Home » Posts tagged 'tilburg book club'
Tag Archives: tilburg book club
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
3 Sept 2019. Our first gathering of the Book Club took place on September 4th – very early in the club year and prior to the tíc Welcome Event. That may explain why we were quite a small group, including 1 brand new member. We had all read the book – not hard since we’d had the entire summer and it was quite a short story.
As a young man and a prisoner of war, Kurt Vonnegut witnessed the 1945 US fire-bombing of Dresden in Germany, which reduced the once beautiful city to rubble and claimed the lives of thousands of its citizens. This atrocious act was (more…)
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 #ThrowbackThursday, let’s take a look at a book club review from 2017!
29 Aug 2017 reviewed by Jessica Lipe. While no one is happy to see the summer holidays come to end, one benefit of the end of summer is that the TIC book club meets again! Before the summer holidays, we had chosen a novel with more pages than our typical choices since we would have the whole summer to savor the book. However, this book turned out to be far more intriguing and suspenseful than expected, such that many of us couldn’t put it down.
We’ll meet in September for our first book club of the new tíc season; a gathering that sometimes has intense debates, but is always a lot of fun. For #ThrowbackThursday, let’s take a look at a book club review from a few years ago!
2 May 2017 reviewed by Anne-Lise Artaud. This month’s book got quite exotic as we read about a very familiar and close topic to us, expats. Fear and Trembling by Amélie Nothomb was a very interesting book about expatriation, how to deal with it, how to survive it and make the best out of it. We were able to discuss the struggles and advantages of living an expat life. Maybe nothing as exotic as Japanese expatriation, but even if the Netherlands is a welcoming country, we still all had some struggles to face with this new culture and some adapting to do. (more…)
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
review by Anne van Oorschot
13 Feb 2019. Even though the weather outside was cold, the atmosphere at Book Club was warm and friendly. We were welcomed into the beautiful home of one of our members and offered warm drinks and tasty Valentine treats! 🙂
#bookclub #Tilburg #tilburginternationalclub #expatlife #MaybeTomorrow
14 Jan 2019. Reviewed by Anita James. This book is a favorite of mine and I hoped to share it more widely but whether because of the season or because nobody liked it – we ended up with a small intimate group (any more intimate and we could have held it cozily in bed with baby, Eleanor! (note: Those could/could not attend who read the book, highly recommend it! It is an easy read and a great story so do keep it on your “to read” list 🙂
Gabriela the woman-child glides through the Brazilian town of Ilheus, capital of cacao country, at a time of profound change. The gun slinging ‘colonels’ who carved out plantations have had their day and modernity is here, with roads, street lights, bus services, a real port and even an elevator at the hotel…. No longer can a ‘colonel’ kill his wife and her lover and be a hero, nor can the old timers shoot their way to winning an election.
Jorge Amado serves up a rollicking historical tale, poking gentle fun at the bombast of small town notables, at eccentric inhabitants, at immigrants and migrants, and at the love story of two of those, enmeshed in the transition roiling all around them.
Luckily Ilheus sorts itself out, as does the love of Gabriela and Nacib, after finally getting over their ill-advised and unfortunate marriage. Again is Gabriela a happy cook, Nacib naps after a delicious lunch and they meet for torrid nights in the back servant room.”
#bookclub #Tilburg #tilburginternationalclub #expatlife #GabrielaCloveCinnamon
review by Melissa Donders
12 November 2018. After reading the book, We All Begin As Strangers by Harriet Cummings, an interesting discussion was had at tíc’s Book Club. The book was set in a small village in England where the inhabitants were frightened when small items in their homes would be moved around, or things went missing. Slightly based on a true story, the book followed the lives of different characters and how the intruder, whom they dubbed ‘The Fox’, impacted their life.
Discussing how and if we would notice if something had been moved around in our own homes, most of us agreed we would assume it was another person who we live with and not be worried.
