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Sunday Salon logoThe Sunday Salon is a virtual gathering of booklovers on the web, blogging about bookish things, visiting participating weblogs, and oh — reading books of course ;)

For 2015 I chose to set a goal on Goodreads. 2013-2014 had been slow book-wise, reading no more than 16 resp. 18 volumes. I was too embarrassed frustrated to even post the lists! ;) That’s why a target of 20 seemed a bit of a challenge for 2015, but doable.

<insert drumroll please…> YAY! I surpassed my goal by 9!!! Making a total of 29 (listed further on), whisping me back to the level of 2012. #happydance

For 2016 I won’t be aiming at a certain amount of books. Rather I’d be reinforcing the habit of reading more regularly. Once I’ve figured out the details I’ll share them.

BOTNS Book Bingo

BOTNS_bingo2015What helped keep me motivated the past year was the Books on the Nightstand Summer Book Bingo. I generated a card and though I didn’t really pick my books according to the squares, it was fun checking where a read would fit and crossing it of. My friend Muizz was also playing, which made it even more fun. You should’ve heard me scream “BINGO!” once I got a full row completed! *grin*

Books read in 2015

Listed from most recently to early 2015:

  • The Mutts Winter Diaries ~ Patrick McDonnell
  • Terug naar Oegstgeest ~ Jan Wolkers
  • The Fire Kimono (Sano Ichiro, #13) ~ Laura Joh Rowland
  • De fietser van Tsjernobyl / El ciclista de Chernóbil ~ Javier Sebastián
  • History of a Pleasure Seeker ~ Richard Mason
  • Hug Time ~ Patrick McDonnell
  • Gevallen God / A God in Ruins ~ Kate Atkinson
  • Legend of a Suicide ~ David Vann
  • Potifars vrouw ~ Sophie Zijlstra
  • The Children Act ~ Ian McEwan
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up ~ Marie Kondō
  • Globejotting: How to Write Extraordinary Travel Journals (and Still Have Time to Enjoy Your Trip!) ~ Dave Fox
  • The Buried Giant ~ Kazuo Ishiguro
  • De kat / 猫の客 / Neko no kyaku ~ Takashi Hiraide
  • Wachten op woensdag (Frieda Klein #3) / Waiting for Wednesday ~ Nicci French
  • Just One Evil Act (Inspector Lynley, #18) ~ Elizabeth George
  • Het boek van wonderlijke nieuwe dingen / The Book of Strange New Things ~ Michel Faber
  • Handleiding voor poetsvrouwen / A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories ~ Lucia Berlin
  • Geen gewoon Indisch meisje ~ Marion Bloem
  • Fox Evil ~ Minette Walters
  • Believing the Lie (Inspector Lynley, #17) ~ Elizabeth George
  • Housekeeping ~ Marilynne Robinson (audiobook)
  • Ik kom terug ~ Adriaan van Dis
  • Oorlog en terpentijn ~ Stefan Hertmans
  • Timothy’s Book: Notes of an English Country Tortoise ~ Verlyn Klinkenborg
  • The Rise & Fall of Great Powers ~ Tom Rachman
  • Maandagskinderen / Synir Duftsins ~ Arnaldur Indriðason
  • The Strange Library ~ Haruki Murakami
  • How to Be Both ~ Ali Smith (audiobook)

Some new or recent, some classics, some bulky — others slim, many Anglo authors, less Dutch and a few other nationalities, hardcore literature and non-fiction next to easier stuff like mysteries/thrillers. Being easy on myself I read English language books more often in Dutch translation than usual.

Have you read any of these books?

Read_in_2015

The Year of the Daves (aka Favourite Reads of 2015)

Cover Legend of a SuicideLooking back, the novel that left most of an impression is Legend of a Suicide by David Vann. It had been waiting patiently on my shelf for years — and didn’t disappoint! I don’t feel I’ve read anything like this collection before: gruesome, dreary, but touching at the same time. A rough diamant.

Cover Globejotting The most fun I had with Globejotting, a manual for travel journal keeping. It has helped me a lot and I can’t wait to start over, doing all exercises.

Depending on time and inspiration I’ll write a follow-up about some other highlights of 2015. For now: curl up on the couch and have a cosy Sunday!

Sunday Salon logoThe Sunday Salon is a virtual gathering of booklovers on the web, blogging about bookish things of the past week, visiting each others weblogs, and oh — reading books of course ;)

I’ve called my yearly overview of books “The Pile of Books I Kicked Over..” once before, but this time the title fits even better. In 2011 I devoured a total of 38 books, which is nine more than I read in 2010!

Now how is that for a first post and Sunday Salon in 2012?

