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BAFAB book: La petite fille de Monsieur Linh

Books I’ve read this year… (2008)
Een plaats voor wilde bessen (Jagodnye mesta / Wild Berries), Jevgeni Jevtoesjenko (ring)
The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing (challenge book) reading along with online experiment!
De jacht op het verloren schaap (Hitsuji o meguru bōken / A Wild Sheep Chase), Haruki Murakami
Obasan, Joy Kogawa
Isaac Israels in het ziekenhuis, Merel van den Nieuwenhof
Meneer Pip (Mister Pip), Lloyd Jones (ring)
Let Them Call It Jazz, Jean Rhys
Het kleine meisje van meneer Linh (La petite fille de monsieur Linh), Philippe Claudel
The Teahouse Fire, Ellis Avery
De liefde tussen mens en kat, W.F. Hermans
Na de aardbeving (Kami no kodomotachi wa mina odoru / After the Quake), Haruki Murakami (re-reading)
Ik heet Karmozijn (Benim adim kirmizi / My name is red), Orhan Pamuk
Met de kat naar bed (Travels with my cat), Mike Resnick
Jennie, Paul Gallico
Anna Boom, Judith Koelemeijer
Possession, A.S. Byatt (challenge book)
The gathering, Anne Enright
The amazing adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (challenge book)
Het vergeten seizoen, Peter Delpeut
Kermis van koophandel: de Amsterdamse wereldtentoonstelling van 1883, Ileen Montijn (non-fiction)
I haven’t dreamed of flying for a while, Taichi Yamada
The truth about food, Jill Fullerton-Smith (non-fiction)
Pnin, Vladimir Nabokov (challenge book)
New York Trilogy, Paul Auster (challenge book)
Migraine voor Dummies (non-fiction)
The bone vault, Linda Fairstein
In Patagonië, Bruce Chatwin (challenge book)
De thuiskomst, Anna Enquist
Dagboek van een poes, Remco Campert
On Chesil Beach, Ian McEwan

I sent one of this year’s favourites to my dear friend Loes for BAFAB week = Buy A Friend A Book. It’s Phillippe Claudel’s Het kleine meisje van meneer Linh (La petite fille de monsieur Linh), shown in the picture above. If you haven’t read it yet, you need to — now!

Personal challenges for 2008
ETA: prolonged into 2009, 2010
Read 12 books of 13 of the longlist of the Dutch election for Best Foreign Book that were already on my wishlist:

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
✔ The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon
Possession by A.S. Byatt
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
✔ New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
The Sea, the sea by Iris Murdoch
In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
✔ Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Chosen by Chaim Potok

With 6 books read in 2008 I’m right on track :)

I also had my own Bookcrossing museum challenge: I visiting 6 exhibits in 2008/2009 and releasing appropriate books. Those exhibitions were not random but followed a lecture course I took. I posted about them in Gnoe’s Museumlog (sorry, it’s in Dutch).

Special rings and challenges I participated in this year…
Special rings & rays
De Aziatische boekendoos

The SIY (Set It Yourself) Challenge, 3rd edition. Ibis3 made us a nice challenge page on which you can see that I completed my mission in time!
The SIY (Set It Yourself) Challenge, 6th edition. The challenge page will tell you that I succeeded again!

Bookcrossing Four Seasons Release Challenge with a total of 14 books:

  • 3 books in spring
  • 3 books in summer
  • 2 books in autumn
  • 6 books in winter

Last but not least…

Find my releases on Gnoe’s Bookcrossing Releases map!


I really have to get away from this computer and do some serious reading! I had planned to join the The Golden Notebook Readalong Project that started yesterday, but I haven’t finished my current book yet (Hitsuji o meguru bōken, or: A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami). I don’t seem to get as much reading done as I used to these days :(

The Golden Notebook (by Doris Lessing, of course) was an important feminist book in its day, and I guess that’s how it came on my wishlist ‘to be read someday’. But I haven’t really felt like it up until now (and I still don’t to be honest). I’m afraid it will be difficult or boring… So I made it part of my personal 2008-2009 reading challenge. In the ‘readalong project’ seven female writers will read The Golden Notebook for the first time and blog about it. People like me can have their say on the forum. (Oops, that will get me behind the computer again ;) Well, I should at least try to read this golden oldie from a writer that won last year’s Nobel Prize in Literature!

I am very grateful to Deepswamp from Sweden who made my challenge possible by sending me a bookcrossing copy of The Golden Notebook.

I promised to write about my 2008 reading challenge. I’ll do it in English because I want this post to be available to international readers.

