Aha, the pleasure of reading. On this page you will be feasted on the
books that keep my mind occupied. If you feel that there is a book that
I certainly must read, drop me a message at
"Phileine zegt sorry" by Ronald Giphart
"De buitenvrouw" by Joost Zwagerman
"De geschiedenis van mijn kaalheid" by Marek van der Jagt
"Monogaam" by Marek van der Jagt
"The God of small things" by Arundhati Roy
"De puinhopen van acht jaar paars" by Pim Fortuin
"Lijmen/Het Been" by Willem Elsschot
"Spanje achter de schermen" by Steven Adolf
"The Chomsky Trilogy" by Noam Chomsky
"The unbearable lightness of being" by Milan Kundera
"The Truth" by Terry Pratchett
"The fountainhead" by Ayn Rand
"Notes from a small island" by Bill Bryson
"Meneer, als ik u zie..." by Yvonne Kroonenberg
"Down Under" by Bill Bryson
"Secrets and Lies" by Bruce Schneier
"Fast food nation" by Eric Schlosser
"One for my baby" by Tony Parsons
- "Harry Potter, The philosopher's stone", by J.K. Rowling,
- "Harry Potter and the secret chamber", by same,
- "Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban", by same,
- "Harry Potter and the goblet of fire", by same
"The color of magic" by Terry Pratchett
It is doable to read the DiscWorld books out of order. I am the
living proof of that very fact. I bought the first two DiscWorlds
some time ago from Amazon.com with a gift voucher I had obtained
from one source or another, and threw them on the ever increasing
stack of "bought but not yet read" books I have.
I picked up "The Color of Magic" (obviously from Amazon.com and not
from Amazon.co.uk :-) and read it during one of these periods where
a more specific book can not occupy my mind. "The Color of Magic"
is the DiscWorld's first book, and it is there where a number of
concepts of the flat world where light travels slowly and magic
permeates the atmosphere are first described.
Actually, I am glad that I had read a bunch of other DiscWorld's first.
"The Color of Magic" is certainly not the most funny or interesting
book in the series. It's the first, so a must-read, but it is obvious
that the author was still struggling somewhat with the style, format and
the story elements of the series. But, for a seasoned DiscWorld reader
like myself, it's still nice to see where a number of unexplained
items in the later novels (like "The Luggage") came from (sapient
pearwood. Could you believe it?)...
"Jonathan Livingston Seagull", by Richard Bach
Monique threw this book at me one morning as one that I should read.
It's very short and I read it one fine morning while breakfasting.
I won't give away too much, but it is a nice metaphore for what
can happen to someone who does not follow the troop but tries to
fly higher and faster than the rest...
Two books from Yvonne Kroonenberg
- "Alles went, behalve een vent", by Yvonne Kroonenberg
- "Het zit op de bank en het zapt", by same
Since my divorce, one of the topics that occupies my mind frequently is
the difference between men and women. It is also a frequent topic of
discussion between me and my landlady (my best friend Monique). While
shopping at my local supermarket I came across "Het zit op de bank en
het zapt" (It sits on the couch and it zaps channels, a pun on a well
known Dutch riddle form) by Dutch feminist author Yvonne Kroonenberg.
I picked it up and perused through it. It turned out to be a collection
of funny columns slash short stories (presumably from real life) about
the very men/women topics that are so much at the center of my
existence currently. I bought it (together with the not so flashy daily
When I got home, Monique mentioned an earlier book of the same format
by the same author: "Alles went behalve een vent" (You can get used to
anything except a guy, which rhymes neatly in Dutch). I read both books
in one or two breaths. They turned out to be extremely funny, not at all
judgemental or moralising; just a set of very funny, touching, revealing
and moving stories about topics as old as mankind...
"Eisprong", by Judith Uyterlinde
Each Saturday morning, on Dutch NPR Radio 1, well known Dutch publisher Martin Ros
has a radio column on books he read and that he wants to bring under the attention
of the "unsuspecting" listeners. One fine morning he covered the book "Eisprong"
("Ovulation") by Judith Uyterlinde. His enigmatic enthusiastic style strengthened
the book's appeal.