Of course I pledged to tackle eleven more books this year for the Books on the Nightstand +11 in ’11 Challenge, which would have brought my total up to the nice round number of 40. Well, there you have it: my first #FAIL. ;)

Looking over my list, it is not easy to pick an instant favourite. Although I liked most of the books I read, there aren’t many outstanding works worth mentioning. Although I gave three of them the max of 5 stars in Goodreads, concerning one I have a hard time remembering about what it was exactly…

Interlude: here I corrected myself thanks to the marvellous, but strict Dr Kermode who will not allow the word order of “what it was about.” A grammar lesson learnt in 2011. ;)

So, did I accept quantity over quality? No Ma’m, I did not. I could’ve easily picked two short novellas from my shelf when the end of 2011 was nigh. Like Murakami’s Sleep, for instance, T.S. Elliot’s Cats or Joost Zwagerman’s Duel. But just as I promised when I joined the BOTNS challenge, I did not bend my reading preferences according to book size.

Now quit digressing! Here are the books I read in 2011 in reversed chronological order. Other thoughts and statistics will follow later on.

Nina cat checking out our bookshelves

Nina, the Grande Dame who came to live with us this year, checking out our bookshelves

Books read in 2011

  • Kandy: een terugtocht (‘Kandy: a retreat‘), F. Springer
  • Vernon God Little, DBC Pierre
  • XY, Sandro Veronesi (Boekgrrls December read)
  • De duif en De erfenis van Maître Mussard, Patrick Süskind
  • Bandoeng-Bandung, F.Springer
  • Van het westelijk front geen nieuws (Im Westen nichts Neues / All Quiet on the Western Front), E.M. Remarque (November Boekgrrls read)
  • Season of the Rainbirds, Nadeem Aslam
  • Tinkers, Paul Harding
  • 1q84 (Boek een, twee & drie), Haruki Murakami (JLit Book Group November/December)
  • Modelvliegen, Marcel Möring
  • Thousand Cranes, Yasunari Kawabata (JLit Book Group August)
  • The Help, Kathryn Stockett (Boekgrrls August read)
  • Underground, Haruki Murakami
  • Dagboek van een Geisha (Memoirs of a Geisha), Arthur Golden
  • Witte oleander (White Oleander), Janet Fitch (bx copy)
  • Before I Go to Sleep, S.J. Watson
  • The Woman in the Dunes, Kobo Abe (JLit Book Group June)
  • Zeitoun, Dave Eggers (Boekgrrls June read; nonfiction)
  • Verraad, verleiding en verzoening: de rol van eten in speelfilms, Louise O. Fresco & Helen Westerik (nonfiction)
  • Travels in the Scriptorium, Paul Auster
  • The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim, Jonathan Coe (Boekgrrls May read)
  • Bento Box in the Heartland: My Japanese Girlhood in Whitebread America (a Food Memoir), Linda Furiya (nonfiction)
  • Crime School, Carol O’Connell
  • All She Was Worth, Miyuki Miyabe (Bookcrossing book ring)
  • Vegan Family Meals: Real Food for Everyone, Ann Gentry (cookbook; Netgalley e-book)
  • 2666, Roberto Bolaño (readalong)
  • La Dolce Vegan! Vegan Livin’ Made Easy, Sarah Kramer (cookbook)
  • In the Miso Soup, Ryu Murakami (JLit Book Group February)
  • Pinball, 1973, Haruki Murakami
  • Ik haal je op, ik neem je mee (Ti prendo e ti porto via / I’ll Steal You Away), Niccolò Ammaniti (Boekgrrls February read)
  • Geketende democratie: Japan achter de schermen (‘Democracy in chains: behind the scenes of Japan‘), Hans van der Lugt (nonfiction)
  • Sneeuwland (Yukiguni / Snowland), Yasunari Kawabata
  • Blacklands, Belinda Bauer (Boekgrrls Januari read)
  • Poelie de Verschrikkelijke (‘Poelie the Terrible‘), Frans Pointl
  • Hear the Wind Sing, Haruki Murakami
  • Kalme chaos (Caos Calmo), Sandro Veronesi (Boekgrrls December 2010 read)

Quite the list eh? And I also reread the beautiful short story Het geluid van een stoomfluit midden in de nacht (Yonaka no kiteki ni tsuite / ‘A Steam Whistle in the Middle of the Night‘) by Haruki Murakami.

Thoughts

The book(s) I enjoyed the most this year was Haruki Murakami’s 1q84 trilogy. Readers from the Japanese and English speaking hemispheres may wonder why I keep using a lower case ‘q’ (kyu) when referring to the author’s latest work, since it’s originally written as 1Q84. Well, the Dutch translators decided to use a small ‘q’, resembling the number ‘9’ much better!

