3 January 2007

Books, books, books and... more books

I guess it's time to say something about the books I read :) I love books, and I don't think I have ever spent a day without reading (well, since I learned to read anyway). My top 5 list of favourite books looks something like this:

1) The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien. It's without doubt my favourite book. I doubt I need to explain what is is about :) Tolkien writes incredibly well, and I love the way his writings are inspired by myths, and how detailed everything is. I tried to learn Quenya a few years ago, but I just couldn't find enough time. Plus, it's difficult to learn a language on your own.

2) Kinderen van Moeder Aarde, Het Helse Paradijs & Het Gulden Vlies van Thule, all by Thea Beckman. Okay, so they're actually three books, but it's a trilogy, and for me they count as one ;) And no, it's not a lame excuse to cram more books into my top 5 list. Or maybe it is... Anyway; they're about the world a few centuries after WWIII. This was a nuclear war, and just about wiped out civilization, but of course a few people survive. There has been a significant change though; the north and south pole are no longer where they used to be, and so the entire climate of the world changes. The glaciers on Greenland melt, and the land, now called Thule, becomes green and pleasant. It's a kind of Utopia; no war, little crime, everybody has what they need, the environment is protected and respected, etc. And it's ruled by women. But then Thule is discovered by people from the Baden Empire in Europe. Their society is the total opposite of that on Thule. Here men are more important than women, there are plenty of wars, they don't respect the environment and the greater part of the population is poor and oppressed by the upper class.

3) Stad in de storm, by Thea Beckman. This is another of my absolute favourites. It's about Utrecht during the Year of Disaster (1672).

4) Beowulf, by, well, Anonymous. It's a wonderful story, and brilliantly written. Though perhaps I should have learned Old English *before* reading it...

5) Harry Potter 1-6, by JK Rowling. Once again I'm cramming multiple books into one, lol.

I guess if I were to make this list again later, it would contain different books. I love so many, and my 'favourites' change with my mood, though The Lord of the Rings will always be number one. Like I already said (wrote?), it's very well written, the story is great, and everything, cultures, places, people, history, languages... it's all detailed and complete. And, LotR is nicely connected with my family history, which makes it even more special to me.
I think the Harry Potter books will always be amongst my five favourites as well. The story is brilliant, and I love Rowling's style of writing. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was the first book I read in English, I think I was 11 at that time. I've learned most of my English from Rowling's books (later also from other authors, like Tolkien), and I owe my top grades in English to her :)
Thea Beckman is my favourite Dutch author. She mostly writes historical fiction, like Stad in de Storm and Kruistocht in Spijkerbroek (Crusade in Jeans, her most famous book), and her books have really made history come alive to me. She romanticizes history a bit, and her books are regarded as children's/teenager's books, but I don't really care. She writes extremely well and her books keep my Dutch from getting too rusty. Her three books about Thule are probably the books which have made the most impact on my life.
I only finished Beowulf a few weeks ago, but it was a fascinating story. Reading it was both interesting and agonizing. Interesting because it's so old and says so much about the past, and agonizing because I read it in Old English, which I don't speak (yet...). It had glossaries, and many words are similar to Norwegian/Dutch/English words, and by scribbling down a hasty translation while reading I managed to understand it. Mostly. I intend to learn Old English sometime in the future, when I don't have physics anymore ;)

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