I bought the book through the Dutch corner of Bertelsmann's web site (http://www.nl.bol.com),
and read it almost straight away. It turned out to be a beautiful book, describing
the author's life with her boyfriend (and later, husband), and their attempts to
become pregnant. As someone who became a father almost effortlessly ("almost" :-), it
is revealing to get such a vivid and emotional description of what someone goes
through if nature does not allow an easy and flawless conception. The book is
painfully honest and never flat or cheap. Not a tearjerker (not at all actually), but
still very moving. It made me feel blessed.
"The beach", by Alex Garland
My friend Monique and I regularly exchange titles of books that we think the other
just has to read. In one e-mail she mentioned "The beach" by Alex Garland together
with a whole bunch of other books. I was just in the middle of my pre-midlife crisis
depression and could do with a little gift to myself. So, I surfed to
http://www.amazon.co.uk and bought myself the whole lot.
The books I bought there (also including "Man and Boy" by Tony Parson) spent most of
autumn, winter and spring on the stack of "already bought, but still unread" books
that I invariable have floating around my apartment.
I finally picked up "The beach" somewhere in the beginning of May 2001. It is
a nice book, easy to read, with a nice storyline. Nothing spectacular. I find it
a bit difficult to grow sympathy for the story's main character. This might
stem from the fact that I do not identify at all with him.....
Ah well. Nice to have read anyway...
"One fine day in the middle of the night", by Christopher Brookmyre
Only just recovering from the great depression of 2000, my mind was
pretty much set on spending Christmas and New Year's eve alone in my
desolate bungalow in Footh-and-Mouth disease riddled Ermelo. However,
my friends would have none of that. First, on boxing day my good friend
Erik dropped by, clearly on a mission to assess my mental stability.
Next, Joyce and Hans, two friends living in The Hague, insisted that
I'd join them for New Year's Eve.
Now Joyce, Hans and I have a lot of things in common, amongst which a taste
for the same type of comedy and books. While there on New Year's Eve Joyce
brought a book to my attention that I absolutely had to read. Not having
much shame or hesitation when it comes to buying books, I logged on to
Amazon the next morning and bought
"One fine day in the middle of the night" (by Christopher Brookmyre).
It turned out to be one of the funniest books I have ever read. Full of
black and dry humour, and a plot that is simple and interesting at the
same time. Imagine an oil drilling platform that is being converted to
a holiday resort, a high school reunion that is taking place on the
half finished resort, and a group of soldiers of fortune taking the
former class mates hostage.
You have to read this! I am firmly planning to buy his other books as well!
"De mannen van Nederland" (The men of Holland), by Sophie Perrier
Sophie Perrier is a French journalist who lives and works in the Netherlands.
To her, it seemed that the age old rituals between men and women, courting, flirting,
living together, raising children, jealousy etcetera were implemented differently in our
beautiful kingdom. So, she set out on a quest in order to find out what Dutch men
are about, and what foreign women and homosexual men think about them.
The result is an extremely funny book. Not because it is full of funny or witty
remarks, but because I could easily recognise and validate everything she
wrote down. Dutch men are boring, not jealous, treat their ladies as equals,
not flirtatous (I am an exception :-), responsible, independent minded and,
above all, trustworthy.
This book proves it: Dutch men are perfect!
"The bear and the dragon", by Tom Clancy
In february 2001, for the first time in over ten years, I was ill enough to
call in sick and stay at home. A throat infection felled me and swallowing was
impossible. Obviously, when you're ill, you need to relax, and in my case
relaxation was offered by this (the latest) Tom Clancy novell. The reason I
picked up this book instead of continuing in "Imajica" or one of the other
books currently on my stack was that Tom Clancy's works can easily be read
without too much brain power tasked to the reading process. I do not intend
this remark as a negative comment. Quite the opposite, his writing style is
lucid and easy to digest.
As to the story, for ardent Tom Clancy readers like myself the title is
by itself enough to predict the plot and the outcome. The Chinese have
set their eyes on east Siberia and invade in order to provide "lebensraum"
for their subjects, acquiring some major natural resources in the process.
