April & May Wrap-Up

I’ve done fairly well with the amount of books I’ve read in April and May. I’ve read a total of 13 books. Which puts the total amount of books I’ve read this year at 29. According to Goodreads, I’m a couple books ahead of my reading goal of 52. So, all in all I’m pretty positive.

40698April

  1. Die Therapie by Sebastian Fitzek – 5 stars!
  2. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – 5 stars!
  3. Leven na Haley by Jonathan Tropper – 3 stars
  4. The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella – 3 stars
  5. We should all be feminists by Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi – 5 stars!
  6. Haantjes by Kluun – 3 stars
  7. 23301805Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – 4 stars

May

  1. Der Totenleser by Michael Tsokos – 3 stars
  2. Ach wär’ ich nur zu Hause geblieben by Kerstin Gier – 3 stars
  3. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – 4 stars
  4. Vuur over Land by Margaret Mitchell – 4 stars
  5. 2250365Mind Games by Teri Terry – 3 stars
  6. Lügen, die von Herzen kommen by Kerstin Gier – 5 stars!

What did you read this month?

“If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it.”

I’ve heard this a lot. Or maybe, read this a lot would be more accurate. Whenever someone has something negative to say about a book they’ve read, this is the go-to response: “You didn’t have to read it.”, “No one forced you to read it.” Or anything along those lines. It annoys me. A. Lot.

I get it, sure. You loved the book and you don’t like it that this other person didn’t. There’s just a small problem with this idea of not reading a book if you don’t like it: how are going to know you won’t like it if you don’t actually read the book first? Yep, you have to go through the experience of not liking a book, before you can draw the conclusion you didn’t like it.

So, any things you’ve read or heard about book reading and reviewing that just irks you? Let me know in the comments.

4th of May – Dodenherdenking

The fourth of May isn’t just Star Wars Day. In fact, I didn’t even know it was Star Wars Day until about two years ago. I’ve never watched the movies. It’s not my thing.

The fourth of May for me and every other Dutch person, means Remembrance Day. On the fourth of May, all victims of the Second World War are remembered. More recently 48855(2011), this has been expanded to include “all Dutch victims – civilians and soldiers – who have been killed or murdered in the Kingdom of the Netherlands or anywhere else in the world in war situations or during peace-keeping operations since the outbreak of  the Second World War.”

A national remembrance ceremony is aired on radio, television and the Internet, so everyone can follow it. There are of course also local remembrance ceremonies. The part that stands out most for me, is the two minutes of silence. The whole country is silent for two minutes. This includes train stations and airports. People who are on their way (only if it cannot be avoided), will pull over to the side of the road. During these two minutes, nothing happens in the Netherlands.

I think it’s important to remember this. To remember that a long time ago, the whole world was at war, which caused millions of lives. Personally, I also find it important to 39999remember that there are still a lot of people who live in a war-torn country and how lucky I am, that I do not.

So maybe the next time you read a book where a real or fictional war is the setting or merely a plot device, remember how lucky you are for being safe and free.

Ps. On the fifth of May, we don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo, but instead we celebrate or freedom!

Book review: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly (possible spoilers)

 Book review | Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly | 3 stars

Lost in a Book  by Jennifer Donnelly

Copyright: Disney Enterprises Inc.
Paper Rocket 2017
ISBN 978 1 4748 8387 0

Synopsis

Hidden in the Beast’s library, Belle is about to discover a mysterious book and visit a glittering new world. But everything is not as it seems. When the time comes, will Belle be able to find her way back home? Or will the story take hold of her – and never let her go?


Bullet-point review

★★★☆☆

+ new characters
+ nostalgia
+ scenes between Belle and the Beast

– writing felt off
– Belle’s naivete
– scenes ‘in the book’


Full Review

There may be spoilers in this review. I’ll do my best to avoid them mostly. Unfortunately, most of the book was so predictable, that those spoilers shouldn’t really surprise you.

Yes, I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. Firstly, the writing was off, felt off. It didn’t really seem like Belle to me. There was a certain je ne sais quoi, that put me off of the writing. I felt that too many details were being put forward, while at the same time the descriptions weren’t rich enough. I can’t explain it, but I didn’t like it.

Another bothersome part was Belle’s naivete. After everything, finding a castle with a beast and talking objects, and reading so many books, how could she have missed all the signs that she shouldn’t be going into a book to escape her life? Obviously, she knew something was wrong about it, because she hid it. In my opinion, she questioned it too little.

My favorite parts were therefore not the new parts where Belle steps into the book. Instead, I really loved her interactions with the beast. Yes, we should probably call that nostalgia, but what the heck. Those were the parts I loved.

Furthermore, I did quite like the addition of the characters Love and Death.


Read January-March 2017

It’s been a while since I actually wrote anything about the books I read, so it’s about time. At the time of writing, I’ve read a total of 14 books. Most I’ve actually enjoyed quite a bit, but there’s not very many that I decided to keep, because certain books you can really only read once. Once you know the plot, it doesn’t get better with rereads.

Anyway, without further ado, here are the books I read:

January

10246718Deadline by Mira Grant –  the second book in the Newsflesh Trilogy. As you know, if you read my review, I absolutely loved the Newsflesh Trilogy. So, this is one of the books I kept around for a possible reread.