We also discussed the similarities of ourselves, living in a country where we have moved for work or love, compared to one of the characters who had moved from her hometown of London to live with her new husband in this small village, which led onto discussion of how we all came to be living here in the Netherlands.
Overall, a lovely night was had, swapping well read books, saying farewell to one of our members and getting to know some new members.
#bookclub #Tilburg #tilburginternationalclub #expatlife #WeAllBeganAsStrangers
reviewed by Renata Kenda
On 9 October 2018, we enjoyed another interesting tíc book club gathering. Only three of us finished the book, but this did not prevent us from having a nice discussion among eleven book worms.
Some agreed that the style of writing is not the best, however being a historical novel, the author clearly spent a lot of time researching the topic and providing a story based on sound historical facts. We agreed that it is fascinating how the novel, which was written in 1938, fits with today’s world. (more…)
Although only a couple of us actually finished the book, the latest book discussion evening was filled with floods of conversation as we all caught up on everybody’s summer holiday antics.
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márque had been the summer read and despite having longer to finish it, most in the group did not enjoy its non-existent chapters and dense text. However, a handful made it to the end and some others had read it several years ago, and they assured the rest of the group it was worth sticking with it. (more…)
Our book club met to discuss our latest book, Pulitzer prize winner The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead. It is the story African American slave, Cora, and her flight from slavery on a plantation in Georgia. While most people are familiar with descriptions of slavery on cotton plantations in America in the early 1800s, the author gave a good picture of the horrible conditions and ruthless behavior inflicted on the slaves. Running away should have been an attractive option…but the horrible death you would suffer if you were caught and brought back served as an effective deterrent for most. Caesar, a recent and less battered down addition to her plantation’s slave population, talks Cora into fleeing to a contact of his with ties to the Underground Railroad. The two set off and are initially successful, the book following their escape route through states to the north.
The first surprise was that the Underground Railroad was an actual railroad – built in tunnels under the ground. Why had the author chosen to portray it so literally? If you hear aboutthe Underground Railroad as a child, you do imagine it to be a regular railroad; did Whitehead decide to remain true to his initial image of the secret network of individuals who helped slaves escape? Another aspect that I found surprising was the big difference in attitudes and laws in the different states Cora went through. While there were laws in place to “lift up” colored citizens in South Carolina (with somewhat dubious motives), North Carolina wanted to rid their state of ALL blacks and made entertainment out of hanging any they found + those residents who helped them. After several near misses, things seemed to end well when Cora arrived at the Valentine farm in Indiana, a community made up entirely of colored residents, and found her place in the group. As the small community grew, their white neighbors became increasingly hostile and decided to take matters into their own hands. It remains shocking, the things people feel justified in doing to others who are “different”.
The opinions of our group about the book were quite varied: some found it too slow paced with a confusing story line, others felt it moved along at a good pace and found the story line clear. I really liked the book and found the language used beautiful – such clear images and spot on descriptions. My favorite impression was from a section mid-book that was a bit random to the main story line. A young man is studying medicine at a small Boston college and supplements his income by going on raids to find cadavers that students can practice on. This involves going out in the dead of night and stealing the bodies from new graves. Since white graves were often guarded by family members to prevent removal of the body, that was generally not the case for black graves. Thus, more and more medical cadavers were blacks: “Yet when his classmates put their blades to a colored cadaver, they did more for the cause of colored advancement than the most high-minded abolitionist. In death the negro became a human being. Only then was he the white man’s equal.”
(I was excited to hear that Colson Whitehead would be giving a talk about the book in Amsterdam at the John Adams Institute. Though the tickets were sold out, my daughter managed to find 2, so I’ll be going on December 6th . Come to the next book discussion to hear what I learned… ) We ended our evening with a book exchange and several members brought good books they had already read to share with the group. There were a few of our past reads among the books – good books, but not ones in line to be re-read. Especially nice for new members of our group, but I went away with a couple of books as well.
