Last summer there was a new TV program on Dutch television called Moby Dick. Two well-known Dutch were invited to discuss four books each.
Books that, according to presenter Matthijs van Nieuwkerk, have given your life a different direction, opened your eyes or knocked you off your feet.
I was thinking which four books I would choose, if I got an invitation for the program (as if, haha). Quite a challenge, I can tell you. First, I made a list of the books that have left the most impression on me. Then I thought about the books that may have influenced the choices I made in my life. Or books that have indeed opened my eyes, or where things suddenly make sense.
Compiling such a list wasn’t that easy after all. I mainly read books to relax and apparently I often choose novels that others advise me to read. That, by the way, is working absolutely fine. Only most of these books fall into the category: beautiful book, but it does not stand out. Mmmm, difficult.
And yet…..the more I thought about it, the more I realised that I secretly created a list in my head. I think that such lists change over time, but for now…..here are my four “Moby Dick ” books:
1. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
Who doesn’t know the book? But who has really read it? I first heard about Anne Frank in Madam Tussaud in Amsterdam. There she suddenly was, with her diary at her writing table. A voice read from the diary. I was nailed to the ground and I completely ignored the rest of Madam Tussaud. My mother told me who Anne Frank was. Once home, I ran to the library and borrowed her diary. I was about 10 years old and according to the age classification of the library I was still too young, but I didn’t care.
The next visit to Amsterdam was to the Anne Frank house, the door, the entire building. It all made a huge impression on me. The war was suddenly tangible and became real for me as a child. Here I realised what a war does to someone, the uncertainty, the fear. At the same time she also writes about the daily worries, falling in love and her dreams. Anne Frank, who did not survive the war, the first book I read without a happy ending.
Click on The Diary of a Young Girl to order via The Bookdepository or click on the book below to order on Amazon.
2. The house of the Spirits – Isabel Allende
In my last blog I already wrote about it, the magical realism of Isabel Allende. The house with the Spirits is her first novel. It is also the first book I have read from her. This book reads like a fairy tale for grown-ups. It was my first encounter with a writer who makes sure that you are able to escape daily life in no time. The ultimate form of relaxation. The house with the Spirits is the book of books for me. An extraordinary story, original, intense, mysterious and full of fantasy. If you would ask me why I love reading, then read this book first.
Click on The House of the Spirits to order via The Bookdepository or click on the book below to order on Amazon.
3. People like us – Joris Luyendijk
Joris Luyendijk knows how to explain how news is made. While reading this book, my eyes became bigger and bigger each time. This book describes the period that Joris Luyendijk was a correspondent in the Middle East. Believing the news without question was never a good idea. After reading this book, you realise that it is important to consult several media channels. That a story always has two sides proves this book once again. Joris Luyendijk gives a glimpse behind the scenes, he tells us what his experiences have been in the Middle East. But above all, how these experiences often did not match with what we saw in the news media. Sometimes shocking, sometimes funny and certainly an eye-opener.
Click on People like us to order via The Bookdepository or click on the book below to order on Amazon.
4. The 4-Hour Workweek – Timothy Ferriss
The book was recommended by a former colleague. A 4-Hour Workweek did sound very attractive to him. It didn’t sound wrong to me either. I normally don’t like self-help books. This time….get used to the American (I am amazing) style of writing and there you go ……. This book may not have really changed my life, but definitely my vision on work. I feel have to get everything out of life and not wait and save for my retirement. Dare to say goodbye to your 9-5 job (done it twice now) to start for yourself and do what you really like. In Australia I had my own consultant assignments and in London I started writing. The subtitle of this book is “escape 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich”. The first two have been successfully achieved since reading this book, the last part is still work in progress haha.
Click on The 4-Hour Workweek to order via The Bookdepository or click on the book below to order on Amazon.
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