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Alexander the Great

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  1. Alexander's Literary Odyssey 2017

    Currently Reading Twilight of the Romanovs, by Philipp Blom & Veronica Buckley Read in 2017 Het verborgen leven van Eurídice Gusmão, by Martha Batalha De ondergang van het oude Europa, by Miranda Carter Met de deur in huis, by Kristina Vindevogel & Hendrik De Clerck The Cider House Rules, by John Irving In het gezelschap van de courtisane, by Sarah Dunant Oorlog en Terpentijn, by Stefan Hertmans Pure, by Andrew Miller Blood & Beauty, by Sarah Dunant Het kraaienmeisje, by Eriksson & Sundquist Het hongervuur, by Eriksson & Sundquist De laatste aanwijzingen, by Eriksson & Sundquist Wat Alleen Wij Horen, by Saskia De Coster Until I Find You, by John Irving Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs Hollow City, by Ransom Riggs Library of Souls, by Ransom Riggs Sickened, by Julie Gregory The Dark Room, by Rachel Seiffert We Need To Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, by George R. R. Martin The Sherlockian, by Graham Moore Vele hemels boven de zevende, by Griet op de Beeck Gij nu, by Griet op de Beeck The Fourth Hand, by John Irving Joe Speedboot, by Tommy Wieringa Matilda, by Roald Dahl Before I Go To Sleep, by S.J. Watson It, by Stephen King The Returned, by Seth Patrick The Woman Upstairs, by Claire Messud Freakonomics, by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner The Shock of the Fall, by Nathan Filer Last Night in Twisted River, by John Irving Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie Cards on the Table, by Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot's Christmas, by Agatha Christie Five Little Pigs, by Agatha Christie The Labours of Hercules, by Agatha Christie The Blood Detective, by Dan Waddell The Quickening Maze, by Adam Foulds
  2. Alexander's Literary Odyssey 2017

    This isn’t the first book I’ve noticed this with either. The errors are usually small - spelling errors, or just a typo (something like ‘suppper’ instead of ‘supper’), but sometimes even a wrong character name! It grates me and tends to get me out of the zone for a few seconds so to speak. It’s very annoying.
  3. Alexander's Literary Odyssey 2017

    This week, the bundle with The Ultimate Principle (which holds The Holographic Principe and The Solace System), two shirts and a zipped hoodie arrived. They're so awesome - I can't wait to wear the glow-in-the-dark shirt to the concert. For his birthday, my dad got a coupon to have a sports item personalised at the sports store. I'd said for a while I'd like a shirt with my name on it, so my parents gave it to me. I got this done on two running shirts: I also got this Epica keychain in this week: Simone, the singer, also liked a tweet I posted about The Solace System that had an Epica pun in it Joe Speedboot review This novel came out over ten years ago and I remember a lot of fuss being made about it. It was an instant classic. For some reason, I hadn't got around to reading it, however. A few weeks back, when a newer colleague noticed how much I love reading, she mentioned how she had read this book as a teenager and hadn't liked it at all, then a year later had to read it for school and then she liked it much better. So I picked it up. I was very pleasantly surprised. The last book I read was a disappointment, the one before that wasn't satisfactory either, the one before that was good but punched me in the gut. This novel really sparked my love for reading again. It wasn't particularly special, there is no grand plot with big adventures. But I like how the author mainly focuses on two or three characters, with some others thrown in there because characters do need family and friends, without it becoming too complicated. I felt it was quite toned down, and I liked that. It's very, very Dutch, though. Some words I didn't understand and culturally, it's also very Dutch. But the author writes fluently. He clearly cares about the characters, yet still manages to keep his distance. Everything is written from the main character's perspective, and still Wieringa finds clever ways to tell us more about the lives of other characters without them just telling the main character. I liked the flow of the story as well. The pacing is excellent, the time jumps are not too abrupt and usually described by the changes in nature. I don't usually like reading about nature, but it worked really well here. The ending also came naturally. It involved one choice made by the author I felt was unnecessary and at first, I felt it kind of brought down the novel. But he ended up making it work. It was not too short, not too long - just right. And that describes this entire novel to me: "Just right." Moving on to a next book, I've ordered three Stephen King novels today, but those will only arrive tomorrow. So I picked up Matilda by Roald Dahl. After Joe Speedboot, I don't feel like I could really read another Dutch novel now without comparing. I need something else entirely.
  4. Alexander's Literary Odyssey 2017

