On Chesil Beach - Ian McEwan

Why did I choose this book?
Because it was possible to win an authographed copy of this book! Well, I didn't win...

About the author:
Ian McEwan (21 June 1948) was born in England, but spent much of his youth abroad. His won the Man Booker Prize for his book Amsterdam . He was awarded a CBE in 2005.

The Story:
A young couple are on their honeymoon. It is their fist night together. And what is supposed to be the best night in their lives turns into a nightmare, because of unspoken fears and feelings.

You really feel for these young people who could have made such a nice couple and had a great time together. But one night changed all that. If only they had told each other beforehand of their hopes and fears, things might have turned out different.


Top 10 of Favourite Books

This blog is only about books I am reading now or in the future. But naturally there have been lots of books I've read in the past that have made a lasting impression. So I've tried to make a list of the 10 most favourite books I've read in my life. Which is of course impossible. This list is far from complete. It does not include any Dutch books, or books I read in my childhood. If I'm asked to make this list again a month from now, part of it will probably be the same, but I'm sure there will be other books on it as well. So for what it's worth, if I had to go to an desert island these are the books I would take with me (only not really, because if I really had to go to a desert island I'd probably be better off taking a survival handbook!):

1. Mutiny on the Bounty - Charles Nordhoff & James Norman Hall
2. The Princess Bride - William Goldman
3. A Pair of Blue Eyes - Thomas Hardy
4. Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë
5. On the Beach - Nevil Shute
6. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
7. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
8. Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
9. The Cider House Rules - John Irving
10. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas - John Boyne

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

Winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year Award
Guardian Children's Fiction Prize
South Bank Show Book Award
longlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Why did I choose this book?
It was recommended to my by a neighbour. He told me what it was about. And because I know some children with autism, I was intrigued.

About the author:
Mark Haddon (1962) is a very versitile person. He is an author of both adult and childrens books and poetry, illustrator and screenwriter. As a young man he has worked with autistic people.

The Story:
Christopher, a boy with Asperger's syndrome, finds his neighbours dog lying dead in the garden. It has been killed with a garden fork. Christopher tries to find out who has killed Wellington, but in the process he unearths some other nasty secrets which turn his whole world upside down and make him undertake the most terifying journey of his life.

One of those books that you just can't put down. I finished it in one day! This book really shows you what the world looks like when you look at it through the eyes of someone with autism. How confusing life is for someone who cannot distinguish the important bits from all the background noise, like 'normal' people do. What a scary place the world must be! And then a dog gets killed and there is family trouble, and Christopher has to make the most terifying journey of his lifetime; from Swindon to London, on his own. Christopher is a lovely boy who just does not understand the world he is living in, and in return is not understood by the world. This book will definitly help me to better understand the children with autism I know.



Change in plans: I've decided not to read The Virgin in the Garden for my abc challenge. I've started reading it a few times now, but I just can't get into it. So I'll have to find another B book. But first I'm going to finish some other books from my TBR list. I've started in Beowulf last night. It's quite difficult, but I'm sure I can finish it, if just because it is only about 75 pages. And I'm going to get started on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Original title: La Sombra del Viento
translation: Lucia Graves

Why did I choose this book?
It's been on all the booklists for so long, has won so many prizes and has been translated into so many languages; it must be good. So I knew I had to read it sometime. But sometimes when a book is this popular I get a bit reluctant. I don't want to read what everybody else is reading, I want to read something special, something nobody else knows about. But in the end I succumb anyway!

About the author:
This book is written by the Spanish writer Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Barcelona, 25 September 1964). He has written three novels for young adults before this novel, which was published in more than 40 countries and translated into more than 30 languages. It has won numerous awards.

The Story:
Daniel is taken to the Cemetary of Forgotten Books by his father. This is like an orphanage for all the books that nobody wants anymore. Daniel may pick one book and he chooses The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax. He is gripped by the story and wants to know more about the writer and any other books he has written. Then he finds out that over the years some mysterious person has been burning all the books by Julian Carax. His might be the last one left! With the help of Fermin he tries to unravel the mystery, layer by layer.

I loved it. It's as simple as that. The story sucked my right from the very first sentence. It is a book about literature, about love, mystery, tragedy, friendship, death and betrayal. The story is great, and you keep wondering what is going to happen next right till the very end. The characters are very divers, and you feel like you really get to know them. They seem like real persons.
What I really liked is how it tells about the passion for books. I loved the idea of a Cemetary of Forgotten Books. I would love to get lost in it!


New book

I've been to the library today to get some books for my daughter, but I just couldn't resist... So I've found the next book for my ABC-challenge; River Thieves by Michael Crummey. Never heard of either book or author, but the reviews on the back (one of them by Jeffrey Lent, author of In the Fall, which I liked a lot) sounded very promissing. It is about a struggle between the whites and the indians in Canada in the early 19th century.