Volumes 1,2 and 3 together are over 1350 pages thick but I read all three of them in just two weeks. Enough proof of how much I liked it. :) It’s a typical late Murakami of which story you should know nothing beforehand.

Cover 1q84 Book One (Haruki Murakami); Dutch version Cover 1q84 Book Two (Haruki Murakami); Dutch version Cover 1q84 Boek drie (Haruki Murakami)

Reading 1q84 I regularly had to think back to a work of non-fiction I read earlier this year: Underground, about the Tokyo gas attack. It’s amazing how delicate Murakami treats the subject, showing more about himself as a person than I ever saw, heard or read in interviews or previous books.

Cover Underground (Haruki Murakami)

A further special mention goes to another Japanese novel: The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe. A strange story calling up an eerie atmosphere; bordering on a grim fairy tale. The images easily reappear before my mind’s eye so I have no problems recalling what this classic is about. Oops, preposition at the end of my sentence again, apologies to Dr Kermode! ;)

Cover Woman in the Dunes, Kobo Abe

So it’s all Japanese favourites this year. Figures. ;) One of my intentions for 2012 is to read a little more OUT of my comfort zone. Another post will out-lay the rest of my reading plans for this year. *whispers* I haven’t really figured them out yet myself!

Luckily I also very much liked some non-JLit books like Sandro Veronesi’s XY (thought-provoking), Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front (compelling), Belinda Bauer’s Blacklands (thrilling) and Dave Eggers’ Zeitoun (shocking).

The biggest bone to tackle this year was 2666 BY FAR. It’s supposed to be a contemporary classic and comes highly recommended by one of my favourite authors, Kazuo Ishiguro, but it could not charm me. I struggled all the way through to the end and I’m proud to say that I was at least able to finish it! 898 pages of small characters, in English. Gah.

Cover 2666 (Roberto Bolaño)

2011 Book charts

As always I’d love to share some pie charts. About the gender of authors read, the ratio of fiction to non-fiction (to faction, which is null ;), where I got my copies from, peer-pressure (!) and the language area from which authors originate.

Gender of authors read

Hm, I’m not completely satisfied with the ratio of female authors to male among the books I read this year.. Needless to say it should be more of a fifty-fifty situation!

Pie chart author gender 2011

Fiction to non-fiction

The fiction / non-fiction chart doesn’t show much difference from previous years: I obviously prefer to read fiction — especially now that I’m having ‘concentration issues’. O_o

Pie chart fiction to nonfiction 2011

The Pile

I haven’t looked at the origin of my books before, but as I seem to have read a lot of books being passed on by other Boekgrrls, I thought I’d analyse that data this year. ;)

Pie chart copies 2011

Peer-pressure

Oh how I love my peer-pressure. Buddyreads, group reads, readalongs & readathons, challenges, book rings… You name it — been there, seen it, done that. ;) Of course I should also have put in this graph the books I read without any relation to others… Next time, I promise.

Pie chart peer pressure 2011

Language areas

Now I did not read all of these books in their original language, it’s just a vague chart dividing my books into language areas. Most books that are written in English I read in their original language. The same goes for Dutch books. :) The rest I’ve read in translation to either Dutch or English. Maybe next year I’ll try my hand at some German..?
Note: of course Chilean and Pakistani are nationalities, not languages, but you get the idea.

Pie chart of author language areaSo, did you surpass and/or surprise yourself with the books you’ve read?
Any favourites you’d like to share?
Did you read any of mine?

Yup, it’s that time of year again: here’s my 2010 books wrap-up!

I’ve read 29 books in total, which is six less than last year and approximately brings me back to the level of 2008.

I’ve made a photo of some (not all!), of the books I particularly liked!

Some of the books I loved reading in 2010

Two of the books read this year were comics, five graphic novels, meaning 22 were either novels, novella’s or collections of short stories.

2010 graph of book type

It took me a while to decide on my favourite read of the year. There were two candidates but I finally figured it out. So… let’s hear the drumroll!

Cover The Wasted Vigil (Nadeem Aslam)Best Book of 2010

The Very Best Book I read in 2010 is The Wasted Vigil, by Nadeem Aslam. It’s absolutely gorgeous and I hate myself for not picking it up earlier, since I’ve had in on the shelf from the moment it came out in 2008. I had equally loved Maps for Lost Lovers when I read it so Aslam now deserves to be listed among my (few) favourite authors! That’s a spot right along David Mitchell, Barbara Gowdy and Haruki Murakami: novelists of whom I’ve read, or will read, each and every book. So I’m waiting for Aslam’s 1993 début to arrive in my mailbox: Season of the Rainbirds. Don’t you just love that title? ;)

Cover The Thousand Autumns Of Jacob De Zoet (David Mitchell, 2010)Second Best Book of 2010

Close upon the heels of The wasted Vigil is (not surprisingly) The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, the latest novel by my all-time favourite David Mitchell. It was a real tiebreak but I figured I was probably a teeny weeny bit unfairly favoured to Mitchell just because I love his work so much and had been looking forward to his new book since Black Swan Green, in 2006. Then again, that might speak in favour of ‘Jacob de Zoet’ because novels eagerly anticipated often disappoint.