34332514De Oceaan aan het Einde van het Pad (original title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane) by Neil Gaiman – this was a pretty good read, although it’s just not really the kind of book I enjoy very much.I prefer my books a little more straightforward.


2282658Het Gulden Vlies van Thule by Thea Beckman – the third book in the Toekomst Trilogie (Furture Trilogie). I really liked this one, though not as much as the first book in the trilogy. Somehow, that’s still the best one.


16829889The Farm by Emily McKay – I thought the story itself was really interesting. The writing however didn’t really appeal to me. I feel like there should probably be a continuation of this somewhere, but since I didn’t want to continue reading it anyway, I decided I should just move on.


Animal FarmAnimal Farm by George Orwell – This was my first time ever reading Animal Farm and I can only just recommend it. It is weirdly appropriate again in today’s world. Absolutely a great read!


February

19148162Dem Tod auf der Spur by Michael Tsokos – a collection of short true stories. Michael Tsokos is a medical examiner and has seen a great number of dead bodies come across his examination tables. He describes a couple of these cases in this book. I thought it was absolutely fascinating. The truth can be so strange!


11806716Blackout by Mira Grant – the last book in the Newsflesh Trilogy. Loved it!


FEM – Freiheitseinschränkende Maßnahmen by Jutta König – a book a read for work, mostly at work. It deals with measures that restrict the freedoms of patients. Very interesting.


1256933In Defence of English Cooking by George Orwell – it includes several of Orwell’s essays on freedom of speech. Again, something that is still relevant today, as these rights seems to be getting restricted again.


16204365The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick – I did not finish reading this book, I stopped and got rid of it. The premise sounds absolutely amazing and fascinating. However, the writing style is terrible. Well, it did not meet my personal preferences. I did not get further than about 20 pages in.


Das Autogene Training by Abbas Schirmohammadi – another book I got and read for work. It’s a relaxation technique that’s been proven very effective. In psychology, conscious relaxation should not be underestimated.


March

31176886The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer – something completely different from what we’ve read so far by Meyer. However, besides the one huge cliche (you’ll know if you’ve read it as well), it actually a great book with a kick-ass female main character.


Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a BookLost in a Book by Jennifer Donnely – A Beauty and the Beast story. However, I wasn’t impressed. I’m still planning on writing a full review, but the thing that bothered me most was how dumb Belle was. In the movies, as in the original story, she’s definitely smarter than that.


25378382Das Joshua Profil by Sebastian Fitzek – one of my favorite German writers of the moment. This is a psychological thriller. What would happen if crimes could be predicted? I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, but since I now know the plot, I won’t be able to read it again. Luckily, I’ve still got more of his books to go through.


Those are the books that I’ve read so far this year. How many books have you gotten through so far? Are any of the books I’ve read on your wishlist? Let me know in the comments!

Book Upcycling – Photo book

Last year, before my Scotland trip, I mentioned that I was going to track this trip by using a Harry Potter book. Since its author comes from Scotland, this seemed entirely appropriate. Also, do I really need an excuse to buy another HP book?

20170312_112049So, I bought the book and took it with me on the trip. Throughout the trip we wrote down what we had done that day and taped in some of the tickets we had gotten. Also, just about every restaurant we ate at and every bookshop I bought a book at, I asked if they would write a little something in the book. Nothing special, just a quick note. Everyone looked at me funny at first, but then still did it.

Now, the time has come that I can finally show you the results of all this, because I have finally had the time to have the pictures printed and have also finally taped them into the book. I was so taken with this, that this is exactly what I did with my trip to Berlin a couple of weeks ago. I found a book about Berlin at a flea market and went from there.

So, if you’re ever unsure how to record your holidays, and you love books. Perhaps this could be for you.

Tips for Starting to Read for Fun

Tips for beginner readers

It’s not easy to start reading, so what can you do to get started? Here are some of my tips. There’s no science to this, just personal experience.

  1. Start with easy to read books

    No, these don’t have to be children’t books. However, starting off with Chaucer or Jane Austen would be a bridge too far. Find a book that’s easy to read and easy to understand, so you can enjoy the experience and not constantly find yourself stressed out, because you don’t know what’s going on.

     

  2. Find a theme/topic you like

    Ask around if anyone knows books about certain themes or topics that interest you. There must be something out there! If you can’t think of anything you like, go through your recently watched Netflix shows and movies and go from there. Lots of tv shows and movies are based on books. Though watching the show and reading the book at the same time might complicate things a bit, as they’re never exactly the same.

  3. Make it part of your routine.

    If you make something part of your routine, it makes it easier tto do. My boyfriend didn’t like reading too much, but then we started to read before bed. (It would help me sleep, which in turn meant he could sleep, because I wouldn’t be keeping him awake). At times, he didn’t want to put his book down, because he wanted to know what happens next.

  4. Test the book.

    Read the first few chapters of a book. The first two or three will usually do. If the book still doesn’t appeal to you, there’s no reason to keep reading it. Put it away and pick up a new one.

  5. Library/thrift shop

    If you want to try reading (more), but don’t have the money to spend on new books, try a library card, go to a trift store, or look in Facebook groups for people giving books away. You might just find something you like for a whole lot cheaper than full price. Especially libraries are amazing, because you can find just about any book there!

These are the first things I would recommend for something wanting to read more. Of course, if someone would ask me, I would also immediately recommend certain books. Do you have any more tips? Let me know in the comments below!