I've finished reading 3 Dutch books in the past bunch of weeks, trying to figure out now what to read next.

What I've read:

- Huize Volverve (House Volverve) by Monique van Roosmalen. Reasonably entertaining story about an elderly home where you see the flashbacks of those old people and how they interact with each other and how connected they are after all from the past. And no, this was not a murder mystery, heh.

- Het huis met de rode luiken (The house with the red shutters) by Marja Visscher. A historical fiction. A few people have actually existed, and this story is partly based on history, about when the Dutchies were trying to decide whether they wanted to support royalty or become a republic instead. And later a bit about the colonisation of Indonesia. But that's not the focus, just the backstory. The focus is a woman married to Herman Willem Daendels, about how she experienced her life with this unpredictable man. Not bad.

- De atlas van overal (The atlas of everywhere) by Deniz Kuypers. About the writer who's half Dutch and half Turkish. He's not understanding his own feelings and his relationship with his Turkish father very well, and tries to write this off (this book basically) in order to try to understand. There's a lot of (made up) stories about his father. Interesting mixed memories.

So yeah, that's some variety there. Other books I tried but dropped were:

- De Zwarte Wolvin (The black she-wolf, Loba Negra) by Juan Gomez-Jurado, the Dutch translation was awfully dry and felt out of place. A shame because the premise wasn't bad.
- Perfecte moord (Perfect Kill) by Helen Fields, I might actually read this someday but it is NOT recommended for reading before bed... Way too intense in the first chapter already.
- Ik zal je nooit meer (I will never you...) by Tatjana Almuli, totally not interested in this topic. Writing style's not fully to my liking either.
- Herinneringen aan hem (Reminders of him) by Colleen Hoover, still undecided, might try it a bit further but I want to read something completely different.

Maybe I want to read a StarTrek book now, or some other scifi. Time to search my library I guess.

I’ve finally read through Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk, a Polish writer. I remember what my mother told me before about Polish writers, that they’re kind of insane with their storytelling. And after having finished this book I think she’s right. It’s the second book of a Polish writer I’ve read, and this one’s only a slight bit less insane. Just a tad.

So I’m still reading with the theme of old ladies with murder cases here, except this lady isn’t quite investigating the murder cases per se. More like, she’s actually convinced that it should have been like this, because the stars told her so. She’s a complete astrology nut and tries to make horoscopes to explain everything in life. She’s also Vegan, and anything harming animals is outright murder. All those people who got killed were hunters, so it served them right too. The Animals (yes with a capital A there) probably took revenge on them. Of course nobody believes her, and many think of her as a madwoman.

When reading, I simply went with the flow of the story because it was all quite surreal. It was like watching a movie where you don’t know wtf everybody was smoking, but you just can’t stop watching. She doesn’t name people by their real names but has given all of them nicknames that suits them (according to her logic). Big Foot, Oddball, Dizzy, Good News, etc. I’m also thinking the people in her area are somewhat strange, which is probably an understatement. The difficulty is that I can’t get into too much detail here lest I might spoil the story. This whole book has been quite a weird trip.

Was it a fun read? Well, it’s kept me occupied. Was it interesting? Well, yes, but it was also weird. Do I understand this person? Not really, no. Except a bit near the end, some stuff kind of got explained to attribute to this turn of events. At least she’s got friends who cares about her, which is quite a redeeming factor in this story.

I’m trying to read De moordclub (op donderdag) which is a Dutch translation of The Thursday murder club. It feels like a slog to me because the translation is a bit too… stiffly following the original English text, which completely ruins the Dutch reading flow. I mean, while reading what those people in the book are saying to each other I can think of a thousand other words I’d have used that’d make more sense for them to say. I even shook my head at one convo, which is bad mojo.

In my opinion, a translator should feel comfortable to go out of bounds a little with the translation so long the original idea is still intact but where the reading feels more natural to the language used. Right now I don’t have the illusion that the translator has actually read the book and is trying to think themselves in the roles of those characters. It feels very jarring because the English style of writing and word choices doesn’t always fit the Dutch flow. It is just annoying.

My mom’s bought this Dutch version (which I’m trying to read), and I wonder if she’s going to enjoy the story as much as I did with the English version.

Since I enjoyed the Thursday Murder Club so much, I’ve checked if there are other books that could capture that general atmosphere as well; A bunch of old people solving a murder (or two, or more). You know, kinda a Murder She Wrote feel now that I think about it (and yes, I do like waching that series too). Turns out there are a bunch of suggestions that I could check out. The first one suggested is The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood, so that’s the one I decided to read first. And I happen to just have finished it.

So we start off with a main character that’s in her 70s (yay, one criterium fulfilled!). She’s great at creating crypto puzzles for a newspaper and is pretty fit for her age. Fit enough for her to go for a swim in the river she lives next to. When she gets close to her neighbour’s place, she hears him shouting and then a gunshot. Drat, she can’t climb up on the neighbour’s shore since she’s an old woman after all! She has to swim back and then calls the police. Turns out her neighbour’s shot dead! Dun dun dun, a murder mystery’s born! (And that’s the other criterium done!)

