March 1st, 2004


Lisa Bresner – Hong Kong souvenir (04-004)

Number: 04-004
Title: Hong Kong souvenir
Author: Lisa Bresner
Language: Dutch (original: French)
# Pages: 124 (1033)
Category: Literature
ISBN: 90-5226-471-6

Bought this one to read in the train, walking in the city, just before going home. Having travelled a lot, I am always interested in reading about foreign cultures. So this book seemed a nice way to find out a bit more about Asia, China in particular.

I’m afraid that aim didn’t really come true. What I want to say is that I completely not understood the story. It is probably me, but there is so much happening in the story that doesn’t seem related to each other, I just can’t follow it. Which is a shame, as it cost me a lot of trouble finishing it, even though it is not a big book at all.

Street gangs, Chinese mafia, taoistic eroticism, strange family relations, all involved somehow. I can’t tell the link.
  • Current Music
    Arab strap - Who named the days

Adriaan van Dis – Zilver of het verlies van de onschuld (04-005)

Number: 04-005
Title: Zilver of het verlies van de onschuld
Author: Adriaan van Dis
Language: Dutch
# Pages: 111 (1144)
Category: Literature
ISBN: 9001-55592-6

I ordered this book in a pile of school books, literature to be read for language lists. Halfway through I had the idea that I read it at some point in my life before. Then again, knowing the author, this could also be because there is a strong repetitive pattern in his books. I’m not sure.

The story about an orphan growing up trying to deal with the fact that he is homosexual is not an original one anyway. The author manages to make me smile a few times, he never manages to make me feel sorry for the main character, Zilver, even though that must clearly be one of his objectives. I’m not sure. Perhaps if I had read this one half a life ago, it would have worked. Not now.
  • Current Music
    Billy Bragg, Luka Bloom and Sinead O'Connor - ?

Hein de Kort – Piet & Riet van de Buis Sneeuw & ruis (04-006)

Number: 04-006
Title: Piet & Riet van de Buis, Sneeuw & ruis
Author: Hein de Kort
Language: Dutch
# Pages: 128 (1268)
Category: Comics
ISBN: 9022536742

A new series by Hein de Kort, I didn’t even know he writes/draws for Het Parool (Amsterdam based newspaper) as well. Apparently he makes a cartoon based on a television programme every day. The 120 best ones were gathered and put in a book.

All the typical De Kort subjects return. Taking things literally, exaggerating a situation, adolescent humour if possible and word jokes. My kind of cartoonist.
  • Current Music
    Bob Mould and Vic Chesnutt - Hickory wind

Pete McCarthy – The road to McCarthy (04-007)

Number: 04-007
Title: The road to McCarthy
Author: Pete McCarthy
Language: English
# Pages: 463 (1731)
Category: Travel
ISBN: 0-340-76607-7

McCarthy showed up on my Amazon recommended list. Apparently because I liked reading travel authors like Bill Bryson, Peter Moore and Paul Theroux, I would like McCarthy as well. So when last year I was in London and on my way to the cashier of the bookshop with a pile of books, I couldn’t stop myself from buying 2 more for a tenner from the table near the cashier. This was one of them. If I can get 3 pounds off, I’m done.

I’m afraid I am not putting McCarthy at par with before mentioned travel authors though. I have enjoyed reading this book, but it could have been a third shorter, perhaps even half. The idea is good, travel the world trying to find traces of ancestors everywhere. Every McCarthy must be somehow related. So you end up with a self proclaimed clan leader in Morocco, celebrating St.Patricks day in New York, on the trail of a criminal in Tasmania, in miners villages in the US, where almost everyone descends from Irish and also in a village in Alaska named McCarthy.

Plenty of anecdotes to tell, enough historical research and background to make it into a book, good observations on the world around him. All elements of a good book are there. I had to laugh out loud several times. Yet I couldn’t help getting bored with the book. It was too long, too predictable in the end, just too much.
  • Current Music
    Bram Vermeulen - Vertel me van de liefde