07 November 2011

Read: October Books

source: strandbooks.com

E.M. Forster: Howard's End
Ben Hecht: 1001 Afternoons in Chicago
Jasper Fforde: One of our Tuesdays is Missing
Peter Carey: Parrot and Olivier in America

It was a pretty good reading month. There was some seriously good reading (Forster and Carey), some fun (Fforde), and a nice surprise (Hecht). Hecht's book is a collection of columns written for the Chicago Tribune in the 1920s. A thoughtful friend gave me the book this summer and since our shipment was delayed, it was the only book out of a box that I hadn't read yet. Lucky me – it was delightful. The character sketches in particular were really nice. The illustrations were also really neat with the title of the story worked into each illustration.

Last month, I became a member of the local library. Local is no exaggeration either, the library is two doors down from our front door. How's that for living downtown? They have a surprisingly large collection of English language novels for a university town in the Netherlands. Chapel Hill is a university town too, but their foreign language section pales in comparison. The same was true in Haarlem, so go Holland! I picked up Fforde and Carey there. It turns out that I can reserve books for free via their website, so with some luck, a few choice selections will be waiting for me this week.

source: Literatuurplein.nl

We read some good kids books this month as well. We read the Dutch versions, but two are translated from English and one (de Cock) is a book without words.

David Lucas: Hendrik Heilbot (originally Halibut Jackson)
Sjoerd Kuyper, Daan Remmerts de Vries: Sjaantje doet alsof
Martin Waddell and Jill Barton: Plons! (originally The Pig in the Pond)
Nicole de Cock: Aan de overkant
Peter Brouwers: Bertje Big

Peanut liked the two pig stories the best (Waddell and Brouwers) – at least those were the ones we read the most. When it came to returning books, though, the only one he wanted to keep was Hendrik Heilbot. I loved de Cock's Aan de overkant, which is a love/friendship story in beautiful spare images. Sjaantje doet alsof (more or less translates to “Sjaantje pretends”) is a tear-jerker about a little girl who spending a silly pretending afternoon with her grandfather. On the last page, we learn that her grandfather's already passed away. Cue the tears. I liked it, though.

Did you read anything interesting last month? How do you choose which books to read, for yourself or your little ones?


  1. This might be for a few years from now, but last summer we happened to start reading ALL the Little House on the Prairie books. I never read them as a girl (it was the 70's, I just turned on the TV to watch re-runs with my after-school snack), and was absolutely delighted to read them to my 4 1/2 year old. The timing was a perfect segue into watching the series on DVD on cold winter nights. It demonstrated excellent lessons of good vs. not-good behavior and a mutual respect, with a peek into American history and religion, and the realization for how much easier life is for us nowadays.

  2. I've never watched the TV show, but still love the books. Read them this spring again, too. It's amazing how good they still are!

  3. Hey, glad you enjoyed the book!


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