Monday, 23 September 2013

Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

The books I love, I love them for different reasons. Sometimes it is quite clear to me why I love a book so much, sometimes I just do and I can't really tell why. I just finished reading Black Swan Green (Dertien in de nederlandse vertaling) by David Mitchell. A wonderful book about a thirtteen year old boy (Justin) with a stammer, living in the little town of Black Swan Green.
Why did I love this book so much? I did not particularly liked the main character, nor was it  an exciting story (although that is also a prĂ©).

Half way the book I realized I love the pace of the book. The speed of sentences, the length of the chapters. Smooth, beautiful and strong.  I loved the references to music throughout the book (the Smiths, the Talking Heads, the Beatles). And I loved being in the Uk, in a small town. Even if it was the eighties. And I think I even loved being picked on by my older sister.
And maybe it is the strong sense of knowledge that this thirteen year boy old will be ok, although all the odds are against him at this stage of his life. He is smart, he has talent. He will get out.
He just reminds me of all the quiet smart ones in highschool. The ones that did not stick out at the time.  The ones I encounter on the streets of Amsterdam. The directors, the artists, the writers.

The other book I read recently is 'Bean Trees' by Barbara Kingsolver. The cover of the book is so hideous that I felt I had to apologize to people. "It is literature, it really is"
I loved this book as well, although I could not relate to this character at all. She comes from small town just like Justin, and was as a kid part of the 'nutter' group. The ones who had to sell walnuts to pay for school. Kingsolver gave a good sense of humor and a good head on her shoulders. And she drives a beetle. (I don't need much fall for some one)
It is one of Kingsolver earlier books and this one shows bits of things that are important to her and made their way to all her other books.  Her love for the spanish language (such a interesting part of the Lacuna) Her love for everything that grows. (Flight Behavior) . And she brings across a message that is important to her. In this case; No man or woman is illegal. I never know whether to admire her for that, or the be a little annoyed with her schoolteacher finger pointing at me....
But this book, if softened my heart. It is sentences like this one:
"Is this from Guatamale" I asked.
She nodded. She looked almost happy.
"Sometimes I get homesick for Pittman an it's as ugly as a mud stick fence," I said. " A person would have to just ache for a place where they make things as beautiful as this."

Thank you Mrs. Kingsolver. I imagine you sitting on your porch, surrounded by trees and bugs, and other critters. Pondering over new stories to tell. I hope you do. Cause your stories move me every time.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Nrc.Next of today

An illustration about Apps, and how the thriving app-business creates new jobs all over Europe.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Black Swan Green.....

by David Mitchell.

Read more about the book here. Later more in my own words. But have to face it, most people write much better than I do...

Thursday, 12 September 2013


It was a summer day, my friend was wearing shorts, I turned the airco of the car on and we crossed the canal to the UK. Traveling makes my heart feel light and my brains feel bubbly. The beautiful houses of Royal Tunbridge Wells and the comfortable feeling of being a stranger. I love the childlike surprising view on the world that Im allowed to have when Im the odd one out. The questions you're allowed to ask, the extra time you can afford in a cafe, just sitting there enjoying things passing by. I took a windy road south, every time I came across a corner and a car my way came my heart jumped a little. Not out of a happy travel surprise but we drive on the other side of the road as they do in England. I past Alfriston, a quaint little town with teashops run by old ladies (I presume, I never went in one). In every valley it drizzled and every time i was back on a hill the sun was shining in my face. Until I made it to last hill, and there she was: the sea. Shining at me. The color of a blue/ green see through soda bottle. Seaford, a little town with lots of barbers, coffee shops and secondhand stores. The old caravan by the side of the road, with a NOT FOR SALE sign, made me smile. The 5 year old who was reading her Floppy is not well- book out loud. Wuuuh Aah nnnnn tuuuuh sssss. Wants. Made me cry, out of happiness. I walked on the cliffs and looked at all the old couples, holding hands, some of them. Or arguing. Some others. ('You are sooo stupid sometimes') On my way back I had tea at Jo's cafe, a crooked old building with a grassy car park. I walked in and the smell of old grease just hit me in the face. Jo's brought me some tea, and politely asked; is this too strong for you? (Jo must know; the dutch don't drink their tea as strong as the english do) She told me, we had a great summer, lots of guests. But the winters are difficult. We don't have heating, so it gets very cold in here. And yes, sometimes people drive up, see this old building and turn around again. But people love our food. And we are kind to every one. A few weeks ago, this transvestite walked in. Big guy, big legs, but all dressed up. Yeah we get all sorts of people in here. ' I left, but the stench of the grease stayed with me the rest of the way. I made to the boat, ordered coffee and struck up a conversation with the Portugeuse guy behind the coffee bar. He used to be a director of a company, worked in Italy, Portugal and Angola. Working on 5 million euro road plans. The crisis struck and now he was selling coffee on the boat. 12 hour shifts, 15 days in a row. Living and working on the vessel. Evening time, daytime. ' It is a good job' he said 'But you sort of think you life will get better, you go up and up. But now everything went down in my country. No pension for the elderly and the first minister told the young people; 'Get out, if you can, go somewhere else' I drank my coffee and had an amazing view on the sea and the black clouds. Halfway the ferry and home it started raining, I turned on the heating of the car and by the time I was home autumn had started. My favorite season.