    The EP is wonderful ❤️ I'm trying to avoid reading reviews, though. I always have a hard time reading anything negative about something so dear to me. I couldn't avoid this one review, which was not very positive but not completely negative either. But it bothered me so much that the writer said Simone's lyrics are "wonky as always", then he gave an example of lyrics that were written by Mark. Like, dude, do your research, you know? Somewhere else I read a review for THP and that author justly pointed out that Simone's a much better lyricist than Mark is. She writes more poetically and is much better at building up the story. Mark's lyrics are usually much more clear-cut, straight-forward and out there. I still like most of his lyrics, don't get me wrong, but when I hear a phrase that makes me go "what now?" it's usually something he wrote. I just get so annoyed that this author slammed Simone for something she didn't even write. Dude. I'm now also super excited to see them live again. I mean, I always am, but they did say they'd be playing one or two songs off their EP the coming live shows. And I have a new favourite Epica track that comes from the EP, Architect of Light. But then Decoded Poetry has a beautiful choir right in the middle. These are the songs that didn't make the album but they are SO good. Fans are now discussing which songs definitely should have made the album but didn't, and which made the album but shouldn't have. I agree that songs like Tear Down Your Walls and The Cosmic Algorithm are good songs, but not as good as some of the stuff on the EP. But I also feel like it's pointless discussing this - and in a way, isn't it great that this stuff is better than some of the album? The band did explain they had to keep some things back to make the album not too overwhelming. It makes a lot of sense. And I prefer this happening - getting these really, really good songs on an EP in between albums, rather than all the best songs having made the album and then getting an EP, which you eagerly wait for, and having to conclude you kinda get why these songs didn't make the cut. My preorder didn't arrive yet, but I'd also preordered the EP on iTunes and while the official release was on Friday, around 11.30 pm on Thursday I got a notification it was available and I listened right away. I'm now anxious for the bundle to arrive, to really take in the excellent artwork and try on my new shirts and hoodie. One of the shirts is a glow-in-the-dark: I like how it says 2017 because this year has been very much an Epica-year for me. Apologies for the rant - I get carried away when it comes to Epica. About reading. I didn't read on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. Five entire days. This has never happened to me before - I'm the guy who reads the breakfast items. I read every second I can. Ever since I know how to read, I've not gone a single day without reading. But I was mentally blocked this week, it's been a very tough week, I could hardly breathe at times. I'll be glad to see my therapist on Monday. I also got a chance to hang out with my goddaughter on Friday - I went home for lunch and got to hold her, and then after work (I left on time, I usually work overtime on Fridays) and I got to cuddle with her and then sleep with her next to me, my hand on her, and she was sleeping with her fist against my nose. Before that, when we were cuddling, I was talking to her and she is so incredibly responsive. Babbling, making faces, it's adorable. I love her so much. The Fourth Hand review I gave this book one star. It barely feels like an Irving novel at all - and it pains me to not have enjoyed it, because he's my favourite male author. This was a lot shorter than his other novels and it didn't have the trademark themes and characters. Irving does seem to have a thing with sex-related quirkiness, but it was just too much in this novel. There was no story, no arch, no drama. The characters felt very flat, not at all like real people. There was nobody I could connect to. They were all just so weird in a pointless way. At times, I wondered if maybe Irving was taking the wee at himself. It almost felt like someone was trying to write a parody, and failing. All in all, a very forgettable novel. I'm moving on to Tommy Wieringa's Joe Speedboot.
  5. Alexander's Literary Odyssey 2017

    How are you dealing with their absence? She's doing much better, thanks for asking She's having a lot of cramps which makes it hard for her to sleep, but it's normal at her age. I will post a proper review later, but I just finished my book. It's 1:50 am and I'm crying my eyes out. I'd spoil a very important part of the story, but it just punched me in the gut. Hit too close to home, was too unexpected. I can't remember last time a book made me cry like this - tears streaming down my face, choking up, trying not to wake anyone up, physically unable to keep reading but also having the need to continue for my own sanity. I even mailed my therapist in the middle of the night. This is too gut-wrenching. I wasn't ready. I wasn't even going to finish my book. It accidentally happened.
  6. The end of the era of personal car ownership

    I own a car - this is my second one. I'd use an alternative if there was one that provided as much freedom and other advantages, like taking you straight from point A to point B. The system you're describing sounds a lot like just taking a taxi, or am I understanding it wrong?
  7. What are you listening to?

