Archive for the ‘Hayley’ Category

What We’re Reading: Both Stores

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Ester: Lover Mine – J. R. Ward
Hans: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – Douglas Adams
Hayley: Quirkology: The Curious Science of Everyday Lives – Richard Wiseman
Ilse: Hoog sensitieve personen – Elaine Aron (in English: The Highly Sensitive Person)
JeroenE: The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin – Masha Gessen
JeroenW: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell – Suzanna Clarke
Jesse: Swamplandia! – Karen Russell
Jilles: A Reliable Wife – Robert Goolrick and Agatha Christie and the Eleven Missing Days – Jared Cade
Jitse: In the Shadow of the Sword – Tom Holland
Karin: Gathering Blue – Lois Lowry
Klaartje: Lord of the Flies – William Golding and The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders – John E. Sarno
Lynn: The Keep – Jennifer Egan
Our Not-Irritating-Maarten-Of-The-No-Lists: Het spoor van de eenhoorn: De geschiedenis van een dier dat niet bestaat – Willem Gerritsen
Marten: Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire – Judith Herrin
Nadine: That’s What I AmAvo Kaplanian
Nicki: Demons Are Forever – Xenia Alexiou & Kim Baldwin
Nyjolene: The End of Illness – David B. Agus
PeterH: Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy
Renate: Say Her Name – Francisco Goldman and Farther Away – Jonathan Franzen
Sander: De Kapellekensbaan – Louis Paul Boon (in English: Chapel Road)
Sara: Before I Go To Sleep – S. J. Watson
Sigrid: The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table – Tracie McMillan
Simone: Hush Money – Robert B. Parker
Sophie: Quicksilver – Neal Stephenson
Steven: Shockaholic – Carrie Fisher and And Here’s the Kicker: Conversations with 21 Top Humor Writers on Their Craft – Mike Sacks
Tom: Mother Tongue – Bill Bryson

ABC’s Favorite Reads of 2011, part Blogmistress

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

At last!  The final installment of our Favorite Reads of the Year! Here are Part A, Part B, Part C, Part D, Part E, Part F, Part G, and Part H.

These favorites come your very own Tweet- and Blogmistresses: Hayley and Sophie. Besides tweeting and blogging, Hayley also writes most of the newsletters that drop into your inbox every month and buys books for ABC Amsterdam’s Children’s Book section.  And besides tweeting and blogging, I buy the books for the Romance, Military, Military Fiction, Audio Books, Crafts and Nature sections at ABC The Hague.

We would like to thank all of our colleagues for rising to the occasion so magnificently in these busy times, and giving us so many Top 5s!  We would also love to thank all you wonderful readers, for continuing to visit our blog. We love working on it, and we hope you love reading our efforts.  Happy holidays!

We would still like to hear about what YOUR favorite reads of 2011 were, too! They don’t have to be books published in 2011, just read in 2011. Please send your top 5 to, and be sure to include your mailing address so we can send you an ABC gift voucher as a thank you. We’ll be publishing your Top 5s at the beginning of 2012, so you have the rest of the month to hand them in. Thank you to those who have already mailed them in!

And now, without further ado… our lists!


What We’re Reading: Amsterdam

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

What we’re reading: Amsterdam

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Jeroen: In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise by George Prochnik

Peter: The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Hayley: The Liar by Stephen Fry; Superfreakonomics by Levitt and Dubner

Max: Life by Keith Richards; The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop by Dan Charnas; Last Shop Standing : Whatever Happened to Record Shops? by Graham Jones; Deep Soul Ballads: From Sam Cooke to Stevie Wonder by Laurence Cole

Maarten: Beschreven Blad by Remco Campert; Things and More Things by Ivan T. Sanderson

Tiemen: Origins of Political Order by Francis Fukuyama

Femke: After the Ecstacy, The Laundry by Jack Kornfield

The Book of Revelations

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Everyone has read one: a life-changing book.

A book so profound, so full of information, so touching to you at a particular moment in time that it has altered your life for the better forever.  A book that gave you hope when you had none, or gave words to feelings you couldn’t express, or made you realize there was a whole unexplored side to you.  A Book of Revelations, as it were.

Do You Read Me? would love to hear about the books that made a fundamental difference to you.  You can send in a short text, or else make a short film, much like the ones on, and send it to In return, we will give you a book voucher for your efforts.

To start you off, the blogmistresses will tell you all about their Books of Revelations:

Hayley: Loving What Is: The Four Questions That Can Change Your Life by Byron Katie

Lots of books have influenced me. Eric Carle and L.M. Montgomery made me love books. Margaret Atwood made me love really good books.

I’m not the sort of person who consults a self-help book at every turn in my life. I’ve read a few, selectively, when I needed them. I stumbled across Byron Katie by accident at a time when all my assumptions and beliefs were being turned upside down and it felt marvelously serendipitous. I saw a video of Byron working through her four questions with an audience member at one of her appearances and was struck by how warm and genuine she was – not at all what I would have expected from a celebrated self-help guru. I liked her. I was in awe of  how she used such simple questions to turn destructive thought patterns around. The audience member was amazed at how easy it was to think in a different way. Watching her realize that,  right there in front of me, so was I.

This book challenged and changed almost every idea I’d had about myself and how I should be in the world.  It was powerful enough to allow me to ditch most of the strange beliefs that I had accrued in the religious sect and damaged family I was raised in.  It gave me a huge amount of peace. I’ve been a happier, freer, more confident, less chaotic person since. This really was my book of revelations.

Sophie: The Madwoman in the Attic by Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar

For me, it wasn’t even the entire book.  The introduction was enough.  I was taking a Literary Criticism course at college, where the professor was one of those men that grew dust and I was the only girl in the entire class.  We had to read Roland Barthes, and more of his ilk.  And then we had to read the introduction to The Madwoman in the Attic, which the professor shrugged off as being grossly outdated, but as it had made a stir way back when…  It transformed me.

Their assertion that women in classical literature had always been presented as either a saint or a whore was so TRUE!  Think of The Odyssey – who sits at home for twenty years, beating off the suitors, and who is a goddess’s toyboy for ten years?  Exactly.  And where were all the female writers between Homer and Jane Austen?  Hiding behind male aliases, in some cases, but generally just written out of the history books, by men. It made my blood boil when I realized that men had all these heroes to follow, and women had no better female character to look up to than a very dead Juliet or a woman with snakes for hair.

Gilbert and Gubar dissect some classic works of literature by women in the nineteenth century in the rest of the book, showing how they attempted to create a new voice out of the very male literary structures of the times. How grateful am I that these past 200+ years women have taken up the pen and written, and written, and keep writing still!  And that men have answered the call and write about realistic women!  I can show my daughter some great books with great female heroines (The Owl Killers by Karen Maitland, for a recent example), and also great female villains (His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman), as well as all those brave men that are still around, so she can learn what to do, or what not to do, and choose her own heroes to follow when she inevitably faces difficulties in her own life.

The Madwoman in the Attic has helped me see the fine line between growing up with the classics and being dominated by them, and that carving your own path – creating your own classic – is always possible and must be attempted, even if you don’t live to see the fruits of your labor – your children, and their children, will.  It has also shown me that reading is a powerful and highly subtle force in shaping anyone’s opinions, and you must ask questions at all times in order to not fall for the general hype (follow the hype, by all means, as long as you’ve looked around and seen nothing better!).