My birthdays tend to coincide with special events.
On my 21st birthday I won €250 worth in book vouchers in the short story competition Write Now; on my 23rd birthday I received a beautiful bouquet with the message that I was chosen for the Dutch National Think Tank, and today, on my 25th birthday, I got a letter congratulating me with the fact that Toby Turd and The Pile of Poo was short listed for the competition of the Academy of Children's Writers (over 2,000 entries). I'm not a winner, but it's a start!
To celebrate my birthday, I went to The Book Club Boutique with Cara last night, where we discovered the wonderful creature called Salena Godden. She's a singer, a poet and a writer; she's got an amazing voice and an even better sense of humour; she's beautiful and very macho... she's the type of woman that makes me think: oh yes, I almost forgot, life is fun!
I hear y'all asking: what do I want as a birthday present? From you, dear blog-readers, I want book tips! Tell me what books I should definitely read this year!
To give you an impression of my taste, I've answered the Book Quiz for Bookies.
Feel free to scroll straight ahead to the comments-section, though. Much fun as I had recollecting the books I read this year, I can imagine it's quite boring to read.
1) What author do you own the most books by?
Plato, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Dostojevski, Terry Pratchett and Ronald Giphart...
2) What book do you own the most copies of?
I own two copies of Also Sprach Zarathustra (Nietzsche), Echte Filosofie (Oudemans) and Embers (Sandor Marai), and several of copies of Voortplanting en Waarheidsverloochening (Sex and Lies, my dissertation on Schopenhauer).
3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Jonathan Strange. But don't tell anyone!
5) What book have you read the most times in your life?
Een onaangename geschiedenis (an unfortunate history) by Dostojevski. I read it about 18 times.
6) What was your favourite book when you were ten years old?
Anything by R.L. Stine I could lay my eyes on.
7) What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
In the last three weeks alone I hated Belle de Jour,The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl and Een Tafel Vol Vlinders, by Tim Krabbé equally, and I couldn't appreciate Dot in The Universe by Lucy Ellman either. I don't even want to think back further.
8) What is the best book you've read in the past year?
I just finished Piercing, by Ryu Murakami, and I loved it. I fondly think back of rereading George's Marvellous Medicine (Roald Dahl) a couple of months ago. But actually, I think Hunger by Knut Hamsun was the best book I read this year.
9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
The Raw Shark Texts, by Steven Hall
10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
I can't say
11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
Love of Seven Dolls by Paul Gallico
12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
The Writers' and Artists' yearbook. Or actually, I would like to see that!
13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
I remember I dreamt about 'a famous writer' a couple of weeks ago. Even in the dream, the identity of the writer was not further specified than that he was famous, and I looked up to him. It was quite a pervy dream, a nightmare, but I don't remember what happened.
14) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
Teena Thyme, by Jennifer Jane Pope
15) What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
The Fragments of Parmenides (I read them in Coxon's collection), and Heidegger's lingering around these fragments.
16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
I don't think King Lear is very obscure...
17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
18) Roth or Updike? 19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers? 20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer? 21) Austen or Eliot? 22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
Emphasised by question 18 to 21
23) What is your favourite novel?
Perhaps A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. Or The Coma by Alex Garland. Or La Nausee by Sartre.
Bakchai by Euripides
Haelfte des Lebens by Hölderlin
Der Erzähler by Walter Benjamin
27) Short Story?
Taste by Roald Dahl
28) Work of nonfiction?
I couldn't move to London without Die Technik und die Kehre, by Heidegger.
29) Who is your favourite author?
30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
How about Martin Amis?
31) What is your desert island book?
Nietzsche's Nachlass. When can I go?
32) And... what are you reading right now?
Stephen King, The Green Mile (Cara's birthday present!).