If you’re like me, you can’t simply finish a book, put it back on its shelf, and move on to the next one. Instead, I think it over once, I think it over twice, and then I try to find out if this book has changed me. Some books teach me who I am, and others educate me about important matters such as politics, history, and identity. Whichever book I read, there’s always a lesson to be learned. Here you can read about what I’ve learned from the books I’ve read so far.
“Millions of other universes exist, unaware of one another” – Explaining the Multiverse in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials
The universe, the multiverse: what is it about? The answers can be found in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. All of them.
‘Quietly Devastating’ – The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald
Do you ever feel like you’re fighting a battle you can’t win? Then Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Bookshop is just the book for you.
“We All Create Our Own Fairy Tales” – Pan’s Labyrinth by Cornelia Funke and Guillermo del Toro
As we grow older, we stop believing in fairy tales. Pan’s Labyrinth shows us that we never, ever, should.
True Southern Gothic: The Sookie Stackhouse Novels by Charlaine Harris
It’s almost Halloween! Here’s why people have always loved a good scary story.
Stranded – Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
Mythical retellings are all the rage – but not every character deserves one.
Never Good Enough: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
I started reading Suzanne Collins’s The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes because I needed something easy. Well, that’s what I got.
A Mystery, a Satire, a Novel, a Romance: Possession by A.S. Byatt
A. S. Byatt’s Possession blends many genres and styles together in het Booker Prize-winning novel. I wish I had written it – or featured in it.
“To thine own self be true” – Gisterland (Yesterland) by Imme Dros
Shakespeare is one of the most famous writers in the world. However, he has also inspired countless novels. Here’s one by a Dutch author.
Women’s Words and Female Voices: The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
Almost a hundred years ago, the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary was published. Pip Williams’ novel The Dictionary of Lost Words shows us that it was far from perfect.
“Purely Scientific”: The First Men in the Moon by H. G. Wells
I recently read H. G. Wells’ science-fiction classic The First Men in the Moon, which is over a hundred years old, and it combines the future and the past.
In Tune With Time: De Avonden/The Evenings by Gerard Reve
“Boredom… Oh, I’m so bored. Life is dreadful. I don’t care about anything.” Sounds like a good book, right? Gerard Reve’s The Evenings, about nothing but boredom, is regarded as an absolute classic of Dutch literature.
“Engage”: The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard by David A. Goodman
Writing an autobiography about a fictional character sounds like a contradictio in terminis. This one, about Star Trek’s Jean-Luc Picard makes you want to believe it all were real.
In Search of the Self: Immortality by Milan Kundera
Who are we? Are we defined by what we do, by what we know, by what we feel – or by what others think of us? Milan Kundera ponders this question in his novel Immortality.
By the Book #42 – The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
Are witches evil old women, or can they actually change the world? Alix E. Harrow tries to answer this question in her novel The Once and Future Witches.
By the Book #41 – Eleanor Rigby by Douglas Coupland
Everyone feels lonely from time to time. Eleanor Rigby by Douglas Coupland shows us what it is that gives our lives meaning.
By the Book #40 – They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera is a not-so-good-book which makes you think about Big Things. And it doesn’t even mean to.
By the Book #39 – The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath’s only novel, is often seen as an extension of her own life. There’s so much more to it, though!
By the Book #38 – Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
Can you imagine what it would be like to find out you’re gay when you’ve grown up in a strict Christian community? Jeanette Winterson writes about it in her part true/part fictional memoir.
By the Book #37 – A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Sometimes, reading a book makes me aware how little I know about the world. Khaled Hosseini’s novel A Thousand Splendid Suns is about war-torn Afghanistan, and it shows how much I still have to learn.
By the Book #36 – Wendy, Darling by A. C. Wise
Do we ever truly grow up? Or will there always be a part of us that remains a child forever? A. C. Wise’s Peter Pan retelling Wendy, Darling tries to settle the matter once and for all.