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books I read in March

The Pianist – Władysław Spilman **** summary
I started reading this because of the movie, which I had seen a year before. Thus I knew many of the things that were about to happen and perhaps that is why this book had less impact on me than it could have had. Spilman isn’t a writer, and I had a feeling that the translation I read wasn’t too wonderful either, but it’s still a very good read about both the cruelties and goodness of human beings.

Physik – Angie Sage *** summary
The third book in the Septimus Heap books wasn’t my favourite. The books are starting to get darker, but the characters aren’t very upset about the things that happen to them. The story is still exciting, but I think there definitely needs to be a bit more depth in the next books. Of course it’s a book for children, but I think that ten year olds definitely can deal with sadness as well. I did enjoy the very quiet romance and the books do have this wonderful cozy feeling to them.

Poems selected by Seamus Heany – W.B. Yeats ****
I think I don’t even understand half of what Yeats says, but oh, his poems are beautiful. (and sometimes I like not understanding them, so I can read my own stories into them)

Liebediener – Julia Franck *** (2,5 really)
This German novel isn’t translated into English, I think. It tells the story of a woman, Beyla, who sees how her neighbor dies. Beyla inherits her apartment. She also falls in love with a man, who is very secretive about his past.
I was very excited when I started reading this, because I had a lovely edition and the summary (better written than mine) seemed so special. However, although the book wasn’t bad, I felt a bit disappointed. The characters were a bit annoying. Also, poor Franck was as unfortunate to be the first book read in German after Herta Müller and Christa Wolf, who both write heart wrenchingly beautiful, whereas Franck’s words were more normal. However, I think that it perhaps would help when one can relate to this story, which I couldn’t. all in all, an okay read.

Anna Boom – Judith Koelemeijer (non-fiction) ****
Another book that isn’t translated. Yet, I would like to add in this case, because Koelemeijer tells the inspiring story of Anna Boom, a Dutch woman, who travelled Europe. During the Second World War she lived in Hungary and did whatever she could to survive, but also to help others. She was confident, special and different from other women in her time and I wish I was a bit more like her.

The Knight Has Died – Cees Nooteboom **** summary
Well, this is the year of me and Cees Nooteboom. I started reading his work in February and by now I’ve already read five of his books. His words, the romantic elements that slip into them, their patheticness at times, combined with the self mockery because of this – yes yes I agree. I wasn’t particularly charmed by the plot, but that wasn’t the most important part anyway.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera **** summary
I liked this very, very much, but I have a feeling one shouldn’t read to much Kundera in a short time span. His way with words is lovely and he tells so, so much truth that it hurts at times and you can’t help but nod. I was especially fond of Tereza and her trembling hands and her frightening dreams.

Allemaal willen we de hemel – Els Beerten ***
This book isn’t translated either, but I suppose it will be at some time or another, because it won a lot of prizes in the Netherlands and in Belgium. It tells the story of a village in Belgium during the Second World War, with teenagers who want to change the world, who want to be heroes. It tells of romance, friendship, betrayal, death and war.
To be honest, I can’t exactly see why it won all those prizes, but I think this is more because of me than because of the book. I have read a lot of books about the Second World War, from a lot of different point of views. I’m not shocked anymore when people join the “bad ones”, because there are always, always two sides to a story. That doesn’t justify it, but it makes it more understandable. The story was a bit too long, in my opinion, and the characters were a bit annoying, but I guess it was okay. Especially for people who don’t know much about the Second World War.

The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum – Heinrich Böll ***** (re-read) summary
One of my dearest books. I love everything about it, the characters, the way it’s written, the things Böll criticizes. I actually think I could read it again right now. I consider it quite perfect.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling **** (re-read) summary
Not my favourite Harry, I feel like it drags a bit too much and I hate Rita Skeeter so fiercely it’s annoying to read about her, but still. Harry and his friends capture my heart over and over and over again.

Das blaue Kleid – Doris Dörrie ***
Another book that hasn’t been translated. Florian’s friend has died of cancer and Babette’s husband died in a car accident. Through a blue dress, they find each other’s company and they learn to live again.
A sweet story, with a lovely beginning and ending. I felt that the middle part focused too much on Babette, but it was still a fun book to read. It made me want to travel to Mexico and to have my own Florian and to walk through labyrinths.

Philip and the others – Cees Nooteboom ***** summary
And here Nooteboom finally proved why I kept reading his books, even though I had yet to completely love one of them. I finally did during this book. Stunning.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Mar. 31st, 2010 11:17 pm (UTC)
Hey another Dutchie! :D

Would you recommend I start reading Nooteboom? One of my friends is a fan of his, but his taste and mine are pretty much polar opposites soooo...
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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