    What can I say - I'm addicted to Simone Simons.
  8. Your sports

    Two months ago, I took up spinning classes. I wasn't convinced but I grew to love it and now I'm addicted!
  9. Jogging Diary

    Awesome that you got back to running, @frankie!
  10. Alexander's Literary Odyssey 2017

    Thanks to the support here and some mails from my therapist, I have been getting back into my reading and finished my book! Also nice was Simone Simons (singer of Epica) liking some of my tweets again. Always makes me so damn happy. Those of you who know me a bit will know I'm a huge Epica/Simone Simons fan Also, my goddaughter is one month old today so we went over and I got to hold her and changed her diaper for the first time. Little girl stole my heart. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms This is a collection of stories about Dunk, a hedge knight and his squire, Egg, set Westeros about 100 years before the events in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels. Westeros is still under Targaryen rule. I liked these stories as an expansion of the world we knows from the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Whereas that series is mainly focused on lords and ladies from the important Houses and their children, and on political intrigue, these stories show us what life is like in this verse for "smallfolk". I've seen people say the characters are a bit flat, but I do think Dunk is very interesting and shows some growth. The stories aren't overly complicated, but we do get a bit of history. What I also liked about these stories is the nuance they show, that grey zone between right and wrong. This is an enjoyable read for any Game of Thrones fan and an excellent way to dive deeper into Westeros and its history. If more stories are published, I hope to be able to read them! My only criticism is the repetition of certain phrases, over and over again, which were driving me crazy by the end, namely: - "a clout in the ear" - "oak and iron, guard me well, or else I'm dead, and doomed to hell" - "Dunk the lunk, thick as a castle wall" - "Tanselle Too-Tall she was called, but not too tall for me" I did notice this in the later novels in A Song of Ice and Fire as well - constant repetition of certain phrases or words. But that really is my only criticism. A nice read to take your mind off things, to lose yourself in.
  11. Your Book Activity - July 2017

    July's proving to be my best reading month of the year - just finished my fifth book of the month. I work about 44 hours a week and go running or spinning after work several days a week, so my reading number had been much lower than it used to be.
  12. Alexander's Literary Odyssey 2017

    Thanks for your support, guys. It genuinely means a lot to me, especially during times like these. Keeps me going a bit
  13. The Last Film You Saw - 2017

    I saw Memento this weekend. Very interesting and atypical, but I liked it!
  14. Alexander's Literary Odyssey 2017

    @frankie Interestingly, what made me pick up WNtTaK is that a few years back, I was obsessed with Columbine, wanting to understand, to grasp it. I was especially intrigued by Klebold, as Harris always seemed like the lost case between the two of them. Then discovering Nightwish' "The Kinslayer" was about Columbine, when I was so into Nightwish, was almost creepy. I just went and read your review of Columbine. I hope I can find the book by Sue Klebold that you mentioned, as well. My therapist didn't mention any books and I think really her being away is one giant exercise. She did very much stress she would still be available and I could mail her all the time and she'd get back to me. She knew I'd panic and when and she told me before she even left how she would help me through that from on her holiday. But it still sucks. I do realise I'm very lucky with her!
  15. Alexander's Literary Odyssey 2017

    I have that book and was thinking of reading it next because of this! The book I'm reading now is one I borrowed from a colleague, though, so I'm taking that first. There are some allusions to Columbine in We Need to Talk About Kevin. The long sentences make for difficult reading at first, but you do get used to it and the experience is worth it. Of course it's not exactly a beach read. I did like how atypical Eva, Kevin's mother was - and how unapologetic yet remorseful she was. My reading's been downhill a bit because I'm not doing well mentally and my therapist's on holiday so I'm not seeing her for about four weeks, when usually I see her every week. And stuff like this is at the root of my issues - her being away. I can mail her and she answers but last week, she had some issues and couldn't get mails out when I was at my worst. I'm at the halfway point now. I hope I feel better soon. An Epica song during spinning class and the teacher liking it so much was awesome, though (we got to put in requests). Lots of changes at work and people being on holiday doesn't help either. I need for things to be the same as usual, I don't deal well with change at all I'll be glad when this is over, my therapist back, work back to normal.
  16. Athena's Reading List 2017

    You never told us you live in a bookstore!
  17. Alexander's Literary Odyssey 2017

