age notwithstanding, her quiet life has been one full of rage. Approaching death, she retreats from the daily squabbling of her son and daughter-in-law to the fraught haven of reflection—where she relives her ill-advised marriage and remote home on the prairie—to bear witness finally to her own failures and the betrayals of others.



1. Dezember
18:00 - 19:30
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