The Russian army, helped by their NATO allies (uh? Russia in NATO? Read the
book!) manage to kick some major rear end.
If only war could be this way......
"Lords and Ladies", by Terry Pratchett
I bought this book in New York because I had read all the other books I brought with
me. Fortunately, the DiscWorld series provides almost limitless (in fact 25)
opportunities for buying an extremely funny and easily readable book. You can hardly go
wrong buying a DiscWorld...
In this episode, the story shifts once again to the small kingdom of Lancre, where our
three heroines Granny (Esmeralda) Weatherwax, Nanny (Gytha) Ogg and Margrat Garlick
have a hard time fending off an invastion of nasty elves. The wizards come into play,
and Mustrum Ridcully and Granny Weatherwax are finally revealed to have an interesting
"The soul of a new machine", by Tracy Kidder
For many people, the inner workings of the computer industry are completly
incomprehensible. The complete devotion of programmers and engineers to building
intricate and utterly complicated systems baffles most non-IT people. This book gives a
good insight in the dynamics of a Data General engineering team that
set out to build a new 32-bit minicomputer. The company politics, engineering
challenges and team interaction are accurately described.
As an IT person myself, I knew most of the stuff in here already. Similar books have
been written (and read by me) on the creation of Windows NT and similar endeavours.
Sometimes I had a real hard time deciphering Kidder's layman descriptions of obvious
things like I-cache pollution, memory protection and other technical phenomena.
All in all a nice book to read.
"High Fidelity" by Nick Hornby
Somewhere in october 2000, I went to see the movie "High Fidelity", together with a girl I was dating at that time. We were blasted away
by the storyline and the magnificent characters being brought to life by the actors. In fact, we could easily identify most of the
personas as being persons we actually knew in real life. Little did we know then that our own future would soon enact some of the
lowlights of the story, with me being in more or less the same position as Rob Fleming, dumped, left to pick up the pieces of his/my
sorry existence, and given to reflections and fantasies.
After having seen the movie, I immediately decided that I had to buy the book as well. I started and finished it while staying in New
York on some business for a customer. The book is absolutely fantastic, and my awe for the movie director and actors only increased.
"High Fidelity" might well be the best movie made after a book of all time.
If you are in your mid-thirties, have been in a couple of relations, like good music, and are in the posession of a humorous nature,
this book is for you. You will learn things about yourself :-)
"White Oleander" by Janet Fitch
One fine day, coming in the office, I found a package from Amazon.co.uk in my inbox. Quite surprised, I opened it, to find this book, a
gift from one of my dearest friends. Attached to it was a small card with a message that literally brought tears to my eyes. She had
recently read the book, and since our literary tastes are not dissimilar, and she was very much in the mood to let some of the affection
that exists between us materialise, she decided to feast me on this extremely impressive book.
I decided to take the book with me to a three week business trip to New York and San Francisco.
Without any hesitation I can say that this is one of the most impressive books I have read in the last decade, if not my entire life.
The story is one of extreme power and inevitability, the characters of tragic proportions and the events of a heartbreaking reality.
I would like to give some inklink about the story, but I am afraid my meagre talents as a writer would only do harm to it and make it
bland and uninteresting.
Please, please, please, by this book and read it.
"The Stainless Steel Rat joins the circus" by Harry Harrison
As a science fiction fan, I am a great admirer of most of the work of Harry Harrison. Here is one of the few truly funny SF writers,
that put out masterpieces like the Deathworld trilogy, Bill the Galactic Hero and, obviously, the Stainless Steel Rat series. I have
read all of the Stainless steel Rat books, and when a new one appears, I simply must read it. Unfortunately, the latest books (this one
is the last at time of writing) are merely "just funny" instead of "hilarious". It might be that the character of James DiGriz has been
exhausted, or that the old master has lost some of his edge, I don't know. This book is still funny, a relaxing read, but not of the
extreme fan-creating quality as the first couple of books in the series. Not really recommended.
"Fever Pitch" by Nick Hornby
Sun Apr 28 17:52:47 CEST 2002