List of books I read in 2010

For those of you who are curious, or just plain addicted to lists (like me), here’s the complete pile of books I read in 2010. The ones that particularly stand out looking back on my reading adventures, I’ve given a bold title.

  • Trespass, Valerie Martin (2007)
  • The Best of Mutts, Patrick McDonnell (2004)
  • The Housekeeper and the Professor (Hakase no aishi ta sūshiki 博士の愛した数式, translated by Stephen Snyder), Yoko Ogawa (2003/2008)
  • De avonden (1) (The Evenings), Gerard Reve; Dick Matena (1947/2004)
  • The Rapture, Liz Jensen (2009)
  • In the Shadow of No Towers, Art Spiegelman (2004)
  • Careless in Red, Elizabeth George (2008)
  • I Am a Cat III (Wagahai wa neko de aru 吾輩は猫である, translated by Aiko Ito; Graeme Wilson), Natsume Sōseki (1907)
  • Een stoomfluit midden in de nacht (Yonaka no kiteki ni tsuite / ‘A Steam Whistle in the Night, translated by Jaques van Westerhoven), Haruki Murakami (2003 (2006))
  • Het Hoofdkussenboek van Sei Shōnagon (Makura no Sōshi 枕草子 / The Pillow Book, translated by Paul Heijman), Sei Shōnagon (1002/1986)
  • Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (Mekurayanagi to, nemuru onna, translated by Philip Gabriel; Jay Rubin), Haruki Murakami (2005)
  • Her Fearful Symmetry, Audrey Niffenegger (2009)
  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, David Mitchell (2010)
  • Silence (Chinmoku 沈黙 , translated by William Johnston (?)), Shusaku Endo (1966)
  • The Sea, The Sea, Iris Murdoch (1978)
  • Affinity, Sarah Waters (1999)
  • The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
  • The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger (1951)
  • Persepolis (translated byMattias Ripa), Marjane Satrapi (2003)
  • Persepolis 2 (translated by Blake Ferris), Marjane Satrapi (2004)
  • Remainder, Tom McCarthy (2007)
  • Mutts: Dog-eared, Patrick McDonnell (2004)
  • Het volgende verhaal (The Following Story), Cees Nooteboom (1991)
  • Isabelle Avondrood: Isabelle en het beest (Adèle et le bête, translated by René van de Weijer (?)), Jacques Tardi (1976)
  • Isabelle Avondrood: Allemaal monsters! (Tous des monstres, translated by René van de Weijer), Jacques Tardi (1994)
  • Soulless, Gail Carriger (2009)
  • Het Gouden Paviljoen (Kinkakuji, translated by C. Ouwehand), Yukio Mishima (1966)
  • The Wasted Vigil, Nadeem Aslam (2008)
  • The Christmas Quilt, Thomas J. Davis (2000)

Which of these books have you read? Did you like them?

There are several classics in the list, including Japanese. Graphic novels and comics were a new adventure in 2010; although I tried my first during the October 2009 read-a-thon, I read many more this year — upgrading my level from Beginner to Intermediate in the Graphic Novel Challenge.

Other genres outside my usual reading nook: Apocalyptic (The Rapture), GLBT (Affinity), paranormal romance (urban fantasy) / ghost stories (Soulless, Her Fearful Symmetry).
All of these I particularly enjoyed!

More statistics

Original language
2010 graph of Original language

Read in translation or the original language?
2010 graph of Translation

Gender author
2010 graph of Gender of author

Century of publication
2010 graph of Publicaton year (century)

Except for a challenge wrap-up post, that’s about it for 2010. Book-wise I mean: I’ll need to work on my list of movies next! How are you doing evaluating last year?

The Sunday Salon is a virtual gathering of booklovers on the web, where they blog about bookish things of the past week, visit each others weblogs, oh — and read ;)

It’s really weird: looking back on 2009 I seem to have only seen movies from the past decade… (2000-2009). Not consciously though!

Usually I’m quite conscientious in keeping track of what I’ve seen, but this time I noticed some titles were missing… I hope I recovered them all by thinking hard about it! That’s why I’m late posting my list ;)

I’ve chosen two pictures as best movies of 2009; a feature film and a ‘documation’, or ‘animentary’.

