Endless sunshine and warm summer weather don’t last forever here. Autumn has started and with temperatures below 13 degrees Celsius, grey skies, wind and rain, you’d better get creative and think about how you’re going to spend the coming months. You’ve done most of the museums and galleries. You have your Cineville cultural slash artsy cinema subscription. You went to the new cafés and bars and spent all your money. Netflix is getting a bit boring.
What’s left to do? If, like me, you’ve started reading several books at the same time without finishing any, then this is the time to do it. Curl up on your nice comfy sofa, sit down in front of your window with a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and start reading. Some books are old, others more recent.
The Nix, by Nathan Hill
A New York Times bestseller. A writer/teacher is confronted with his mother after she abandoned her family when he was a boy. Now she is in trouble, needs his help, and the unexplained past comes tumbling back in unexpected ways.
The bazar of bad dreams, by Stephen King
A great collection of creepy stories that I stupidly started reading right before going to bed. King freaks me out every time he brings up evil children – which he loves doing.
The casual vacancy, by J.K. Rowling
A councillor cherished by the people of a small town suddenly dies. A conflict ensues before the election for his successor takes places and those running soon find themselves and those around them locked in conflict. A wonderfully intricate book about ordinary people and dark secrets, where every reader will find a character that makes them feel embarrassed when they realise: I do that, too.
Sodome et Gomorrhe, by Marcel Proust
My attempt to read this book has been a long journey. There are many characters involved in a fancy dinner party where it is revealed that the baron has many affairs, including with young men. Public façades among the bourgeoisie are compared with how the characters act in private.
Dertiendagh, by Maria Postema and Maarten Bruns
A book written by a cool friend which I think will be great for my Dutch. It is the story of two kids exploring an ancient bunker. But mysteries start unfolding along the way.
Le deuxième sexe – Tomes I et II, by Simone De Beauvoir
I bought these two books when the #metoo campaign started. I wanted to know more about feminism and how women were treated throughout history. Many examples and comparisons show that although women have come a long way, society still considers them as “the other”. I chose to read this book in French because I heard in different places that the English translation is not faithful to the original book.
Crime et châtiment, by Fiodor Dostoïevski
A story on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of an impoverished ex-student in Saint Petersburg who formulates and executes a plan to kill an unscrupulous pawnbroker for her cash.
Nutshell, by Ian McEwan
This book is quite funny. It is about a fetus in the womb of his mother discovering that the latter is plotting a murder with her boyfriend.
صوت العالم لمخائيل نعيمة
I bought this book in Pages bookstore Café, which is run by a group of Syrian refugees in Amsterdam. Mikhail Naimy talks about human suffering among civilians after the second world war. The author was a soldier in the American army.
Beirut 39: New writing from the Arab World, by Samuel Shimon
I found this book also in a small bookstore in Amsterdam. It includes 39 pieces by Arab writers under 40 which take you through individual lives that are specific to their locations.
Warriors of God, by Nicholas Blanford
I started reading this book a long time ago but have not finished it yet. It is fascinating to be able to know more about the most powerful militant group and political party Hezbollah, particularly for me as a Lebanese.
Ik was een van hen, by Maarten Zeegers
The writer goes “undercover” as a muslim in one of the neighborhoods of The Hague. He portrays inhabitants with empathy and gives insight in their day to day life and views on Islam and on Dutch society.
I speak for Lebanon, by Kamal Jumblatt
An arrogant title. I borrowed this book and never returned it for some reason. It is a summary of Jumblatt’s political testament and memoirs which was completed shortly before he was assassinated.
Any other suggestions?