I’m back! I finally have a new internet connection and I have given my website a complete make-over to show a bit more professionalism mixing in with all the fun book tags, reviews and blogs. After all, I have officially started calling myself an online marketeer after having done the job “unofficially” for two years now. Move over, imposter syndrome! So, I decided to celebrate the new, streamlined look by doing one of those fun book tags, considering I’ve been updating the “professional pages” and I need some diversity. I have had this tag lined up for some time, it’s the My Life in Books Tag and I found it over at Dreamland Book Blog.
Find a book for each of your initials
So, I don’t have a middle name because I’m Dutch and it is not our custom. I do have awesome initials to make up for it, though, because my first name starts with an A and my last name starts with a Z. Yes. I am the entire alphabet. You may worship me if you like. But because I always try to make these things last longer, I’m adding in each individual part of my name: Anouk van der Zee.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It was the first book I read from this author and I have since bought her other books as well. I fell in love with her Ted Talk on single stories. But it was Americanah that first made me see the world differently. From reading the book, I realised how much we think of those unlike us as Other. We try not to, but it’s so ingrained in everything that I was suddenly seeing so much silent, unnoticed (and often unintentional) forms of racism. It really was an eye-opener.
Verdermeer by Tahereh Mafi (English title Furthermore). I have the book in Dutch, although I have yet to read it. It sounds like an absolutely wonderful, imaginative and creative story, but just as with Alice in Wonderland (don’t kill me) I have never found the time to actually sit down and read it. You know what? It’s going on my TBR right now. I’m almost through Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson anyway and Oathbringer isn’t released until Nov 14th.
Dochter van het woud by Juliet Marillier (English title Daughter of the Forest), the first book in the Sevenwaters trilogy. As a child I was in love with fairy tales of all sorts, and as a teen I missed reading them. This book was one of the first fantasy books I read, and it made me realise how fairy tales could be improved: by giving them real life consequences. It really moved me, and made me consider consequences in a way I never had before. Also, it got me hooked on fantasy.
Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier. Oh yes, I own a book called Zombies vs. Unicorns and let me tell you, I have never regretted this buy. It’s a collection of short stories by different authors who each champion either a zombie or a unicorn in the ultimate showdown on which is better. All of the stories were great reads. Team unicorn, btw.
Count your age along your bookshelf: which book is it?
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince! I started on my favourite bookcase, had to regretfully skip over my Brandon Sanderson collection, my Earth Girl series, AND my entire Sarah J. Maas collection. I have a tendency to group all my favourite books together, so that I can take them all in at once. I am currently rereading the Stormlight Archive books (Sanderson) in anticipation of the third book coming out in little over two weeks. I am contemplating rereading each of the other series mentioned above as well. Harry Potter too, although I read the whole series (and then bingewatched the movies) not too long ago.
Pick a book set in your city/country
I’m picking Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom! It’s not technically in The Netherlands, but Leigh Bardugo certainly lent Ketterdam a Dutch flair so I’m counting it. Otherwise I would have to go with The Fault in Our Stars and I am at the moment so completely over the entire John Green hype that I really don’t want to do that. Leigh Bardugo is cool, and her books are awesome, and I’m totally picking them!
Pick a book that represents a destination you’d love to travel to
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh and The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury – are you getting the theme? I would love to explore the Middle East, because I have never been there and it is bursting with history and knowledge and colours. I’ve always been enchanted by it, although I must admit there are many places I would love to travel to. I’ve never been to Africa either, or Asia. I’m very familiar with the European countries, because we used to always roadtrip across it on family vacations. My brother and I are also planning to cross off cross-country travelling the USA off our bucketlist.
Pick a book that’s your favourite colour
Do not do this to me. My favourite colour changes like crazy – it all depends on my moods. One day I could love orange (Illuminae) or purple (Shadow and Bone), other days I’m into yellow (Earth Flight). Right now I’ve moved away from green (A Court of Wings and Ruin) and blue (The Assassin’s Blade), and am currently a teal girl. So I’m going to go with Earth Girl.
Which book do you have the fondest memories of?
Oh dear. That is an equally mean question, because each book I love elicits very real emotions from me. Almost all of the books I’ve read as a kid transport me back to that time in my life – there is a lot to be said for nostalgia and remembering things that were a very long time ago. What I also very much love to do is recommend books to people. Recently, I gave one of my oldest friends A Court of Thorns and Roses (Sarah J. Maas) and she texted me for days how she loved it, how far she had gotten into it and then to tell me she had finished it and wanted to read the second book. It just feels so good to make someone happy with a book that has made you happy! So similarly, I have really good feelings about Ready Player One (Ernest Cline), a book that has never failed me when I recommend it to people. And finally, I loved The Name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss) because I had pestered my brother for months to read it even though he wasn’t into fantasy books. I just knew he would fall in love with Kvothe als a character. When he read it, he did, and I lured him over to the dark side. He is an avid fantasy fan now, and I finally have someone to talk books with!
Which book did you have the most difficulty reading?
I hardly dare say it, but I can never make it through V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series. I don’t know why, because the premise is amazing and I do also like the lead characters. I love the world as well, but something just doesn’t click for me. I know that when she publishes under V.E. instead of Victoria, it’s adult fantasy, but it definitely reads as a YA. It has an amazing world of four dimensions, but I think she hasn’t utilitized it as much as a true adult fantasy would. I feel I miss parts of the story. I keep itching to read it, because Black Londen ~fascinates~ me, but when I’m actually reading it, all I want to do is put it back down and take some distance. I can’t say why. It has everything I want, and yet… I read the first book twice, but now I’m stuck a few chapters into the second. Maybe in a few months I’ll try again.
Which book will give you the biggest sense of accomplishment when finishING it?
All those classics I have in my bookcase and that I have yet to read. I know all their stories, but I never get around to actually reading the books. The Count of Monte Cristo, definitely. All of the Jane Austen’s I have yet to read (I’m about halfway). Faust, Le Mort D’Arthur. And some non-fiction books such as The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. Luckily I’ve already read a fair few in this category, and I’ve tackled a lot of the Greek/Roman classics, so that’s my redemption.