Tuesday, 9 June 2015

8 Bookish or Not-So-Bookish Thoughts (7)

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is a weekly blogging event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. It allows book bloggers (and non-book bloggers) to write about pretty much anything, bookish or otherwise (i.e. sharing exciting plans for the weekend, rants on things they've encountered during the week etc.)

Hello everyone *waves*, here are a few things which have been keeping me busy for the last few weeks. Apart from work ofcourse, ugh (last half-year of my PhD, let's-not-talk-about-it)

1. Don't you just love this part of the year? Well, it depends on where you live ofcourse, but here in The Netherlands, May and June are the best. So many trees and flowers are blossoming, baby birds can be seen everywhere. There are lot's of great events to be visited and you can sleep with your windows open (I love that!). But the thing I look forward to every year is the fresh food: spinach fresh from the land, the first new potatoes, strawberries and peaches, yummy! What's your favourite thing to eat this time of the year (apart from ice cream, that's self-evident ;-) )

2. I did something unusual for me, reading wise. I picked up a Top 10 book and I loved it! I don't often read the 'it'-books of the moment. But I was immediately interested in Gouden Jaren when I saw it. This Dutch non-fiction book tells about the major changes in our everyday life since the end of WWII. Food, work, free time, housing: everything has changed so much in those 70 years. Reading this book I really appreciated how some things which are so normal for me are not self-evident at all. In the '60s and '70s vegetables like brocolli and peppers were rare and new in The Netherlands. There was less than 50 hours of television a week until the mid-80s. Etc, etc. I'm sort of sorry you can't read this book as it's in Dutch...

3. I seem to have lost my ability to read thick classic novels. I have been trying to get through The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope for almost three months now. I stubbornly refused to give it up, as I was already over half, but I could hardly ever find the time or the energy to really dive into it. Then, last week, I decided maybe I should try listening to the audiobook version instead. Whát a discovery! I've almost finished the book now and found much more to like about it than when I was reading it for myself. It's as if the characters started to come alive for me more while listening. So maybe I will try and 'read' more classics this way, at least until I have more room to dig into them again (aka, after I finish my PhD)

4. Two weeks ago I went to a really nice event; WWI Living History weekend. There were re-enactment groups from all over Europe showing the life of soldiers, medical personell and civilians during WWI. All the re-enactors were really enthusiastic and could tell a lot about the personages they were portraying. 

Among others there was this really great British field kitchen in which they were really cooking for all the re-enactors! Also great was the small hospital they set up and the very knowledable nurses!


5. Talking about re-enactment, I owe you a picture of the Medieval/Fantasy event I went to a little over a month ago. So here it is: me in my costume with my sword fighting teacher in costume (we were the only two people in our group in costume). It was a really nice day: relaxed atmosphere, lots of people with great costumes, interesting vendors (we bought a new sword for the class!) and great shows and demonstrations. It was quite cold, despite the mantle I could borrow from my teacher, I was totally frozen! And we have plans to go to another festival in two weeks, so yay!

6. Did you guys know the Tour de France starts in The Netherlands this year? And not just anywhere, but in the lovely city of Utrecht where I studied, now work and live very near. Now, I'm not really a fan of cycling, but I love this, because for two days the whole world will get to see the city that I love. So don't forget to take a peek, I'll wave at you if I'm caught on camera ;-)

That's it from me for today! Hope you're all doing well and enjoying these lovely early summer days. 


  1. I have become a fan of audiobooks for that precise reason. When I tried reading The Hobbit last Fall, I struggled to stick with it even though I was enjoying the story. But when I listened to it, somehow it came alive and I ended up loving it! Plus they make my driving time so much more enjoyable. So yay for audiobooks! :)

    Your costume looks great! And the festival sounds fun. Sword-fighting for the win!

    Also, I am loving our weather here. It's warm but not excruciatingly hot like it will be in a month or two. Sandal weather makes me happy, yet some days are cool enough to be awesome. I love Spring/Early Summer. :)

    1. Ha yes! I have this theory that in this day and age, with us so used to switching subjects constantly, it's just harder to read books that really need concentration, like big classics. But I am really glad with audiobooks now!

  2. Aw, how fun! Looks as if you've had a wonderful time of late, Birdie. Albeit perhaps a bit busy. :) That WWI event looks amazing! Hope you enjoyed it.

    Don't mind the new, pretty blooms that are out this time of year, but the heat? I could go without that. ;)

    1. Oh yes, busy... I don't remember a time when I was not busy, I guess that's the life of a young woman in the 21st century right!

      Luckily it's not so hot yet in The Netherlands, most days around 20 C/68 F, which really is close to a perfect temperature!

  3. What a great post! I'm just going to respond to your statements in order, because I have something to say about each of them.

    1) It is beautiful here as well, although if 68 degrees F is the average there right now, I wish I was there instead. As much as I love the sunshine and the baby animals, the humidity is crazy here, and there are a lot of mosquitoes (who love me, blech). It's also a bit warm for me, but I can't convince my husband to move North. And I love peaches! We have a small peach tree in our backyard. I didn't get anything last year because of a late frost, but this year shows promise! I'm excited!

    2) I don't often enjoy bestselling books either, but that one sounds really interesting! Too bad I only know English.

    3) Audiobooks are fantastic! I've found that whether I enjoy a book more in writing or on audio completely depends on the author. I definitely prefer Tolkien on audio, but Austen (while her audiobooks are fun) is still best in writing. I'm sure it has something to do with writing style and flow, but I haven't tried to find a pattern.

    4) That event sounds so interesting! There is only one WWI museum and memorial in the U.S. since we entered the war so late, and I visited it recently when staying with my brother in Kansas City, Missouri. Really amazing. I was there for about four hours and I couldn't possibly have absorbed everything. They don't teach nearly enough about that war in school here. I also picked up a few books in the gift shop, so hopefully I'll be reading those soon.

    5 & 6) Great picture! I'm not a big fan of cycling, either, but maybe I'll watch a little just to see your home! Very cool!

    1. The weather in The Netherlands is quite nice, I think. Mild, not very often too hot or too cold. Though we can't grow peaches here!

      The Netherlands were not in WWI at all, we were neutral. So there was never a lot of interest in this war here. But though we were neutral, our country was influenced by the war, we were in the middle of a warring continent after all. So with the 100 year commemoration, in seems interest is rising as I see more books and events about WWI.