Book Tip and Book Club Reminder

Delving into the literature of your target country can be a fantastic way to fire up the language learning motivation, getting to know the country much better and understanding backgrounds. With this in mind, Waterstones King Street Lancaster and Fluent Language Tuition have created the Translated Fiction Book Club.

First meeting: 14 May (tomorrow night) at the Robert Gillow pub, so do come along if you're local.

This meeting will be all about discussing "The Reader" by Bernhard Schlink. A fantastic novel to discuss! The title alone becoming "reader" (someone who reads?), as opposed to the "Vorleser" (someone who reads out loud to others) shows the riches of language and power of translation.


Book Tip: The Reader

I first came across the book "The Reader" (originally "Der Vorleser") in my Grundkurs Deutsch - that's the course you take when you don't really want to take German in the Abitur, but you've got to. I was a teenager, much more interested in dancing around at village discos.

Its story develops slowly from a teenager (Spoiler alert!) sleeping with an older woman into an ever more important and life-affecting one, asking questions that are hard to answer and poke at the surfaces of our conscience. Bernhard Schlink is a great author, he writes so gently and his narrator is so relatable, that the story came through for me. Out of all the German literature school threw at me (Faust, Death in Venice and Heinrich Heine), this is the story I remember best.

The Reader doesn't start out like a story about Germany or German history. It's just a boy confused by his first love. But slowly, and for me as surprisingly as for the narrator himself, bigger things happen. It becomes a story of things that happened in the past haunting us, and ultimately about guilt and character and keeping secrets. I re-read it recently for the book club and found that it hasn't lost any of its power, and in fact really delivers new perspectives to readers along with the life experience you pick up in the meantime.

You can order a copy in English from Amazon or Book Depository, and a copy in German from Book Depository or Amazon.