During her investigation (of course she’s gonna investigate, can’t leave anything fully to the cops nowadays!) she manages to rope in two more girls into her club. Sometimes they get in pretty darn tight situations, and if that’s not enough, more murders happen during their snooping! I mean, during their investigating! It got more gripping in the second half as they took more risks where they really have to work together. I have to say that I already suspected ‘whodunnit’ when I was around three-fourths into the book, so at least the plot isn’t that overly convoluted. :P

It was nice reading overall, a bit a change of pace here. Ok, ok, still about oldbies solving murders but they’re different oldbies with different backgrounds (and while we’re at it, also different murders), so still a change of pace! Just like with the Thursday Murder Club, this story is happening in the UK in the modern day and age where laptops and mobile phones exist. I like that, I appreciate that there are murder mysteries with a slight Murder She Wrote vibe but totally updated to the modern times. I would say this is another series (I read a sequel is upcoming) that I would like to continue reading.

I’ve finished reading De goede grap van Norman Foreman by Julietta Henderson. Original title is The Funny Thing about Norman Foreman.

It was an alright read. There are two main characters, Norman and his mother. The chapters are written from their perspectives, alternating between those two. The roadtrip in the story was at least something, they did meet interesting and weird characters on the way. I can’t help but feel that the story could have been a bit more dynamic. The guy travelling with them was almost a HAL 9000. Very convenient. :P

My annoyances are that the mother was quite an overthinker in the extreme of ‘We better go home, because it’s too scary’. Norman was the other way around and kept thinking about what his recently deceased buddy would’ve said about the trip. After a while that got a bit tedious to read over and over again.

When they finally came closer to the end of their roadtrip, the pace accelerated like crazy. And you know what? That part was actually very fun to read. It’s ridiculous, very unlikely, but still fun to read. That was a very welcome diversion.

The ending was just a bit underwhelming. I mean, it was totally expected but still… I’ve read books before which has roughly the same kind of deal and they managed to milk their endings more. I wanted to see some more about Norman’s performances there, but ah well. Onwards to the next book I guess.

A few days ago I finished reading The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman and I liked it enough that I wanted to continue on with the next book in this series: The Man Who Died Twice. With the same team of our old people who try to solve murders in their peculiar way.

This time it is serious enough that the MI5 and MI6 are getting involved as well. And the mafia from USA. And some local gangsters. We get to take a peek at Elizabeth’s past, watch a bunch of CCTV footages, and frame people in order to get justice done. I mean, people shouldn’t have beaten up poor Ibrahim, they had it coming!

I have to say that this started out a bit slow, and I thought ‘aw no, I don’t really want any secret service involved’. But it did turn out to be a pleasant read once again. Whole sections that could have been boring, weren’t boring because of the great interactions of our bunch of septuagenarians. I love the interactions with Joyce, and I love the chapters from her perspective. Though the chapters with Ron and Ibrahim are fun as well.

I read that there are four books planned in total, so there are 2 more books in this series to look forward to. I definitely would want to continue reading about our lovely geriatrics and their antics. And apparently film rights of the books have been sold to Steven Spielberg, so I’m curious if there’s any movie forthcoming. I think it’d make a fun movie.

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Finally finished reading this book, The Thursday Murder Club written by Richard Osman. Yup, the guy who's presenting in Pointless and Richard Osman's House of Games, both currently on BBC. I was interested in this book because he's proven himself with a fairly dry (British) humor in those game shows that I liked and hoped to see the same in his book as well.

It was an fun read. A retirement community has a small group of geriatrics who try to solve murders. On Thursdays, mind you, because that's when the Jigsaw Room is available for their meetings. Conveniently they've also found a name for their club.

At first just cold cases, but then a real murder pops up. Oooh, exciting! So they try to solve that one. They get in touch with 2 cops who were assigned to the murder case, quite interesting how they got in touch too. And then another murder happens. Ooh, even more exciting!

Suspects start popping up left and right, but are they really the murderers? They learn a lot more about those suspects than they thought, but did they even get closer to solving the case?

Anyway, it's a nice read. Every character is clearly defined. You'd expect Joyce to be overly excited at the prospect of getting jailed, you know.. she'd get *experience* in what it's like to be a prisoner! Oh and would you like a slice of cake please? Elizabeth is quite the pushy person, it's gonna be done whether others want it or not! And you can count on her on solving a few side cases! Ron's good at impromptu commentary and Ibrahim happily joins in with some facts.

I see there's a second book out in this series. I might seriously consider to give that one a read as well so I can continue reading about the antics of those octogenarians. Or were they septuagenarians? Either way, pretty damn old!

I finished reading 'De Rat van Amsterdam' last night by Pieter Waterdrinker, it was quite an interesting read. In a way, the author mocked the current day society.. but also mocked the people who complained about this.

So the people who complain the most about their country and then try to find a new life in another country, are also the people who fuck up the most and then want to go back to their own country... the very country they complained and whined about to begin with. Grass isn't always greener on the other side I guess.

The charity lotteries were portrayed as giant scams (which they probably are, the ones hosting those lotteries sure manage to buy expensive stuff). This particular one in the story has huge similarities to our 'Postcodeloterij', a style of lottery where your zip code is the lottery number. I absolutely hate this one. Even if you didn't join in this scam, you know that "you lost the lottery" when the number falls on your zip code. It's a huge emotional blackmail for a lot of people so they join in anyway out of fear of missing the prize. It's just despicable, really. This lottery in the book manages to capture that sentiment extremely well, yigh! The author did a good job here.

There were a lot of subtle things in the book that I'm still trying to digest, but it was a pretty good read. I think I need to read something more happy next, less dystopian!

For $30, almost 100 game-related ebooks.

Pondering for myself whether the latest StoryBundle is worth getting. My gaming interests are a bit niche, I'm probably interested in just a few books. Still, looks like a pretty good bundle for a huge game enthusiast who likes to read.

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