Starting with the motion picture: my favourite film of 2009 was Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank. Man, it was GOOD. We had a lot to talk about afterwards, but unfortunately I didn’t write it down so I forgot most of it :\ I guess I’m getting old! LOL

Fish Tank is a movie about Mia, a difficult adolescent in a working class environment. She’s got a pretty tough life, but she’s tough herself and strives to get the future she wants. It is not always an easy movie to watch (shouting and strong language being the least of it). But it is so much less depressing than a Ken Loach movie, the master of Social Realism! I found the story realistic, but hopeful and energizing. Inexperienced leading actress Katie Jarvis really is amazing as the angry teenager. It is said she was plucked off the street by director Arnold while she was having an argument with her boyfriend, LOL.

Really, if you get the chance: GO SEE FISH TANK! Meanwhile, I’m very much looking forward to Andrea Arnold’s adaptation of Wuthering Heights

But I said I have two favs for 2009. If you would put a gun to my head and force me to choose just one, I think it would be the other: Waltz With Bashir. I wrote a review on Graasland, in Dutch. It’s an animated documentary, hence my labels documation and animentary — I haven’t decided yet on the best term. What would you call it?

Waltz with Bashir depicts its Israeli director Ari Folman in search of his lost memories from the 1982 Lebanon War. All interviews were filmed in the ordinary way, and animated afterwards. That gives the images a certain atmosphere. Now that I’ve told you that, look for example at the house and garden of Ari’s friend in Holland. Thanks to the method used, the interviewees are relatively anonymous. But you do hear their actual voices.

I was really impressed by Waltz with Bashir. The story is interesting and humane. I didn’t know much about the Lebanon war and I usually don’t watch animation — so I didn’t expect to like it much. What a surprise that it turned out to be so good! I actually believe I understand a little better what it means to be (and have been) young in Israel and its surrounding countries. But not only that: the strong imagery of the film also makes it just very attractive to look at. And the soundtrack is great too! As I wrote in my Hello Japan! post about Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, it is one of my two most popular music discoveries of 2009 as well :)

Waltz with Bashir is the first animated film ever to have been nominated for an Academy Award in the category Best Foreign Language Film.

Now, before I close with my complete list of all 35 films and 13 tv-series I watched in 2009: what is your favourite movie of 2009???

Movies watched in 2009

Mourning Forest ( Mogari no Mori ) Naomi Kawase ( 2007 )
Slumdog Millionaire Danny Boyle ( 2008 )
The Wrestler Darren Aronofsky ( 2008 )
Changeling Clint Eastwood ( 2008 )
Waltz with Bashir ( Vals Im Bashir ) Ari Folman ( 2008 )
Frost / Nixon Ron Howard ( 2008 )
Contractpensions, Djangan Loepah! Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmich ( 2008 )
Man on Wire James Marsh ( 2008 )
The Reader Stephen Daldry ( 2008 )
Tokyo Sonata Kiyoshi Kurosawa ( 2008 )
Brideshead Revisited Julian Jarrold ( 2008 )
Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk Greg MacGillivray ( 2008 )
Milk Gus van Sant ( 2008 )
Chérie Stephen Frears ( 2009 )
Adaptation. Spike Jonze ( 2002 )
Departures ( Okuribito ) Yôjirô Takita ( 2008 )
Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure Sean MacLeod Phillips ( 2007 )
La tourneuse de pages Denis Dercourt ( 2006 )
Megane Naoko Ogigami ( 2007 )
Dark Water ( Honogurai mizu no soko kara ) Hideo Nakata ( 2002 )
30 Days of Night David Slade ( 2007 )
Boy A John Crowley ( 2007 )
Frozen River Courtney Hunt ( 2008 )
Fish Tank Andrea Arnold ( 2009 )
Grizzly Man Werner Herzog ( 2005 )
The Number 23 Joel Schumacher ( 2007 )
Revolutionary Road Sam Mendes ( 2008 )
Incendiary Sharon Maguire ( 2008 )
Surveillance Jennifer Chambers Lynch ( 2008 )
Bug William Friedkin ( 2006 )
Survivor Marjolein Duermeijer ( 2009 )
Inglourious Basterds Quentin Tarantino ( 2009 )
Snatch Guy Ritchie ( 2000 )
La Siciliana Ribelle Marco Amenta ( 2009 )
Flags of Our Fathers Clint Eastwood ( 2006 )

Television series

It’s impossible to say which one I liked best. In 2009 I saw Six Feet Under, Dexter and Ashes to Ashes, all series to die for!

