Archive for the ‘JeroenW’ Category

Gift Ideas for Geeks

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Ready or not, the gift-giving season is upon us! Whether you celebrate Sinterklaas, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or any other opportunity to give presents during the dark days of the winter solstice, we’ve got ideas aplenty. As in previous years, the ABC Staff has looked through their sections and hand-picked various choice literary jewels for your gift-giving pleasure.

We will present these titles in a series of blog posts and recommendation lists throughout the coming month. We hope you will find some inspiration in them, but please remember that these titles only represent a tiny fraction of the books on offer in our stores. Be sure to stop by to see what else there is in the area of your interest!

Since such a significant percentage of the ABC Staff falls into the ‘Geek’ category, it’s no surprise this post is filled to bursting with possible presents.  We’ve put together some suggestions from the Science & Math sections, Humor, Comics & Graphic Novels, Manga and – of course – Science Fiction & Fantasy.

You can find our gift ideas from previous years here (scroll down a bit to 2013 and beyond), and be sure to have a look at our ABC Favorites, too.

Science & Mathematics

Ebook available for The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets.


“Can’t get enough of Neil Patrick Harris? Already own a copy of The Bro Code and The Playbook? This book also has the most hilarious book trailer for an autobiography ever! I just love this guy…” - ABC’s Marketing Director Karin on Choose Your Own Autobiography.

“When you have a 13-year old teenage daughter you have to pay attention to what she is doing online and this guy has over 3 million followers on YouTube and is just hilarious…. With this book (and app) he challenges you to complete your book of pointlessness and do virtually nothing with pride. Fully illustrated and packed with a host of games, activities and pranks, this book might also work for boys who don’t want to be seen with one of Keri Smith’s books.” – Karin on The Pointless Book.

Graphic Novels / Comics

If you love comics and graphic novels, be sure to read journalist Michael Minneboo’s regular book reviews on this blog!

“Corrina Park is stuck in the same job for the past five years since she got out of college, her dreams and aspirations of becoming a writer lost in the daily grind. She shoplifts magazines out of her local supermarket to break the dullness of her life. A story about life’s questions on life, happiness and fulfillment told at an easy pace.” - ABC Amsterdam’s Comics and Graphic Novels buyer Jitse on Shoplifter.

“The epic story of Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung was written and drawn by Eisner award winner P. Craig Russell, but was unavailable for years. Now at last the complete story is published in one beautiful hardcover collection. Giants plot against gods, while mortal humans are torn between their love for each other and their love for gold. Heroes are ruined, kings fall, lovers die. A wonderful gift for those who love epic fantasy and mythology.” - Jitse on The Ring of the Nibelung.

“The X-Men from the past have been taken to the now by time travel to see what they will become. But they don’t want to return so the X-Men from the future travel back in time to save them from making a terrible mistake and endangering the future earth. All the while the mutants of earth are attacked by giant sentinels that are out to destroy as many of them as possible, sent out by an unknown menace. A great story with lots of action, time travel and awesome illustrations. This is X-Men at their best.” - Jitse on X-Men: Battle of the Atom.


“A beautifully drawn manga in one volume based on the anime from 2012.” – ABC The Hague’s Manga buyer Ester on Wolf Children: AME & Yuki.

“Hana falls in love with a young interloper she encounters in her college class, only to find out her lover is part wolf. As their relationship blooms they expect their first child, but family bliss is soon destroyed when her lover is tragically taken from Hana. Now she must face life as a single mother with two children that are both man and beast. An endearing fantasy story about love and life’s tough choices.” - ABC Amsterdam’s Manga buyer Jitse, also on Wolf Children: AME & Yuki.

“The newest box set in this ever-popular series.” – Ester on Pokemon Adventures Ruby & Sapphire Box Set.

“The first book of this year’s hit series!” - Ester on Attack on Titan 1.