Progress Report

I'm still reading The Shadow of the Wind. I'm about halfway through. It's a great book. I got hooked almost on page one. And I still have no idea where it's going! Which is always great in a book in my opinion. I hope I'll have a lot of reading time this week so I can finish it!

The Clerkenwell Tales - Peter Ackroyd

This story is situated in London in the 14th century. According to the introduction, the characters in this book are also to be found in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. But to my shame I have not yet read this book, although it has been sitting on the shelf for some years now. Maybe a good book to read for the letter C of my abc-challenge... Maybe.

Why did I choose this book?
I like historical novels. I mostely read books set in the time of Henry VIII or Elizabeth I. But this time I decided to go even further back in time. Looking at all the authors starting with A in the library, this book first struck me because of its cover with medieval type pictures on it. Then I read it was about 14th century London, about the King and the church and a conspiracy with large consequences, and I was sold.

About the autor:
Peter Ackroyd is an English writer born in 1949. He has always shown a great interest in London. He started his career as a writer of poetry, but later moved on to writing fiction. His book Chatterton was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1987. He has also written non-fiction books for both adults and children and has been involved in television documentaries for the BBC.

The Story:
A nun, who has been born illegitimately under the convent of Clerkenwell, starts having visions about the downfall of King Richard II and of fire and death in London.
Then the sect of the Lollards sets about to bring fire and explosions to religious sites in London. What they don't know is that they are used by another group that wants to bring about the downfall of King Richard II and put Henry Bolingbroke on the throne.

Each chapter, like in the Canterbury Tales, is told from the perspective of a different person. This is a nice idea, although it does make things a bit complicated to follow, especially in the first few chapters.
I never really got into the story. All the time I was thinking; "when is it going to start?" Even when I was in the last few chapters. Some chapters were really good, making you think; this is it. But then the next chapter would be about something completely different and I would be thinking; "what has this got to do with the story?" There were a lot of characters, and it was hard to see the connection between some of them.
The story itself was rather complicated itself with one secret group of people infiltrating another secret group of people. The goal of the Lollards was rather obvious; to damage the Roman Catholic Church. But the goal of the other group was a bit confusing. They wanted to help Henry to the throne, but that seemed to be happening anyway. Richard has already abdicated before the plot is finished, so why go through all the trouble and risk of using the Lollards? I still don't understand.
What I did like about the book is that it paints a very good picture of medieval life. You can almost hear the sounds and smell the smells! There is a lot of detail about medieval costums; how people dressed, what medicines they used, how their churches were used, the way justice was served, etc. Which is nice, but at the same time diverts the attention from the main story.


Yahoo! Groups

I'm a member of two book related Yahoo! Groups. I'm not a very active member, but I do try to read as many books as possible from their schedules, and I try to influence their schedule by nominating books and voting in the polls. I follow the debates about the books that I've read myself, and sometimes I join in.

First there is BookiesToo with about 1000 members, and a schedule of two books per month. And the other is Bookworms_Reading_Group with about 3000 members, which reads one book a month.


I've added some lists with the books I've read in the past two years. These are only the books that I actually finished. It does not happen very often, but sometimes I start a book and I dislike it so much that I do not finish it. This happens about once or twice a year I think. The books in these lists are also in my LibraryThing catalog, which you can enter by clicking on the my library link just above the book covers. Or you can click the LibraryThing 'chiclet' (that's the little red and black icon with LibraryThing on it).


I've chosen the first two books for my abc-challenge; The Clerkenwell Tales by Peter Ackroyd, and The Virgin in the Garden by A.S. Byatt. I just went to the library and chose two books that looked/sounded good. Both writers are completely unknown to me. I've never even heard about them, let alone read anything they've written.

I've started reading the first book last night, and it looks promising. It is a medieval adventure set in London.

First post

This blog is about books. I love reading books, and hardly a day goes by in which I do not read, even if it is only one page.

Since November 2005 I've been adding the books that I've read to my LibraryThing catalog. This is a great way of keeping track of the books you've been reading. I've made the choice not to add all the books that I own, but just the books that I've read in since November 2005. Only thing is I would like to add more information about the books and I can't in LibraryThing. That is why I'm starting this blog. The idea is to write a little something about every book I've read. And add some more book related information when and where I want to.

I'm also a memeber of BookCrossing. There I read about the so-called abc-challenge; read 26 books from authors that you've not read before, with names starting with each letter of the alphabet. The idea is to do this within a year. I'm not sure I can do that, but I am going to start my own abc-challenge. The extra challenge I put myself is to do it in alphabetical order. So I'm going to start with the A and end with the Z. I will keep you posted about how it's developing here!

I've also thought about doing a numbers-challenge; read a book with a number in the title. I'm not sure if it is possible to find books with each number, but I'm going to try. First one: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?