Guus Bosman

software engineering director

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Books & literature


The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Five Novels in One Outrageous Volume

I've read the Hitchhiker's Guide several times in my life. The first times were in Dutch, when Arthur Dent was living in the Wieringermeer, the area were I grew up, as a translation to a Dutch audience of a boring area where not much ever happened.

Sasha and I saw the movie years ago.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, the 2nd novel, is a great read to and I know it well. But the 3rd through 5th were new to me. I was very disappointed in part three, part four was fine and only part five became somewhat interesting again.

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Nora completed Veilig Leren Lezen

Nora completed Veilig Leren Lezen, a Dutch reading curriculum for first grade. It's the curriculum used by 75% of all Dutch kids to learn how to read and write.

I'm extremely proud. We started in February 2017, and in those 22 months Nora has learned how to read chapter books in Dutch, how to spell basic words and she expanded her vocabulary greatly. I remember that I had to tell her what a put was.

One of her favorite first books was Op is op by Annemarie Bon, who became one of her favorite authors. A big thank you to Mieke, who helped us with a lot of materials.

It's been fun for me to teach her. It's like homeschooling, I suppose. We did one or two sessions a week, mostly in the weekends. In the past few months she has been reading independently so wrapping up Kern 12 today was a formality, but a nice milestone.


De onzichtbare jongen

Bernlef is becoming one of my all-time favorite authors. This is another powerful book by the author of Hersenschimmen.

The story is about the friendship of two little boys, in the teens and later.

He makes me nostalgic for a time I never knew -- the main character is about the age of my father.

I guess it's a sign that I'm a father that I caught myself wondering about the friendship my boys will have in the future.

I read this book on the train to and from New York.


Enlightenment Now

This is a great book, with a wonderful subject: how live has gotten better over time.

But it's a follow-up to a Pinker's book from 7 years ago, the Better Angels of Our Nature. Was it worth another 350 pages? Well, I enjoyed reading the book and it made a solid case for how enlightenment has been the driving force for all the improvements in the past few hundred years.

I'd say the answer is 'yes' -- this was worth another re-read. And the book does have new material, and a reflection of future developments.

The one thing I didn't like was the attention to Trump's election. First of all, that's just one data point in a very long history, and more importantly, a book that writes about the ages should not try to be too current.

Steven Pinker

De Ziener

It took me a while to get into this book; it had a slow start. But as always, Vestdijk is a pleasure to read and oh my what a beautiful story line. Subtle.

Simon Vestdijk

Fire and Fury

Well, I couldn't resist -- this book has been in the news for several days now and I wanted to check it out.

I read the book with a good deal of skepticism, since the author is known to take liberty with the facts at times, and some of the more salacious details in the book are contested. Nevertheless, this is a intriguing insider story of the first year of the Trump White House.

I won't mince words on my opinion of the Trump White House. Needless to say, the book did not improve my opinion.

Fascinating read.

Michael Wolff

A proud father

While I was preparing dinner yesterday, Nora was sitting at the living room table. She was tired after her gymnastics, and sucking her thumb and being quiet. Then I noticed she was actually reading a book.

This is the first time she read a book all by herself, without reading it aloud to someone else. A huge milestone, and I'm very proud.

We're about halfway the Dutch course Veilig Leren Lezen and she's making good progress. Clearly she's now at a point where she can read things truly by herself. Awesome.

The book was Pim en de vis, in the botjes series, and she finished it later in the evening.


White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class

Similar to the People's History of the United States -- but not as interesting. White Trash just wasn't written very well and could have been half it's size.

In particular all the detailed descriptions of films and novels do not add to the book. They seem to be fairly randomly selected.

Nancy Isenberg

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

This was ultimately a disappointing book. The first chapters were interesting enough, and it good to see the timeline of human development, but after the initial good start there was very little new information in the book.

It rehashes stories and anecdotes from Guns Germs and Steel, 1491 and similar books, without adding much original content.

I had hoped that this would be a nice introduction to Homo Deus, Yuval Harari's new book, but now I'm not so sure that I want to read that.

Yuval Harari

Makkelijk leven

Entertaining read by the author of Het Diner. Both books share similarities, though this is just a short novelle. Interesting turn at the end.

Joost and Ankie gave us this book.

Herman Koch


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