The Last Enemy
Criminal Justice
6 Feet Under
(all series)
Spooks (several series)
Burn Notice
Ashes to Ashes II
Tess
Sense & Sensibility
X-Files
Dexter I
Dexter II

24 day 7
Sopranos (several series)

Note: television series are NOT included in the diagrams.

I my post about the books I’ve read last year (it needs a bit of getting used to, calling 2009 “last year” ;) I promised you some additional stats. Here they are!

I also read 1 graphic novel and listened to 1 audio book.

Do you like these kind of statistics as much as I do? Anything else you would like to know?

The Sunday Salon is a virtual gathering of booklovers on the web, where they blog about bookish things of the past week, visit each others weblogs, oh — and read ;)

2009 was a good year for reading. I completed 35 books (5 more than last year) and I didn’t put any aside because I found them too disappointing. My eyes have goggled a total of 10.038 pages ;)

2009 FIRSTS:

I’m afraid I have a lot of ‘wrapping up’ to do on my challenges — writing reviews and wrap-up posts — so thank god for next weekend: it’s Bloggiesta!

Now, the highlights of 2009…. (drum roll)

BESTEST book: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (published in 1939)

I would never have guessed it would end as my best read of 2009. I had a hard time getting into the book, especially because of the ‘epic’ chapters intertwining the story of the Joad family during the Great Depression in the US. But it really got under my skin. And looking back The Grapes of Wrath definitely made the biggest (and a long lasting) impression.
I still need to review it so I guess it’d better be one of the first to tackle. (Review added)

SECOND best book: The Old Capital by Yasunari Kawabata (1962)

I had never heard of Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata, even though I’ve been reading Japanese authors for a while now. So I’m really glad I got to know him thanks to the Japanese Literature Book Group that started this year. Again, I haven’t reviewed this book yet :\ But I absolutely loved the detailed descriptions of Kyoto and Japanese culture. It reminded me of last year’s favourite: The Teahouse Fire by Ellis Avery. But The Old Capital is way more subtle — Japanese, where The Teahouse Fire is recognizably American in comparison. So, another review that’s high on my to-do list.

Worst book: Butterfly in the Wind by Rei Kimura (2000)
What do you know, I do have a review of this year’s worst read on Graasland! ;) That’s because it was the first book I read for the Japanese Literature Challenge (for which I actually only needed to read 1 book, but why stop, especially after such a disappointment? ;) I read Butterfly in the Wind in Dutch (Vlinder in de wind) and found the content, the way the story was told ánd the translation all h o r r i b l e.

I have thought of listing more books especially worth mentioning, but I had many good reads this year so I’ll just give you the whole lot of them. The first title (Silk) was read last, the last of the list my first book of 2009 (Falling Angels). Are there any of these you would have picked as your best read?

  • Zijde (Seta / Silk), Alessandro Baricco
  • The Gargoyle, Andrew Davidson (online reading group)
  • I am a cat (Wagahai wa Neko de Aru), 2nd volume, Natsume Sōseki (Japanese Literature Read-along, JapLit Challenge)
  • The Old Capital (Koto 古都), Yasunari Kawabata (Japanese Literature Reading Group)
  • Persuasion, Jane Austen audio book
  • In Cold Blood, Truman Capote (November Book Group read; What’s in a Name)
  • I am a cat (Wagahai wa Neko de Aru), 1st volume, Natsume Sōseki (Japanese Literature Read-along, JapLit Challenge)
  • Coraline, Neil Gaiman (graphic novel)
  • De pianoman, Bernlef
  • Be With You (Ima, Ai ni Yukimasu), Takuji Ichikawa
  • The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck ((multiple) challenge book) TNX to boekenxnl for this rabck!
  • Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates (Classics challenge; online reading group)
  • Het Pauperparadijs, Suzanna Jansen (non-fiction)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee (Bookcrossing bookring / (multiple) challenge book)
  • Vlinder in de wind (Butterfly in the Wind), Rei Kimura (Japanese Literature challenge book)
  • Away, Amy Bloom (online reading group)
  • The Mapmaker’s Wife, Robert Whitaker (Bookcrossing bookring / What’s in a name challenge book)
  • What came before he shot her, Elizabeth George (What’s in a name challenge book)
  • With no one as witness, Elizabeth George
  • Zo god het wil (Crossroads / Come Dio Comanda), Niccolò Ammaniti
  • De inboorling, Stevo Akkerman
  • Ten zuiden van de grens, ten westen van de zon (Kokkyo no minami, Taiyo no nishi / South of the Border, West of the Sun), Haruki Murakami
  • De kleine keizer (‘The Little Emperor‘), Martin Bril (What’s in a name challenge book)
  • Nikolski, Nicolas Dickner (ring)
  • Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh ((multiple) challenge book / bookgroup)
  • Slam, Nick Hornby
  • Notes from an exhibition, Patrick Gale
  • Rivier der vergetelheid (Meuse l’oubli), Philippe Claudel
  • Dans dans dans (Dansu dansu dansu / Dance dance dance), Haruki Murakami
  • The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro ((multiple) challenge book)
  • Grijze zielen, Philippe Claudel (What’s in a name challenge book)
  • The National Trust for Scotland: Brodie Castle (non-fiction)
  • De ijdele engel, Godfried Bomans
  • The End of Mr Y, Scarlett Thomas (TNX to rapturina for this rabck!)
  • Vallende engelen (Falling Angels), Tracey Chevalier

