Sunday, January 3, 2010


After reading the post about other big books I've read, the GF pointed out that it didn't seem like I enjoyed any of it. While much of it was a grind to the end, there were some I enjoyed.

War and Peace: This book really is good. It takes a long time, but the story moves fast all the way through.

The Bible: For entertainment, it's uneven. I'm glad I read it from cover to cover, but I'll never read the "Begats" again. I suppose someone finds them of interest. In the Old Testament I really liked Proverbs. Some of it is hilarious. In the New Testament, I really liked Matthew, which portrays Jesus as a man of action.

Don Quijote: This book is hard because it is so old. Spanish hasn't changed as much as English, but it has changed more than Portuguese. Still, it's entertaining, though uneven.

De eeuw van mijn vader: This is my introduction to Dutch life. In spite of Geert "Big" Mak's large vocabulary and long sentences, it is exhilerating every time I look at the bookmark. Each time, it's closer to the end. Learning a language is usually a great joy. It's like opening a door where you didn't know there was one. You walk in and just keep going. Sometimes it feels like you're falling forever, the way parachutists must feel at the beginning of a jump I suppose.

This is the first time I have started a language from scratch since I first set out to become bilingual in Spanish. The thrills are different. In Spanish I could ask directions right away. In Dutch there is no-one to talk to, but it is exciting to hear things on the radio and TV. Also, the book is kind of an alternate universe. Radio came to the Netherlands in a different way than it did in the US. The 1934 air race that Mak writes about was likely reported in the US, but I doubt if it captured imaginations the way it did in the Netherlands. The book is very interesting, and I always look forward to the chance to read it. It also generates many questions.

My next post will be about the book specifically. I am closing in on the end of Chapter 6.

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