    We Need to Talk About Kevin review It took me a while to get used to the writing style, but I did feel like the read was worth the effort in the end. This is not an easy book to read. There are no characters I could relate to, or even liked. The sentences are long and feel quite artificial at first. I considered giving up on it, but then decided against that because the content is compelling, there's no denying that. This book is written in the form of letters written by Eva, whose son committed a high school massacre, to her husband. As someone else said - while every letter starts with "Dear Franklin" and reads like a letter, at some point it turns into prose. Eva's memory of events that happened years ago seemed too detailed to be credible, which is why this would have worked better as a regular book. It wouldn't have been so glaring, wouldn't have required quite so much suspension of disbelief. I have mixed feelings about the book. As I said, it took me a while to get used to the style and I'm not entirely sure what I feel about this book. It's not a book I feel sad to be finished with, but it's not bad either. I do feel like it's one of those books you can only really judge after having finished it. At first, it seems boring and pretentious - but it's worth it to stick with it until the end. Because even though I didn't like any of the characters and even though Eva attributed characteristics and intent to her son at an age where he surely was too young to even be capable of that - this is a riveting read. It's unlike any other book. You're not really supposed to like any of them, I think. I thought the juxtaposition between Eva and her husband, Franklin, was intriguing. Whereas Eva would see evil in her son at every turn, to the point where as a reader you start to question just how truthful her memories are - Franklin bends over backwards to make excuses for his son, refusing to believe he could ever do wrong. I've felt exasperated at both, but mostly at Franklin. Then again, we only get one side of the story and it's Eva's. The twist in the end I only saw coming about a page and a half before it was explicitly stated - and it really turns the book around. If there's such a thing with a book like this, it did have a satisfying and interesting end. In a way, the book is like Kevin a bit - impossible to really like, impossible to feel attached to, impossible to feel relaxed around. But it's so different, so intriguing, that you can't just put it down and walk away. I'd recommend this book, but not to everyone.
  18. Your Book Activity - July 2017

    I'd say 200 pages is really giving it your best shot! I used to be unable to quit a book, but sometimes it's the only possibility. What a shame for this to happen when you looked forward to it!
  19. Frankie reads 2017

    @frankie I watched GG when it aired, but I don't think I've seen every single episode and I also think I forgot a lot. I plan to re-watch the entire series - do you recommend waiting to read the book until after I've seen it again, or are there no real spoilers?
  20. Athena's Reading List 2017

    Wow, I really admire you for having the courage to reorganise all of those! Looks like a book lover's heaven
  21. Alexander's Literary Odyssey 2017

    @Athena The headset is terrific indeed! I've had a chance to try it out a few times and I love it. @frankie I have a great connection with her. She's on holiday now and I'm not seeing her for about four weeks - due to my specific issues, it's about the worst thing for me, but she's available through email and has replied to my emails frequently, so I know I'm very lucky. Sickened wasn't the worst book I've ever read, but didn't really live up to its full potential for me. The Dark Room review The Dark Room tells three stories of people living in 20th century Germany: Helmut, a young man living in the 1930s who isn't allowed to participate in the war due to physical issues. Lore, daughter of Nazi parents who has to lead her siblings to safety after her parents were taken away by the Allied. Mischa, a teacher in 1990s Germany who has questions about who his Nazi grandfather really was. It took some time to get used to Seiffert's spare prose, but this worked very well with the subject matter. The author's voice is detached, but doesn't shrink back from anything and is not cold either. The three protagonists aren't related and never meet during the story - something many authors would probably not be able to resist. We get a glimpse of these lives, of what it's like for German people dealing with what happened. We don't get all the answers - they don't either. There is much confusion and the line between guilt and innocence, between awareness and ignorance is very blurry. This book will stay with me and I'll certainly be recommending it.
  22. Athena's Reading List 2017

    I hope you feel better soon, Athena! I've had that happen to me when my goddaughter wasn't doing well - I was feeling sad and worried, and didn't enjoy the beginning of Library of Souls as much because of it. When she did better, I enjoyed it a lot more. Good luck reorganising!
  23. Frankie reads 2017

    It's still a dream to visit one day! I don't like fish though... not as food, not as animals, and I'm always worried I'll starve! The language is so mesmerising, too. I love how different it is as a Finno-Ugric language it from Germanic languages (I do love German and Danish and such too). I still can sing along to Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan - even though I have no idea what the individual words in the song mean, just generally what it's about. I learnt the word Kiitos from Nightwish' "End of an Era" dvd and know how to pronounce Tampere thanks to Floor Jansen
  24. Frankie reads 2017

    I would love to be Finnish, but I'd keep the January 2nd nameday. I like that one best! I probably already told you this sometime, but ten years ago I was planning on studying Finnish at university and moving to Finland ^^ Ah, the influence of Nightwish on a teenager!