The ‘stats’ (for real geeks like me ;) will have to wait until another day. But here’s what I read in 2008 and in 2007 — for those of you who haven’t had enough yet (are you also from the Eighties generation, too fond of making lists? ;)

My Google map will show you my Bookcrossing releases of all-time. Making a sidebar button for it is one of my wishes for next week’s Bloggiesta! As is, maybe, a special page where I can bring my year lists together?

Coincidently (dôh) this week’s Booking Through Thursday wants to know exactly what I’ve been talking about today!

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

Challenges
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 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…

The 42 books I’ve read in 2007

  • Rosalie Niemand, Elisabeth Marain (stopped reading)
  • The Geographer’s Library *ring*, Jon Fasman
  • Poppy Shakespeare, Clare Allen
  • Max Havelaar, Multatuli
  • Publieke werken, Thomas Rosenboom
  • Dance with death, Barbara Nadel
  • The Road, Cormac McCarthy
  • Arthur & George, Julian Barnes
  • Narziss en Goldmund (en andere verhalen) *slow ray*, Hermann Hesse (stopped reading)
  • Het huis van de moskee, Kader Abdolah
  • Het Bureau (deel 1): Meneer Beerta, J.J. Voskuil
  • The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks
  • De brug, Geert Mak
  • De ontdekking van de hemel, Harry Mulisch
  • En dan zou jij zeggen, Elisabeth Keesing
  • Never let me go, Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The shape of snakes, Minette Walters
  • Greenwich Killing Time, Kinky Friedman
  • Het zijn net mensen, Joris Luyendijk
  • De lijfarts, Maria Stahlie
  • A cool million, Nathanael West
  • Het geheim van de krokodil, Alexander McCall Smith
  • De grote bocht, Peter Delpeut
  • Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami
  • De uitvreter, Nescio
  • The inheritance of loss, Kiran Desai
  • Nooit meer slapen, W.F. Hermans
  • Helpless, Barbara Gowdy
  • Heden mosselen, morgen gij (kort verhaal), Hans Vervoort
  • Gods ingewanden (Métaphysique des tubes), Amélie Nothomb
  • Een heel huis vol, Boudewijn Büch
  • Everyman, Philip Roth
  • Bougainville, F. Springer (thank you for this RABCK to Linniepinnie!)
  • Black dogs, Ian McEwan
  • Een stoomfluit midden in de nacht (Yonaka no kiteki ni tsuite), Haruki Murakami (with special thanks to maupi!!!)
  • De Donkere Kamer van Damokles, W.F. Hermans
  • Met angst en beven (Stupeur et tremblements, ring), Amélie Nothomb
  • A place of hiding, Elizabeth George
  • Death in holy order, P.D. James
  • Asta’s book, Barbara Vine
  • In the country of men, Hisham Matar
  • In search of the distant voice, Taichi Yamada

Personal challenge for 2007
YES! On the 3rd of December I’ve accomplished my personal challenge to read all books of the Best Dutch Book shortlist that I hadn’t already read!

(Look at this earlier post to view bookcovers :)

Het huis van de moskee, Kader Abdolah PC
De Donkere Kamer van Damocles, W.F. Hermans PC of Maaike
Nooit Meer Slapen, W.F. Hermans PC of BX-er wolfram-nl
De ontdekking van de hemel, Harry Mulisch BX-copy
Max Havelaar, Multatuli PC
De uitvreter, Nescio PC of BX-er nokawa
Publieke werken, Thomas Rosenboom PC of Maaike
Het Bureau, J.J. Voskuil PC of BX-er wolfram-nl

Books on the shortlist that I had already read before this challenge started:
Hersenschimmen, J. Bernlef
Titaantjes/Dichtertje, Nescio
De avonden, Gerard Reve

With this challenge I was participating in The SIY (Set It Yourself) Challenge. Ibis3 has made us a nice challenge page. I am not sure if I would have been able to accomplish my goals for 2007 without participating in the challenge!

