March hasn’t been a great month for reading, as I was ill for two weeks. And with the first bad wave of Covid-19 hitting us in the Netherlands too, it was hard to concentrate at first. But still, I read 4 books! And that is better than nothing at all. I even collected some stars for my #startonyourshelfathon challenge.
There are two library book in here, but there is more coming up! Yes they did have to close, but before they did, they also brought their subscribers a surprise mystery reading package containing 5 books, to read during the upcoming weeks. So thoughtful! I must be getting bored saying this but, wow, I so love being subscribed to a library again.
So let’s get to it! What did I read this March?
16. In niemandsland by Ebbe Rost van Tonningen 3/5 (green star)
I have wanted to read this book for a very long time and have now finally come to it after finding it at the library. It’s a remarkable book about Ebbe’s search through history about his fathers death after the second world war and his mothers disownment from Dutch society. Both parents have had ties with the Dutch elites before and during the war and have had strong opinions about Jews and Communism and took part in the National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands. Both political as economical involved.
Ebbe’s search is remarkable because a lot of things turned out to be swept under the carpet by some very high established people. But why? And how? There are still many questions unsolved. Some parts in the book were heavy and difficult to read, not because it’s hurtful but because it partly reads as an economical-political report of names and incidents, which also include many parts from letters. Even besides this it was interesting to read and I am glad to be able to finally “cross it of my list”.
I have met Ebbe personally as we have worked together as board member and assistant for a little less than a year. He is someone to think deeply about everything, with a big passion for people. He helped me when I was having trouble, by having just one deep conversation and the way he could do that has always impressed me. Years later I found out he wrote this book. And even though he did tell me during that talk that he also had a difficult family, I never knew then what I knew when his book came about. Now having read this, I still think his way of looking at things is highly remarkable and I am glad to have worked together with him.
18. Fear nothing by Dean Koontz 2/5 (yellow star)
It took me a while to enjoy this book and I am not entirely sure I did. There were a lot of words not really saying anything and some parts were very tedious. For the first one third of the book I even wondered if I should finish at all. The last one third was actually the better part.
This story also reminded me a lot of that one with the rats which I reviewed as “if it had gotten a few more words and depth it would have been good”. Maybe we can use some words from this monkey-story and mix them up with the rats to get two good ones, because the subject of Fear nothing isn’t bad, there is just too much “blah”.
19. A severed head by Iris Murdoch 2/5 (green star)
When I found this book in a local free library, I imagined it was more of a cozy classic English detective story. I was wrong. And badly wrong too! This story, only consisting of 7 characters and playing out over the duration of two months is one big tragedy, a love drama none the less.
Even though romance never has been any of my favorite genres, I never read romance and can often be bored or irritated when a good story is being spoiled by a bad romance, this tragedy was somehow entertaining. It is written beautifully, almost poetic at some points, and the drama of infidelity, incest and even a suicide was somehow entertaining.
20. Black house (the Talisman #2) by Stephen King and Peter Straub 4/5 (silver star)
I LOVED THIS! We all have that one book you want to keep going forever, for me that’s eight, The Dark Tower series, and now it has become ten. How did I not know that Black House was a part in it? And seriously, even when it wouldn’t be Black House is GOOD!
I have read the Talisman a while ago and wasn’t sure if I liked it. It was written well, but I wasn’t used to reading fantasy back then. Not to say that I am now, but some kinds of fantasy are doing well for me. The Talisman was about a boy traveling in this world and another, to get a talisman which would save his mother. It was like other ‘epic’ fantasy travel stories, like the Hobbit (which bore me a lot btw). In Black House the young boy Jack has grown up and became a detective, retired young and moved to a little town. Kids start to disappear and the former detective is urged to help find who is responsible. Meanwhile he also re-discovers his ability to travel between worlds and that is (of course!) just what is needed to unravel the mystery and save that one special boy, the town and all different worlds from “breaking”. There is more horror in Black house than there was in the Talisman and there is some “little town detecting” going on as well, what makes it a good mix with the fantasy.
And that was it! These were my March 2020 reads. Have you read any of these too? What did you think about them? Do you have a recommendation for something similar? Or is there anything you would like to know? Ask me in the comments!