Guus Bosman

software engineering director

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Books & literature


Childhood mystery book

Aladin.The Dutch national public library has a research service. You can ask them questions, typically about books but also other topics, and they will research the answer for you.

Mieke suggested that I should post a question that has been in my mind for a very long time: to find the author or title of books that I read at school when I was around 11 or 12 years old.

Unfortunately the research service could not answer my question, so it is now published as a hersenkraker (challenging puzzle) on

"Ik zoek een jeugdboekenserie, maar ik weet de titels of auteur niet. Ik las het toen ik zo'n 10 tot 12 jaar oud was, in 1988 - 1990. Het was een spannende serie, met meer dan 1 boek, ik meen ieder geval 4 stuks. Het ging over kinderen die in aanraking met heksen komen. Het verhaal speelde zich veel 's nachts af. Een belangrijk plot element was dat heksen niet over stromend water konden vliegen. Hierdoor konden de hoofdpersonen zich af en toe in veiligheid brengen."


What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful

Another self improvement book! Aside from the usual fluff, this book did provide some good lessons. Too embarrassing to write about in a public blog, but I recognized my own behavior in some of the stories.

Marshall Goldsmith
English for work

Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett, the author of the Discworld books, announced yesterday that he has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. I've been a fan of his work for over 10 years, and this is sad news for him and his family.

From his website:

"PS I would just like to draw attention to everyone reading the above that this should be interpreted as 'I am not dead'. I will, of course, be dead at some future point, as will everybody else. For me, this maybe further off than you think - it's too soon to tell. I know it's a very human thing to say 'Is there anything I can do', but in this case I would only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry."


Best Dutch book ever: The Discovery Of Heaven

The Discovery Of Heaven.One of my all-time favorite books has been voted the "best Dutch book of all times". It's The Discovery Of Heaven by Harry Mulisch, a novel about the mystical journey of a man to return the Ten Commandments to Heaven.

The vote is based on an internet poll, and I am always skeptical of those because it's so easy to manipulate. However, this first place for what is De Ontdekking Van De Hemel in Dutch is completely deserved. The second place was for Het Huis Van De Moskee by Kader Abdolah, a book completely unknown to me. I looked it up and it was published in 2005.

Strange that this new book ended up above such classics as Max Havelaar or De Avonden, which I suppose proves my point above the unreliability of internet polls (or the odd literary taste of the people that voted). Simon Vestdijk's books didn't even make it into the top 10, neither did Erik, of het klein insectenboek by Godfried Bomans.

The Discovery Of Heaven was published in 1992, the 2nd year I was in high school. Although at that time reading Dutch literature wasn't high on my list with favorite things, I enjoyed reading Mulisch a lot (and so did many of my classmates). In 2001 a movie made of the book came out, which was okay but not as brilliant as the book.


Books arrived

Books.My parents store our old belongings on the attic of their house, and when I was in the Netherlands I spend an afternoon going through them. I found a lot of the books that I had really missed in the last 2 years.

In the week that I was in Holland I also bought a couple of books. Mainly about Dutch recent politics and some nostalgic literature.

I brought some of the books with me in my luggage, but there were way too many to bring all of them. I sent the books by economy mail from the Netherlands to Durham (8.4 kg/18 pounds). The books had been in transit for 8 weeks, but they arrived on Saturday in good shape.


To the library

Tuesday afternoon Sasha left for Bulgaria. She's visiting her parents in the period between her job at the bank and before the study year starts.

Yesterday evening I went to the library in Durham. Getting there took me a while. Although I was on the right road I missed the library building and I couldn't turn around easily as it was a one way street. Anyway, I found it and registered as a new member. It's not as nice as the library in Arlington and quite a bit smaller, but a library is a library and I enjoyed browsing the books.



A painting on a building in Clarendon.This afternoon we went to Arlington's central library. We saw on internet that it's located two metro stops away from our house, but the weather was very nice so we went for a long walk. It was really sunny today and not so cold anymore.

The library is south of Clarendon, and while we were walking we saw that we were entering suburbs: lower houses, wider street, more gardens; different than the part of Arlington where we live which consists mainly of apartment buildings. It wasn't hard to find the street of the library: all streets are ordered alphabetically, as someone on the street who we asked mentioned.

It's really fun to be a tourist in the area where you live: so many interesting things and you don't have to travel to see them. There weren't a lot of people walking where we went -- mainly cars.

We subscribed to the library, which is free if you have an address in Arlington. It's a fairly large library, but not as big as the one in Haarlem.


Barnes & Nobles

Books.We spent a wonderful afternoon in Barnes & Nobles last Saturday. Sasha and I both needed a new book, and we spent 2,5 hours walking around, reading a bit, looking at books, drinking coffee... Very relaxing.

We had restricted ourselves to buy just one book per person. It's so tempting to get a lot of books, but if we did so we wouldn't have a reason to go the bookstore in a long time, which wouldn't be nice.

Sasha found a really nice biography, "Nicholas and Alexandra", on the last royals in Russia. I'm afraid I cheated a bit in my choice. It's one book, fair enough, but it will keep me busy for quite a while. I bought the complete works of William Shakespeare, over 1200 pages of text, in a beautiful edition.

I don't really know Shakespeares work, and I felt that's a shame. I've only read Macbeth, in secondary school, and didn't pay a lot of attention to it then.


It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It

When I arrived in Middenmeer after moving from Haarlem, I discovered a small book in the attic. It was a very quick book to read; I was done in three hours but certainly very nice. The book has a very optimistic tone, humoristic and with faith in humanity.

I specifically liked the articles on the weddings the author describes. Very funny and I'm looking forward to read the other bestseller by this other, "Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten".

Robert Fulghum


The Cryptonomicon is a something like a hit amongst programmers and computer scientists. When I was in the plane to New York somebody even recognized me as a programmer because I was reading it.

I enjoyed reading the book. It was a pleasant mixture of treasure hunting, cryptology and World War II.

The book was a present Joris gave me for my 25th birthday.

Read it again in August 2014, during our trip to the Netherlands.


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