#expatlife #Tilburg #bookclub #internationalclub #tbt
The year was 1981 when I arrived in the Netherlands to join Hein – the love of my life! – and we lived in The Hague. While life in a foreign country is always a challenge, it is much easier in a city that is internationally oriented. As the Dutch governmental capital, The Hague has numerous international clubs, and I immediately joined the American Women’s Club (AWC) of The Hague. Here were a group of women who spoke my language, understood my bafflement at many Dutch customs, and missed family and friends as I did. Such a relief!!
As the years progressed, I learned Dutch, became more familiar with Dutch customs, had children, made friends, and moved a couple of times to different parts of the country…yet, I remained a member of the AWC. Even though I didn’t feel as lost as I once did, I still really enjoyed the social activities with “people like me”.
It was 2007 when Hein got a job as President of Tilburg University and we moved to Tilburg. While I remained a member of the AWC in The Hague, it was pretty far away and I missed a closer “expat contact”. Hein, who had always supported my activities in the AWC, realized there was nothing similair to help the many (250!) international employees of the University. “Why didn’t I start an international club here?” Why not indeed!
I started by making a 2 page questionnaire for expats to see if they would be interested in an international club and, if so, what they would like it to offer. I got a list of foreign based companies in the area from the BOM (Brabant Development Agency) and started calling to see if they had foreign employees. While most companies with expat employees were receptive to the idea of an international club as a plus for their employees, some were not. “We help our employees enough, they don’t need a club!”
Often no amount of reasoning would get through to these stubborn HR employees and once I bluntly asked who their expat employee should call on a Sunday afternoon if his cat was vomiting? There was silence on the other side of the line…”Aah, we’re closed on Sundays.” While there is a lot employers can do for international employees to help them get settled, an informal social network of other expats can help with the many small details of life in Tilburg. Also, no matter how nice Dutch colleagues are, they have their own family and friends and are not necessarily looking for more, outside of work.
I made appointments and set out for the many companies employing expats with questionnaires for their employees. I complied the results and was not surprised that there was a need for just such a club. There were many “official” details that needed to be taken care of: deciding on a name, writing the Constitution and By–laws for the club, finding a meeting location, arranging for publicity, finding sponsors, planning an initial meeting, getting 2 additional Board members, finding a notary to register TIC as a “vereniging” (association) and deciding on the first event. On March 30, 2008, TIC had a very well attended Open House at De Harmonie and our first members signed up…My TIC became Our TIC.
And here we are, 10 years later! TIC is steadily getting stronger and more anchored in the community, and while a lot of members have come and gone, there are more who are willing to help with the planning and running of the club. Thanks to social media campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, we are reaching more expats in the area and are able to enrich the international experience of our members. TIC is flourishing!
After 10 years on the Board as President and Secretary/Membership, I am so happy to see that there are many others who see the club as “Their TIC”; who pitch in to plan fun and interesting events, who attend events and make them successful, who share their national customs and foods, who are interested in getting to know other club members…who have made TIC into Our TIC! I feel confident about the club and secure in the knowledge that because the club is in many good hands, I can step back and let others take the lead. I will continue to organize the Book Club and Movie Night, and maybe I’ll be back on the Board again in the future – who knows? But for now I am happy to be just a member of Our TIC.
Of course, I still hope to see you at a TIC event soon!
All the best, Anne
We had a lovely and lively book discussion about Born a Crime written by South African comedian, Trevor Noah! Not only did we have a fun get together at one of our member’s new home but we also enjoyed delicious vlaaien, not to be confused with vla 😉
Not everyone was drawn into the book, but it was enjoyed by most of us. The humor used by Noah made the serious subject matter easier to handle. We talked about some of the huge challenges a “colored kid” faced growing up in apartheid South Africa and about the racism still present in many of our home countries and the Netherlands. Food for thought…
#bookclub #Tilburg #Expats #expatlife #trevornoah