Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Personal talk: moving back to my parents

I wasn't sure if I should post this here, but since this blog is my personal place where I want to be able to talk about anything that's on my mind (even though, let's be fair, that's books most of the time). Currently, that is the fact that I can't afford living on my own anymore and have to move back to my parents for some time, to save up.

Money troubles
At the start of college, I moved into an appartment with my two friends from college. It was the ultimate dream come true: living with your friends, having movie nights with brownies, going out together, all of that. And it wás great, but after two years of living the life I wanted to get serious again. The newness of living in the big city has kind of worn off and even though I still love it, it is not worth the enourmous money troubles for me anymore: everyday, I have to stress about what I can and can't afford, and everyday, I see my savings account shrink. Last year, I also met my boyfriend. This means that I spend a lot of time at his place, too. This made me feel guilty: I was paying this big sum of rent every month without even spending that much time at my place. In addition to that, the stories are true: you DO spend more when you have a boyfriend. Even though he is very generous with me, I can't help wanting to spend money on romantic evenings with sushi, or some nice red wine, or movie tickets. I guess this is a familiar problem. Anyway, the bottom line of this story is that I'm spending more than ever, while feeling less happy with my place. I need a moment to save up, evaluate my money-decisions.

The only thing that I'm scared about is missing out: I won't live close to my college friends, I won't be able to bike to places and do spontaneous things (my parents live in the middle of nowhere), and I might not even able to do an internship in the city, because the travelling will be too much. That is why this is a very difficult decision for me, and we'll have to see how this all works out.

But the most positive thing about all this is: I will be able to buy books again! Without feeling guilty! Can't wait.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Review: The secret history by Donna Tartt

This review is long overdue - I've finished The secret history a week ago and the euforic feeling I had after finishing it is already fading. I've been so busy with my thesis and a midterm, that I didn't get a chance to write about this magnificent (because that it is) book.

Seeing this book around, I was always really intimidated by it. It was huge, Donna Tartt's other books were also huge, everything about them screamed 'difficult to read' and 'literature'. But I was nonetheless intruiged. If so many people loved it, it must be a pretty amazing read. So when I saw it in Foyles, London, I could not help to pick it up.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

The ultimate life TBR

Hey guysss. I created this 'master-list' of books I feel like are books that are either really good, talked about a lot, considered classic, etc. Basically all of them have a reason for me why I just want to read them at least once at some point in my life. I mostly based this on the BBC's The Big Read list (which is about the same idea). I've added some books that I felt should be on there, too. So keep in mind that might be just my personal opinion. If you think some books are missing, please let me know.

Anyway, the plan is that I want to have read every book on this list at some point in my life, so this is just a personal place for me to keep track of that. If anyone is interested in this, you can also find the reviews on particular books on this page here. Read on to see the list!


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

This book received so much praise and hype, but when I finished it, I felt rather weird and unsatisfied about it. I did not like it, but did not completely dislike it either. Let's start with some strong points of this book. First of all, and many people have said this before, the writing. It's poetic, it's dreamy, it's beautiful. Also, the story is original. I've never read about goblins or books in which the main character is obsessed with music. Apparently, the story is based on The labyrinth, which (or so I've read, I don't know anything about the story) is also a good thing. So far, so good. But then again, there were also many things wrong with this book.

London trip & book haul

I went to London, for the first time ever (also my first time in the UK, for that matter). The Netherlands aren't that far away from the UK, so it's actually pretty strange that I've never been. But in the end I was pretty happy that I went only now, because now I love literature way more than I used to, and what better place to go as a literature lover than England? Before I went I did some research on bookstores I wanted to see, so I was quite excited. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Review: De edele kunst van not giving a f*ck van Mark Manson

Disclaimer: this post is in Dutch as I received a Dutch review copy from a Dutch publisher.
Originele titel: The subtle art of not giving a fuck
Uitgever: AW Bruna Uitgevers

Mijn moeder leest honderden zelfhulpboeken over dingen als 'mindfulness' en meer van dat zweverige gedoe. Wij (mijn vader, zussen en ik) moeten daar altijd een beetje om lachen. Prima dat ze dat leest, maar we krijgen dan vervolgens wel de hele dag dingen te horen als 'ik heb gelezen dat...' en 'wist je dat...' Om eerlijk te zijn, kan het mij allemaal weinig schelen en geloof ik er allemaal niet zo in. Mark Manson blijkbaar ook niet, vandaar deze titel. Want het enige wat je helpt in het leven, is not giving a fuck.

