Stateless: One Man’s Struggle for an Identity by Gerard van Leeuwen

I’ve never really been a fan of biographies. I’ve just not been able to connect with the idea of an author setting out to tell the story of another.  Biography is essentially written with the help of extensive research, both primary or secondary: the former involving talking directly to the source or subject of the work, and the latter being through exploring different documents to piece together a story.

This is something that has drastically shifted since reading Kamal’s story as told by Gerard van Leeuwen.

Van Leeuwen tells us right off the bat in the prologue where he met Kamal, the subject of this biography. We learn straight away how he came to learning the complex, sometimes unbelievable, details of Kamal’s life from birth until their meeting.

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The Road to Memoir

I spend a lot of time struggling to find a way to gather all of these feelings constantly running through my mind.

I spill them like hot tea over the pages of my journals.

I spend a lot time up and down with my moods and the way I look at the series of events that have lead me to this corner of my couch in the home I share with my now Hubsband. Yes I am aware that that is not a real word, and, no, I do not care.

I whimper or weep uncontrollably in his arms when the realities of this post-cancer life feel far too overwhelming.

I spend a lot of time in a tug-of-war with my thoughts and my writing. As I try to navigate their parts and to figure out which parts of my life I want to keep sacred and close to my heart, and which parts I want to share with the world. Continue reading The Road to Memoir

The Heirs by Susan Rieger

Susan Rieger’s The Heirs shares the story of an Upper West Side New York family – the Falkes’ – in the wake of Rupert’s, their patriarch, passing.

It follows the widow, Eleanor, and her five adult children as they work through a strange, Vera, suing their father’s estate, claiming him as the father of her own adult children.

This complicates the grieving of the Falkes family as the image of the husband and father that they seem to have held on a pedestal begins to crumble. Through the progression of the novel, we watch the characters question who Rupert was and whether or not he had had the capacity to lead a secret life.

At first I thought that there were far too many characters – Rupert, Eleanor, their five children and significant others, Susanna, Vera, Hugh (Vera’s son)… I think that’s all – and was expecting to be incredibly confused. However, Rieger’s writing absolutely captivated me. Continue reading The Heirs by Susan Rieger

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan

A historical novel, set in the English countryside

After having read Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, I was interested in dipping my toes a bit farther into the historical fiction waters. And, as I’d hoped, this debut novel by Jennifer Ryan was exactly what I needed.

This novel revolves around a (female!) choir.

I have spent all of my life singing: grade school choirs, church choirs, fronting my science teacher’s band in 10th grade, vocal music courses, regional chorus, and finally, classical operatic training. I’ve done it all!

This novel is written through diary entries and letters.

First person narration is my jam: even more exciting is when it is in the context of personal diaries and private letters.

With these things in mind, I chose not to look much more into it. Well, other than seeing a Goodreads rating of 4.08 when adding it to my currently-reading shelf.

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A Readathon Fit For a King

Last week I set sail on a journey.. the first of its kind for me.. a readathon.

This particular readathon was a four day, four prompt adventure in honour of King’s Day here in The Netherlands. It was — if this is not already obvious — hosted by four Dutch booktubers. Namely Iris, Berthe, Daphne, and Lucy.

Let me give you a bit of a background

Assuming you are not Dutch, nor an expat living in The Netherlands, you probably have no idea that we celebrate the King’s birthday as a National Holiday. That’s right, we all party our butts of wearing orange in honour the King’s birthday.

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