My challenge is to read 12 of 13 titles from the longlist of the Dutch election for Best Foreign Book that were already on my wishlist. So I will choose twelve books out of the next listing:

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon read in 2008
The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon

Possession by A.S. Byatt read in 2008
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro read in 2009
New York Trilogy by Paul Auster read in 2008
The Sea, the sea by Iris Murdoch
In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin read in 2008
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing read in 2008
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee read in 2009
Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov read in 2008
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck read in 2009

The Chosen by Chaim Potok

Up until now I’ve read three of them and handling the fourth so I’m not reaching my target of one book a month ;) But I’ll be updating this post along the way.

For four successive years now I have given myself a reading challenge. It usually just presents itself to me somewhere in the first few months :)

2005 really had three challenges: first to read a book from each decade from 1900 until ‘now’. In that one I succeeded :)

1900-1909: Van oude mensen, de dingen, die voorbijgaan… by Louis Couperus (1906)
1910-1919: Dichtertje by Nescio (1917)
1920-1929: The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder (1927)
1930-1939: Scoop by Evelyn Waugh (1938)
1940-1949: Eens was ik een mens (Se questo è un uomo) by Primo Levi (1947)
1950-1959: Het stenen bruidsbed by Harry Mulisch (1959)
1960-1969: De verzamelaar (The collector) by John Fowles (1963)
1970-1979: Vanonder de koperen ploert by Hans Vervoort (1975)
1980-1989: Strangers by Taichi Yamada (1987)
1990-1999: The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama (1995)
2000-2009: Saturday by Ian McEwan (2005)

Secondly I wanted to read a total of 15,000 pages in 2005… I failed that! :-o At 14,767 I was just a few pages short. Thankfully I did accomplish my third mission to finish all Bookcrossing books on Mount TBR (To Be Read).

In 2006 I read 10 books with the numbers 0-9 in their titles:
0 – Less than zero by Bret Easton Ellis
1 – One flew over the cuckoo’s nest by Ken Kesey
2 – The man who cast two shadows by Carol O’Connell
3 – Driedaagse reis (Three day road) by Joseph Boyden / The third man by Graham Greene
4 – The fourth hand by John Irving
5 – Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
6 – Studio Zes (Studio Sex) by Liza Marklund
7 – Seven up by Janet Evanovich
8 – Eight cousins by Louisa May Alcott
9 – The ninth life of Louis Drax by Liz Jensen

And in 2007 I managed to read all books on the Best Dutch Book shortlist that I hadn’t already read before starting the challenge. Look at this earlier post about which books I’m talking. All Dutch titles of course…

This post will be edited later on to add cover pics…


Yesterday we visited the 7th edition of the Parool Oscar Weekend and it was great!

Our first feature was also the best of the day: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Two and a half hours of real cinema. Don’t wait for it to be shown on television because it needs the big screen. With a moving role of Casey Affleck as ‘the coward’ – he should have won that Academy Award for Best Supporting Male Actor! Was he really a coward? And was it murder? (And does Affleck really have a speech-impediment?)

What followed such a success could only be a disappointment. Well, we didn’t expect a lot of Sean Penn’s Into the Wild anyway. It’s a bit too long for my taste (while it’s shorter than The Assassination) and could have done with less road-movie flashbacks. I also don’t believe Chris McCandless (aka ‘Supertramp’) was the one-dimensional lovely son-in-law Penn wants us to believe he was. It seems he made the story better than truth anyway. But it should be said: the feel of the movie kept lingering on a long time after-wards.

Michael Clayton is an intelligent, entertaining thriller which I liked a lot. You can’t go wrong with this solid Clooney movie that’s something between Erin Brokovich and The Firm. It’s a pity it didn’t get the attention it deserved in Holland: it was shown only shortly in the theaters.

The Savages is less exciting but entertaining as well. Although I’m afraid that in a short while I will have forgotten what it is about… It did not make that much an impression! The story of two siblings who suddenly have to take care of their aging father has some fun, some tragic and some irritating moments.

Last but not least we got to see Juno. Not the great movie I expected it to be but a nice light (and not too long) ending of our fun day at the movies. I will definitely try to go again next year!

Yes, I'm still here ;) I have just been a little busy so I didn't get to any blogging. I will try and make up for it!