In het begin van het boek ligt de nadruk hier ook heel erg op - Manson legt dat uit dat op het moment je stopt met een fuck te geven, het succes zal komen (hij bewijst dit met een anekdote over de schrijver Bukowski, die op zijn graf Don't try heeft staan). De consumentencultuur en social media leren ons een fuck te geven om spullen en oppervlakkige dingen. Hij brengt dit vaak op een humoristische manier.

"Kijk maar eens naar je Facebook-feed. Iedereen lijkt daar een fantastisch leven te hebben. Kijk, deze week zijn er acht mensen getrouwd! En een zestienjarige meid heeft een Ferrari gekregen voor haar verjaardag. En een of andere whizzkid heeft 2 miljard binnengehaald met een app waarmee automatisch je toiletpapier wordt aangevuld als het op is. Intussen zit jij thuis het gebit van je kat te flossen."


Friday, April 21, 2017

I'm writing my thesis about YA

Only two months away from graduation, I too have to write the feared thesis. Even though it will probably be tough anyway, why not make it a bit more fun for myself and write about something I actually love? Books, of course. The overarching theme our program gave me is 'global entertainment flows', which, after some brainstorming, brought me to the following topic: YA books on the Dutch market. Because something curious is going on there. Nearly every succesful YA book is a translation. There's hardly any succesful Dutch YA authors. How come?

Well, that's the question I'm going to try to answer in my thesis. Not only the reason behind it, but also the effect it might have on readers and Dutch authors. Because the question is, is there truly a lack of Dutch authors within this genre, or do they simply not get a chance because of the dominance of Anglo-American authors within this field? I have to say, I'm quite curious what my findings will be! I'm going to try to interview some publishers and marketers, as well as some readers of YA and I will hopefully get some views, ideas and answers on the topic. I'll keep you updated!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Review: Sapiens - a brief history of humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

I DID IT! I finished this book! It took me exactly *checks goodreads* 1 week and 6 days. I have no idea why this took me so long, but this book almost dragged me into a reading slump. While it wasn't even bad. My main issue was that I had very different expectations about what this book was going to be about - which isn't the fault of the book. Anyway, let's just dive into my thoughts about everything.

First of all, I was under the assumption that this book discussed the prehistoric humans throughout the book, however, this book is exactly what it promises to be: a brief history of humankind (smart thinking, I know. Don't judge me). The prehistoric part took exactly 83 pages until the author moved on to the agricultural revolution, and I was quite disappointed. I was just most interested to learn about the early homo sapiens, neanderthals, and so on. Because that's the stuff that usually isn't discussed very elaborately in high school. But, only 83 pages.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Sometimes you read a book that just messes with your head and does that even days after you finish it - this book definitely did that with me. This was a wild ride from start to finish!

First of all, I'd like to clear up that the premise of this book does not accurately describe what this book is about. It describes it more as a psychological read that asks the question: if you could have the perfect life you've always dreamed of, would you take it, even if it would mean giving everything up in the life you have? At least, that's what I thought I was in for when picking this up and was pretty excited about it, too. However, this book contains less psychological rambling and more action, drama and excitement. Can't say I was disappointed about that, though. It was amazing and so well done.

This book contains less psychological rambling and more action, drama and excitement

In short, this is what the book is about: the main character, Jason, gets abducted, drugged, and wakes up in a completely different life where everyone seems to know him but he doesn't know anyone. He tries to keep up appearances (because what will happen the minute these people discover he's not who they think he is?), while also figuring out where he is, how he got there, and how to get back to his wife and son. This turns out to be quite difficult, as he tries to reveal the secrets of a scientific discovery that will be able to bring him back to his own life.

This is one of those books you shouldn't know too much about when you pick it up. Just know that it's fast-paced, exciting, emotional, scary in a scientific way, and makes you think. All ingredients for a gripping, mind-blowing read. Definitely pick this up if you're in a reading slump and want to read something that doesn't take long to get into. I read this in (almost, because work and stuff ya know) one sitting and it was WILD. The writing was perfect for this read - only some scientific explanations and passages were too boring (I'm sorry) for me and I skipped those. They weren't very necessary to understand the story, anyway. Other fun things: this book contains a plottwist (who doesn't love a good plottwist), a very identifiable main character, and overall a very interesting and original plot. All in all: what are you waiting for?

I gave this book 5/5 stars.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

March book haul (update)

Remember those few books I was still expecting in my mail? Where, here they are! Read on to see what these books are about.