“Soma Yukihira is hell-bent on one day surpassing his father’s culinary skills and take over the small family restaurant in the less savory end of town. Then one day his father decides to close the restaurant and Soma enrolls in a classy culinary school with a 10% graduation rate. Can he cut it with his culinary skills, and can he convince the beautiful Erina Nakiri that he belongs there at all? An entertaining and saucy story about challengers and cooking, sure to whet your appetite for more.” - Jitse on Food Wars! 1.

“William Twining is a young aristocrat in 19th century England. His family is bankrupt and when looking for something to sell in his family’s basement he accidentally summons the demon Dantalion, a Grand Duke of Hell, who informs him that he is chosen to be the ‘Elector’, destined to choose the next ruler of Hell. As a scientific realist, William does not believe in such superstition, even as more powerful demons come to plea for his favours. Soon he finds himself at the center of a war between Hell and Heaven as he discovers the mysterious past. A great read for those who love mysteries, intrigue and the supernatural.” - Jitse on Devils and Realist 1.

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Ebook available for The Girl with All the Gifts, The Peripheral (at the end of November), The Mirror Empire and Lock In.

“This is the best zombie movie I’ve ever read. Carey brings a nice twist to the by now pretty exhausted zombie-genre. This would be a fantastic last hurrah. A great gift for fans of The Walking Dead and The Last of Us.” - ABC The Hague’s Science Fiction & Fantasy buyer JeroenW on The Girl with All the Gifts.

“Patrick Rothfuss fans have it rough; it’s been three years since the release of The Wise Man’s Fear, and there’s still no word on when the third part of the Kingkiller Chronicles will be out. Well, this holiday season will at least see the publication of a small amount of prose which managed to escape Rothfuss’s brain (it is said he sieves his stories from the air using his beard, like a blue whale extracting krill from sea-water).  It’s only 176 pages, but that’s 176 pages more than doodley-squat. It goes without saying that this is the perfect gift for Rothfuss fans.” – JeroenW on The Slow Regard of Silent Things.

“After four years we finally get another William Gibson novel – and it looks like it might be a good one. Gibson seems to have set his sights on online gaming and Global Warming, and it remains to be seen what he’ll make of these modern blights, since at the time of writing this, it hasn’t been released yet, but I’ll find out along with you because The Peripheral will be my gift to myself this Christmas.” - JeroenW on The Peripheral.

“Did you hear that sound? That’s Kameron Hurley raising the bar for epic fantasy. Hurley takes traditional fantasy tropes and transforms them with a deft hand into something astonishing new. Bored with the standard kingdom threatened by ancient evil? Try genocidal invasion on the multiverse scale. Plus giant carnivorous plants.” - ABC Amsterdam’s Science Fiction & Fantasy buyer Tiemen on The Mirror Empire.

“It doesn’t matter which genre Scalzi writes in, the result is always an entertaining and witty novel. This time the story is set in the near future in which a global disease has resulted in large parts of the population being locked in their own bodies. With no cure available millions of people use mind controlled robots to interact with the outside world. And this is all the background of a complicated murder mystery in which it soon turns out to be that robots are not the only things that can be controlled from afar.” – Tiemen on Lock In.

“The ultimate feel good book of 2014. The Goblin Emperor is a well-crafted court intrigue fantasy with a refreshingly honest and decent protagonist. It’s a smart novel about politics, responsibility and doing the right thing. Ever wondered what it would be like if you are suddenly thrust into the role of emperor? Then The Goblin Emperor is the book for you.” - Tiemen on The Goblin Emperor.

“This is a funny story and a sad story. This is a complicated novel about empire and culture, but also a straightforward whodunnit murder mystery. This is epic fantasy, but also an almost literary story about the past, present and future. But above all, this is a story about a giant secretary named Sigrud, who is just the coolest character since Tyrion the Imp.” - Tiemen on City of Stairs.

