#Boektober: update & leeslijst

He, wat gek, een Nederlands bericht op Wensend. Ja.
Na meer dan twee jaar bloggen in het Engels ben ik op een punt gekomen dat ik kies voor mezelf en terugschakel naar mijn moedertaal. Bloggen in het Engels was leuk en ik heb geweldige mensen leren kennen, maar.. jezelf uitdrukken in je eigen taal blijft toch een stuk fijner dan in een taal die je vrij goed, maar toch beperkter beheerst. Bij deze dus.. mijn eerste post in het Nederlands. Hopelijk weten mijn internationale volgers het Google Translateknopje te vinden. ;)

Ik ga mijn hele website naar het Nederlands vertalen en dat kost tijd, dus ondertussen ga ik rustig aan mijn leeservaringen hier weer updaten. Er komen bijvoorbeeld nog heel wat recensies aan. Een goede aftrap van mijn ‘nieuwe’ blog is het evenement #boektober, georganiseerd door Dagmar van By Dagmar Valerie. Wil je ook aanmelden? Dat kan bij dit evenement op Facebook.

Ik heb zelf niet echt een leesdip, maar gewoon weinig tijd om te lezen naast fulltime werken, dus ik ga deze maand gebruiken om weer een inhaalslag te maken voor mijn Goodreads Challenge. Op dit moment loop ik zeven boeken achter en aan het eind van het jaar wil ik 52 boeken gelezen hebben, dus werk aan de winkel. Hieronder zie je de boeken die ik in oktober wil lezen. Het museum van zonderlinge zaken van Alice Hoffman is al uit, dus nog maar zeven te gaan!

Zoals je ziet bevat deze stapel van alles wat: horror, fantasy, korte verhalen en algemene fictie. Hopelijk kom ik eraan toe om dit alles te lezen.


Anthony Doerr: “My story had to feel like puzzle pieces to the reader”

Slowly but steadily, Anthony Doerr conquered the bestseller lists with his historical novel ‘All the light we cannot see’. This story is about children who live during the Second World War. The blind Marie-Laure lives in France and is forced to deal with the invasion and occupation of the Germans. The young German Werner is one of those occupiers, but he has doubts about the intentions of his compatriots. ‘All the light we cannot see’ was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2014 and won a big prize in 2015: the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

How do you feel about your book being read by so many people?
“Every writer wants an audience and it’s lovely to have your book reaching people. It has changed my life a lot: first I got twenty mails a day and now I get a hundred. I hate saying no to things, but everything takes time away from your own writing, so I’m learning to politely say no. It takes me a while longer than it used to, but I try to answer all the emails. It’s amazing, this connection between reading and writing. I want to honor my readers, because they take about ten hours to read my book. I think I can afford to spend ten minutes writing back.”

The book was ten years in the making. How did you, as an American, feel writing about the Second World War from a non-American point of view?
“There’s no way I could ever fully understand what it would be like to be a girl in France in 1936, but I can try to understand what it would be like to be scared or to miss your father or to be hungry. So in some ways you’re relaying on the universality of human experience. In 1934 a character might be laughing for the same reason we are laughing now. And I think sometimes people cry for the same reasons all throughout human history. So it starts with some kind of commonality and then research tries to fill in the gap that remains after.”

‘All the light we cannot see’ is written from the point of view of children. How did you try to get into the mind of a child?
“For me, the book is about the difference between innocence and the loss of innocence. I didn’t so much read books with point of views from a child, but I remember my own childhood and I look at my children. I was a father for the whole time writing this book and I saw my boys growing up. I don’t think I would have been able to write these characters without having kids of my own.”

Did your children or other people in your personal life influence or inspire some of the characters?
“My mother had a skill that got you to think about the natural world and how everything is connected. Really there are pieces of my mother in a lot of the characters, like in Marie’s father or the people working at the museum. I think my brother is in some ways like Werner. He’s an electrical engineer and my mother always let him experiment. It takes a good parent to do that, because I’m too worried about my boys electrocuting themselves.

Marie-Laure is in a way inspired by my wife’s sister, who is disabled. It takes a lot of work, being around her, but it’s also wonderful, because she’s such a strong person. And there’s also my love of books. I love ‘Twenty thousand leagues under the sea’ by Jules Verne. I can vanish into books, so I kind of gave that to Marie. She gets a book for her birthday every year and she can vanish into that.”

All of these characters make an appearance in a book with a complicated structure, but everything only comes together in the end. How did you came up with this structure?
“I knew it was a big risk to have Marie at one end and Werner at the other and not having them in the same room until page 450. So I tried to break that chronology by reminding the reader that they are going to come together in the end. I hope the reader can feel this convergence throughout the story. And then I also tried to mimic puzzles, because I love puzzles. I was trying to structure the story so that it would feel like puzzle pieces to the reader.”

This interviewed was first published in Dutch at CLEEFT

Review: All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr

Author: Anthony Doerr
Title: All the light we cannot see
Genre: Historical fiction
Publishing Date: May 2014
Pages: 531
Source: Dutch publisher

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When Marie-Laure is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris, and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

I’ve read this book in January and still hadn’t written a review, oops… So, here it is eventually! I’ve heard so many good things about this one before I started reading it, but I didn’t really know what it was about, except that it is comparable to The Book Thief, which I’ve also read.

This book pleasantly surprised me. It took a while for me to really get into it, but when I did, it was wonderful. The characters are so relateable: Doerr describes every thought and idea into detail, so you’re able to follow the lines of thinking. On the other hand there are not too much details. Marie-Laure and Werner are both just children when the story begins and they’re both genius, but I never felt like they were too mature for their age. The descriptions of their thoughts are realistic and their traits are just perfect.

What I loved about this book was the structure. Doerr jumps from present to past in a natural way. The story never becomes dull and the jumps in time are perfectly timed. Because of that the story unfolds slowly, but surely and I loved how everything was connected in the end. While Marie-Laure is on the ‘good’ and Werner on the ‘bad’ side during the second WorldWar, I appreciated the way Doerr shows everything is not black and white. These characters are not necessarily good or bad. And they are not necessarily happy or unhappy according to their situations. I think this is the way everyone should look at the world, but unfortunately not everyone does, which makes this book refreshing. What’s not to love?

It’s Monday March 30th. What are you reading?

Hi bookworms! I’m sorry for not posting a What are you reading? update last week, but I didn’t really read anything in the week before, so I didn’t have a lot to tell you. ;) Last week was still a week of reading a few pages a day, as much as I could manage during this busy time, but I still wanted to show you. Plus I think there’s going to be a lot of reading during the next few weeks, so I wanted to tell you what’s on my to-read-list.

I’m still reading The Shining by Stephen King and I’m more than halfway through. I’m hoping I can finish this by tomorrow, so it’s still in time for the King’s March event. ;) Next to that I’m slowly making progress with the Dutch edition of How to build a girl by Caitlin Moran. I must say I’m not liking it as much as I thought I would, because it’s so over the top. But I won’t judge until I’ve truly finished reading.

When I’ve finished reading these, I’m going to start reading Cloud Atlas for the readalong, hosted by April from The Steadfast Reader and Katie from Bookish Tendencies. It’s been on my reading list since forever, so I’m really happy to finally delve into it. The first discussion is happening on Thursday. I’m not going to be in time for that one I guess, but I’m going to catch up!

It’s Monday. What are you reading?