Last weekend E, my sister in law and I went to the IFFRiG: the International Film Festival Rotterdam… but then in Groningen! I've been a regular of the festival since the eighties but stopped going a few years ago when it got too big and crowded. It's no fun hanging on the phone for hours to make reservations, not being able to get the tickets you want and then having to wait in line for some more hours to pick up your reservations. Yes, of course you can order tickets on-line for some years now, but that has been a very problematic experience as well. And then I'm not even talking yet about the queues for food and toilets…

For a short while now the IFFR has been organizing a satellite festival in Groningen, mostly at just one theater: Images. So we decided to try that out – to a great success! We really enjoyed ourselves! Images is quite a comfortable theater, there was no need to queue if you had to go the loo, just some ordinary waiting to get your drinks and all movies started in time. We will definitely do this again!

But of course you would like to know which movies we went to and how I liked them. My apologies: for now you will only be able to find that out if you can read Dutch…

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Mio fratello è figlio unico ('Mijn broer is enig kind')
Deze film werd geschreven door scenaristen van het succesvolle La meglio gioventù: regisseur Daniele Luchetti en Stefano Rulli. Mio fratello è figlio unico gaat over twee broers uit een Italiaans arbeidersgezin in de jaren zestig, die lijnrecht tegenover elkaar staan wat betreft politieke overtuiging: de macho Manrico is aangesloten bij de communistische partij, de zachtaardige Accio bij de fascistische. Frappant genoeg ging mijn sympathie vanaf het begin uit naar de jongere Accio, meestal 'etter' genoemd.

Het was wel een goede film maar niet een echte aanrader. Na een gestaag uitspinnen van de problemen (en liefde) binnen het gezin, komt het eind er nogal snel (en niet geheel geloofwaardig) achteraan. Alsof de makers hun verhaal al hadden verteld en de afronding minder belangrijk vonden.

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De volgende film vonden we de minste van de vier. In Andalucia van Alain Gomis is een dertiger van Algerijnse afkomst in Parijs op zoek naar innerlijke rust. Hij wil alleen tijdelijke baantjes, niets vast -hoe graag werkgevers hem ook willen aannemen- en ontdekt op die wijze de nachtwereld van de grote stad. Hoewel het dan donker is, blijkt die wereld niet minder kleurrijk dan overdag.

Van de 2 bezoekers naast ons was er één in slaap gevallen en de ander riep vol onbegrip “Jezus!” toen de voortelling was afgelopen… Duidelijk niet eerder een heus filmfestival meegemaakt ;) Andalucia is zo'n film waarmee 'wat wordt bedoeld'. Dat ligt er duimendik bovenop maar tegelijkertijd wordt je helaas niet gemotiveerd om hierover na te denken. 'De ware heiligen en genieën van onze wereld bevinden zich onder de outcasts', of iets dergelijks van die strekking zal het wel zijn. De hoofdrol werd overigens wel goed gespeeld door Samir Guesmi.

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Sztuczki ('Tricks')
De derde film die we zagen vond ik de beste van alle vier. Tricks, van Andrzej Jakimowski, gaat over Stefek en zijn oudere zus Elka die met hun moeder in een klein Pools stadje wonen. Moeder werkt in een kruidenierswinkel, vader is ooit vertrokken met een andere vrouw, en grote zus is degene die zich het meest bezighoudt met Stefek – en probeert een goede baan te krijgen door Italiaans te leren. Stefek kijkt tegen zijn zus op, van wie hij denkt dat ze het geluk kan afdwingen; dat ze de werkelijkheid positief kan beïnvloeden met haar 'tricks'. Maar ze is gewoon slimme meid :) Intussen probeert hij deze kunst ook te leren – vooral met de bedoeling hun vader weer thuis te krijgen (waar wij het niet mee eens zijn ;)

De regisseur werd op verschillende plaatsen bestempeld als de nieuwe Kieslowski (waarschijnlijk vanwege de zwerver die op belangrijke momenten opdook zoals de Jezus-figuur in de Dekalogen), of de hedendaagse Tarkovski. Dáár ben ik het niet mee eens, maar het is zonder meer een warme, sympathieke film. En het is dus zeker typisch dat hij op dit moment nog niet eens wordt besproken op de website van!

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Dainipponjin ('Grote Japanner')
De laatste film die we zagen (en die om 0:00 begon) sprong er het meeste uit. Dainipponjin is een absurde fake-documentaire over een Japanse man die in een superheld verandert wanneer hij wordt geëlektrocuteerd; zoals zijn vader en grootvader vóór hem. De regering roept zijn hulp in als er weer eens een vreemd monster moet worden bestreden en heel de bevolking kan het gevecht dan volgen op tv. Helaas is men tegenwoordig nogal blasé qua superhelden en Dainipponjin is dan ook niet erg populair meer. Met andere woorden: die man heeft het moeilijk ;) Het einde is volledig over the top en ik heb in geen tijden zo'n film gezien. Een leuke ervaring dus :)


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