Tuesday 19 May 2009

Hip Hip Hurrah!

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?
Should it?

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.

24) Play?
Bakchai by Euripides

25) Poem?
Haelfte des Lebens by Hölderlin

26) Essay?
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!).


  1. Congrats on being shortlisted!
    My fav author is Jonathan Coe [The House of Sleep, being my favourite by him]... you might like it?

  2. George's Marvellous Medicine. Love it.

    I have a terrible taste in books, so I'm not going to give many recommendations, just wish a very happy birthday, and a congratulations on being shortlisted.

  3. Congrats and Happy Birthday! Right now I'm reading John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces. LOVE IT. Love that you love Hamsun... so great!

  4. Sounds like you've had some wicked birthdays!!

    I think these books are amazing:
    Matthew Lewis: the monk
    Sarah Water: Fingersmith
    Wilkie Collins: the moonstone

    the poems of Christina Rossetti and Anne Duffy the worlds wife

    For funnys:
    Danny Wallace and Dave Gorman: are you Dave Gorman.
    Danny Wallace: yes man and join me

    this book is funny to (don't pay attention to the title): The Brentford Chainstore Massacre by Robert Rankin!!


  5. Happy Birthday, Deb. I second A Confederacy of Dunces, which is a comic masterpiece. To learn about the English sense of humour you could try Laughing Gas by PG Wodehouse.

  6. Thanks everyone! No worries, Rachel!
    I think I've got a lovely list already!

    Scarlet-Blue I keep forgetting to read Jonathan Coe, even though people keep telling me he's great (including teachers...). I'll definitely check him out now. As the Dutch say, you're the drop that made the bucket flood!

    AnaAmazon is definitely going to sell a copy of Confederacy of Dunces one of these days!
    GB, I hope you don't mind Laughing Gas is higher on my list of priorities than A handful of dust by Evelyn Waugh...

    Belle, I think I lost a stone laughing over The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse by Robert Rankin, so I've got high hopes for your other funny tips! I've got Fingersmith on my shelf, so I'll pick that one up soon to!

    Thanks again, everyone!

  7. I don't mind at all, Deb, and I'm glad you're developing a taste for humour! I like Dostoevsky too and Crime and Punishment is definitely one of the greatest novels I've ever read - but it didn't put a smile on my face!

  8. Teena Thyme? Nice!

    I'm a great fan of Graham Masterton, a very prolific writer of masterpieces such as 'the hell candidate', 'house of bones' and 'how to drive your man even wilder in bed'.

    Also, you should check out H.P. Lovecraft.

    a tad late, but i hope you had a happy birthday anyway.

  9. A bit late, but happy birthday, Debbie!
    I would recommend "The hitchiker's guide to teh galaxy" by Douglas Adams. You'll simply love it and have a lot of fun reading it.

    (Thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog. I'll be back again to read more) ;)

  10. Cool, thanks! I've listened to the original radio show, which I did love indeed!