Home » Posts tagged 'English'
Tag Archives: English
#FBF Book Club review: “Educated, A Memoir”
On Monday, we will be meeting for our next book club; a gathering that sometimes has intense debates, but is always a lot of fun. For #FlashBackFriday, let’s take a look at a book club review from 2019.
Review by Anne van Oorschot
Hot Topic: How to Raise Multilingual Children
18 March 2021. by Anne-Lise Artaud. We had a very lovely evening around a hot topic for us expat. How to raise multilingual children? This subject was presented and all our questions answered by an experienced researcher that has herself personal experience on this matter. It was very interesting to learn about the flexibility and resilience of children that from a young age are able to learn and retain different languages.
Language forms part of our identity
The Netherlands is a country that welcomes a large number of immigrants and expats, making it a very culturally rich and diverse nation. A part of this cultural diversity is the great variety of languages spoken both inside and outside the home. And, language forms an important part of who we are.
Book review: Not Before Sundown (Do trolls really exist?)
by Essi Koskela
27 Aug 2020. tíc book club’s summer reading Not before Sundown by Johanna Sinisalo is a reimagined story from a classic Finnish song, The Goblin and the Ray of Light.
We started our discussion session by listening to this sweet and melodic piece, before we immersed ourselves into the darker themes portrayed in the book. is a dark satire of Mikael, or Angel, a freelance photographer working in advertising, who adopts a young, abandoned troll from the streets of Tampere city. It turns out that trolls do not make good pets. Pessi, the troll, secretes intoxicating pheromones which produce an insidious effect on Mikael and everyone around him. The symbolism behind the power-battle of Pessi‘s influence and the civilized world around Mikael made an excellent discussion point, as Mikael starts to struggle with the beast within. With the words of the author herself: ‘the book deals with themes bigger than life: the relationship between man and nature; the problems of different kinds of otherness; and how our biological ancestry as hierarchical pack animals still affects us.’
Although the book is classified into science fiction or fantasy, only the existence of the endangered and rarely seen trolls separates the world in the story from reality. In fact, the writer has constructed such convincing pseudo-scientific biological origin for the troll species accompanied with numerous (real) references to Finnish literature and folklore about the trolls that it was easy to believe in the existence of trolls. Arguably trolls have been very much real in the Finnish way of life before modern civilisation finally reached all the far corners of wilderness in the country, and remnants of those beliefs are still reflected in the language and children’s imagination. One of Sinisalo’s reference books, “Memories from Lapland” by Samuli Paulaharju, from 1922, which I happened to have by chance, dedicates a whole chapter to trolls. From this book, I shared the divine origin story of trolls, fabricated in the typical half-pagan way of the Finns. As it turns out, trolls are the secret children of Adam and Eve, which God condemned to live underground after Eve wrongfully hid them.
The creation aside, religion is another prominent topic in the book, already given away by the heavenly name of Angel. I dare to say, the writer creates a juxtaposition between chaste protestant tradition and the biological beastly nature of human beings. We were not sure what to make out of this, as the story does not seem to resolve in favor of the other. Although in the case of Mikael, nature takes over.
Those of us who had completed the book agreed that it was an odd but delightful reading experience. Deceptively short with only 214 pages, Sinisalo’s story seemed to contain yet another layer in chapters unwritten. What happened to Mikael in the end? Why did the trolls take him among them? Was Palomita (the human-trafficked mail-order wife of Mikael’s neighbor) rescued? And most importantly, are trolls real and where can we find them?
Book Club review: Dark Matter
28.05.2020. Our second Virtual Book Club gathering had members joined in by Zoom. I found it an interesting and different read and was curious to see what others thought of it.
‘Are you happy in your life?’ Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he wakes to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.
While not everyone liked the book – it gave ample opportunity for discussion. (more…)
#FBF: Boys in the Boat book review
Next week we will be meeting for our next book club; a gathering that sometimes has intense debates, but is always a lot of fun. For #FlashBackFriday, let’s take a look at a book club review from 2016!
by Anne van Oorschot
27 Sept 2016. The first meeting of tíc readers starting with chatting about summer vacations (and the first debate of the US Presidential election!) and then we settled down to talk about The Boys in the Boat. This non-fiction book, written by Daniel James Brown (not to be confused with the Dan Brown of The Divinci Code) is about the 8 man rowing shell from University of Washington that went on to become the US’s Olympic entry in the controversial 1936 Berlin Olympics – Hitler’s Olympics!
The story is told mainly from (more…)
Book Review: The Lost Girls of Paris
08 Jan 2020. We had a small but enthusiastic group for book club as we gathered to discuss The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff. The story centered around a curious, young widow named Grace who finds an abandoned briefcase in Grand Central Station right after WWII. She removed photos taken of 10 young women from the case and began a quest to find out the story behind the photographs.
Each chapter of the book (more…)
Book Review: Becoming
21 Oct. 2019. It was a rainy autumn evening, when we gathered to discuss our latest book “Becoming” by Michelle Obama. We had a fruitful discussion while enjoying the drinks and tasty nibbles next to a warm fireplace.
All of us joining this book club session liked the book, even those, who were not very in favor of
Book review: Where’d You Go, Bernadette?
1 May 2019. Reviewed by Anita James. The book is a deceptively easy and amusing read about a brilliant and creative architect, Bernadette, who suffers recurring traumas from the wanton destruction of her revolutionary architectural creation, the move to an alien city, and after repeated miscarriages, the dangerous surgeries on the infant that was finally born.
One can get PTSD for less, and indeed Bernadette shuts out the world except for her immediate family, and then devotes her life to raising her daughter, Bee. Bee is a bright child who sees in her mother not an eccentric woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown, but a fun and magical creature who will always have her back, and would never ever abandon her.
On this basic story line an unconventional and quirky book is developed. It is told in a multitude of voices through mediums from emails, letters, narration, phone calls and even secretarial and hospital bills.
Yet the author nevertheless keeps the tale flowing, guiding it through a bewildering number of topics: brilliance, creativity, eccentricity, high tech, Microsoft, agoraphobia, misanthropy, architecture, Russian mafia, Antarctica, psychiatric care, modern parenting, American education, snobbery, Seattle, Canadians, family relationships and even self-help groups such as the amazing VaV – Victims against Victimhood, not to mention adultery and leaking roofs.
After a hyperactive beginning, Bernadette disappears but Bee absolutely refuses to accept the vanishing and after assiduous detective work goes all the way to the South Pole to find her mother.
And there she is, happily involved in the challenges of polar architecture. Creativity, her raison d’etre restored, she can face life again and Bee gets her eccentric family back together. Kudos for Maria Semple for a vertiginous ride brought to a safe end.
#bookclub #tilburginternationalclub #expatlife #WheredYouGoBernadette