Special rings and challenges I have participated in…
Special Bookcrossing rings & rays
De Bookcrossing theedoos
Het Nederlandse BookCrossers Kattenjournaal

Bookcrossing challenges
Breng wat kleur in de wereld in januari!
De Nederlandse Release Challenge
Movie Books Release Challenge
Four Seasons Release Challenge
2007 History Challenge
‘Words to Release By’ Challenge
The SIY (Set It Yourself) Challenge, 1st and 2nd edition. You can also find them at Ibis3’s readalong blog.
Hiroshima Anniversary Peace Challenge.

In 2006 I read 39 books, amounting to a total of 11.762 pages. I put 3 books aside without finishing, all nonfiction. If I’d count the number pages that I did read of these books, my total would pass 12.500!

Glancing over my list you can probably guess what my personal reading challenge was? If not, look again and pay special attention to the bold titles ;)

  • Canal dreams , Iain Banks ( 1989 )
  • Dietrich: mijn moeder ( Marlene Dietrich ) , Maria Riva ( 1992 ) nonfiction (biography); abandoned
  • The kite runner , Khaled Hosseini ( 2003 )
  • The ninth life of Louis Drax , Liz Jensen ( 2004 )
  • The fourth hand , John Irving ( 2001 )
  • Driedaagse reis ( Three day road ) , Joseph Boyden ( 2005 )
  • De Verdieping van Nederland: duizend jaar Nederland aan de hand van topstukken , Koninklijke Bibliotheek en Nationaal Archief ( [2005] ) nonfiction
  • Not on the label , Felicity Lawrence ( 2004 ) nonfiction; abandoned
  • Een verhaal dat het leven moet veranderen , Hans Goedkoop ( 2004 ) nonfiction
  • A traitor to memory , Elizabeth George ( 2001 )
  • After dark ( Afutaa daaku ) , Haruki Murakami ( 2004/2006 )
  • De collectie (Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen) , Erik Beenker ( 2005 ) nonfiction
  • Black Swan Green , David Mitchell ( 2006 )
  • The tattooed map , Barbara Hodgson ( 1995 )
  • The man who cast two shadows , Carol O’Connell ( 1995 )
  • Canongebulder , K. Paling ( 2006 ) nonfiction; abandoned
  • Slaughterhouse-Five , Kurt Vonnegut ( 1969 )
  • A dry white season , André Brink ( 1979 )
  • Everything is illuminated , Jonathan Safran Foer ( 2002 )
  • The woman in white , Wilkie Collins ( 1860 )
  • The Great Gatsby , F. Scott Fitzgerald ( 1926 )
  • De grote wereld , Arthur Japin ( 2006 )
  • Brokeback Mountain , Annie Proulx ( 1997 )
  • Ongelukzoekers ( Fools of fortune ) , William Trevor ( 1983 )
  • The Murder Room , P.D. James ( 1983 )
  • Less than zero , Bret Easton Ellis ( 1985 )
  • Lunar Park , Bret Easton Ellis ( 2005 )
  • Dead famous , Ben Elton ( 2001 )
  • Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde , Robert Louis Stevenson ( 1886 )
  • Mary Reilly , Valerie Martin ( 1990 )
  • The third man / The fallen idol , Graham Greene ( 1950 / 1935 )
  • When we were orphans , Kazuo Ishiguro ( 2000 )
  • Hong Kong Souvenir , Lisa Bresner ( 1995 )
  • The night watch , Sarah Waters ( 2006 )
  • A short history of tractors in Ukraïnian , Marina Lewycka ( 2005 )
  • Maps for lost lovers , Nadeem Aslam ( 2004 )
  • Zuidvleugel (Rijksmuseum) , Annemarie Vels Heijn ( 1996 ) nonfiction
  • One flew over the cuckoo’s nest , Ken Kesey ( 1962 )
  • Eight cousins , Louisa May Alcott ( 1875 )
  • On beauty , Zadie Smith ( 2005 )
  • Studio Zes ( Studio Sex ) , Liza Marklund ( 1999 )
  • Seven up , Janet Evanovich ( 2001 )

Although there were several favourite reads, the best by far was Maps for Lost Lovers by Nadeem Aslam. Just beautiful. *sigh* Other highlights: Black Swan Green (of course), The Woman in White, A Dry White Season, Slaughterhouse-Five (!) and The Ninth Life of Louis Drax.

Even though I had seen the movie adaption of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest some 20 years ago, I kept seeing Jack Nicholson while reading the book. (Oh, he’s on the cover, is he? ;) Still, that was a memorable read as well.

Some stats to end with…

Fiction: 35
Nonfiction: 4
Female authors: 15
Male authors: 23
Unknown authors: 1
Dutch authors: 5
Foreign: 34

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