“This is portal fantasy with a very clever twist. Trust me, while reading this book you are going to be aware how many times you blink with your eyes at any moment. It’s an intelligent story which weaves complex issues like disability, class issues and power dynamics into a thrilling plot.” - Tiemen on Otherbound.

“Octavia Butler is one of the great names of science-fiction, but until recently I had never read anything by her. Having now read Lilith’s Brood I can say that I should have read her sooner. The story, which spans over three books, is a sad but beautiful tale about the human condition viewed from an alien perspective. It is a sensual novel about hope and despair and the painful but vibrant effort of trying to rebuild after humanity has almost destroyed itself.” – Tiemen on Lilith’s Brood.

Store Bits: Staff Choices

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

A new round of Staff Choices of both new and old books. Happy reading!

The Girl With All The Gifts – M. R. Carey
Recommended by JeroenW

“Zombies have been done to death (pun intended), and this might easily slip under your radar as Just-Another-Zombie-Book, and to be fair, to a certain extent it is. But this just happens to be a really well-written one, with well-fleshed-out characters, some nice twists and a great ending. Highly recommended for anyone looking for an exciting and satisfying read.”

Foreign Fruit – Jojo Moyes
Recommended by Simone

“Daisy and Celia are raised as sisters, in a very protective environment, when they are suddenly confronted with the new owners of the luxurious villa in their small town. Artistic people are “not to mix with”, however, Daisy and Celia cannot stay away.
When Celia brings home her new beau, the son of a rich man who imports exotic fruits, Daisy falls head over heels in love with him, and the complications begin.
Halfway through the book the story jumps forward in time, and page by page, the two storylines become one.
A wonderful and intriguing read.”

The Thousand Names – Django Wexler
Recommended by Tiemen

“There is a distinct possibility after reading this book you will yell ‘Form square!’ at random people in public.
This is a fun and exciting read. Instead of the same old, same old medieval fantasy setting this is so called Musket fantasy; a story deeply inspired by the age of the Napoleonic Wars.
And even though this is fantasy, Wexler has grounded it in a firm foundation of military history and knowledge. Wexler knows his musket from his bayonet and the way he portrays how an army in the Napoleonic age would function is done in a marvelous and interesting way.
Add in a few heartpounding battles – FORM SQUARE! – a Holmes & Watsonesque relationship between the commander and his second-in-command, a mystery about a magical artifact and you get one very entertaining and thrilling read.”

Every Day is for the Thief – Teju Cole
Recommended by Renate

“Previously only published in Nigeria (2007), but now
available for everyone. Yes!

This is a sad and funny book about going home
and trying to make sense of the journey and yourself and
the world along the way.

Cole’s prose is sensual and vivid and clear”

Nostalgia: The Russian Empire of Czar Nicholas II – Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii
Recommended by Marten

“Behind the somewhat offensive title lies a truly a incredible body of work. These color photographs have been taken between 99 and a 110 years ago. The encounter with people and the world of more then a century ago has never seem more vivid! The silence of a world without automobiles more condemning!”

What We’re Reading: Spring 2014

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

PeterL: The Farm – Tom Rob Smith.  A young man in London gets a call from his father in Sweden.  ”Things aren’t going well with your mother, she’s in the hospital, she’s psychotic.” One day later he gets a call from his mom: “I’m not crazy.  Your father is in league with dangerous criminals.  I’m coming to see you now.”  All this while the young man has been trying to find a good moment to tell his parents he’s gay.  Everything’s going to pot; this used to be one happy family.  But who’s telling the truth?  An exciting thriller, good pace, with subject matter that means a lot to me.

Ester: Pluto, vol. 1 – 8 (i.e. the entire series) - Urasawa X Tezuka

Simone: Secret Smile – Nicci French (ebook available here) and Bark – Lorrie Moore.

Renate: Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 – Francine Prose (ebook) and rereading Middlemarch – George Eliot (ebook).  It’s even more beautiful the second time.

Lilia: Star Trek: Spock’s World – Diane Duane.  Currently out of print, but copies are available through our supplier of second-hand books.  I’m also reading Inked Armour – Helena Hunting (ebook), actually the second part of her Clipped Wings series. I do intend to read part 1 (ebook) too… :-D   And after that will be Twelve Angry Men for my book club…

Maarten: Meriswin – Hafid Bouazza

Sophie: Tigerman – Nick Harkaway (ebook) and From a Distance – Raffaella Barker (ebook).  I’ve been waiting for Tigerman for ages, and am enjoying it very much.  It’s a rather subdued Harkaway book (compared to his previous two) but the friendship/father-son relationship he describes between a man and a boy is entirely believable, and very sweet.  But there are still exploding custard cans, masked vigilantes and it’s all set on an island about to be wiped off the face of the earth, so there’s still some crazy Harkaway action.  I’m only on page 5 or so of the Raffaella Barker book, but I know it will be good.  She’s one of those writers that should be read more by the general public, because her stories are always well told, well written and peopled with characters you really want to root for.

Tiemen: Lock In – John Scalzi.  It’s coming out in August but the editor was kind enough to send me an ARC.

JeroenW: Chronic City – Jonathan Lethem (ebook).  A bit of blather in New York City.

Nicki:  The Leopard - Jo Nesbø (ebook).  The Harry Hole series is AMAZING! (The Leopard is nr 8.)  Especially when compared to Mo Hayder’s Jack Caffery books (ebook). Which I also enjoy, but they are not as rich as Nesbø’s stories.  I think Mr. Nesbø is a superstar :-)

Martijn: The Deaths of Tao – Wesley Chu (ebook).  Part 2 after The Lives of Tao (ebook), which I thought was top notch popcorn (science)fiction.

Jouke: The Crimson Campaign – Brian McClellan (The Powder Mage, #2)(ebook)

Daria: Too Big to Know – David Weinberger.  About how “knowledge” (shape, content, realisation) has changed with the advent of the internet, the pros and cons of this change, and how to deal with it.  Really interesting!

Klaartje:  Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan (ebook)

Barry:  Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan (ebook). An absolute gem!  I can highly recommend this charming book, especially after reading The Circle (ebook).

Store Bits: Staff Choices

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

A new round of Staff Choices of both new and old books.  Enjoy!

A History of Future Cities -Daniel Brook
Recommended by Sigrid

“A pioneering exploration of four cities where East meets West and past becomes future: St. Petersburg, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Dubai. The cities share an important characteristic: they were planned as cities of the future. The premise of the city of tomorrow is a fascinating one, and this book is a wealth of information.”

Redeployment – Phil Klay (ebook here)
Recommended by Renate & Reinoud

“Honest and brutal and moving stories about war and coming home and
life as you knew it”

The Gone-Away World – Nick Harkaway (ebook)
Recommended by Sophie

“What a debut!
A post-apocalyptic world gone mad, featuring Heroes, mimes, kung-fu, Stuff, and a massive plot twist that throws the entire story on its head.
I loved it.”

The Goblin Emperor – Katherine Addison
Recommended by Tiemen

“Warning, do not read this book. You will read it in one go and then curse the author because you do not want the story to end.
This is one of those stories where everything just works. A well thought out world: elves, goblins, airships and a incredibly detailed and intriguing Byzantine-like imperial court. An very likeable protagonist who you can’t help but root for. And a smart story about politics, doing the right thing and deadly court intrigue.
All I hope is that Katherine Addison will write a second novel soon.
In the meantime I’ll be rereading The Goblin Emperor again.”

Hyperion – Dan Simmons (ebook)
Recommended by JeroenW

“Don’t let the cover fool you into thinking this is a fantasy novel. In fact, it’s a love letter to science fiction. It’s a frame story about six travellers who are going to meet the The Shrike, a supernatural being covered in razorsharp blades.
During their travels the companions each tell their reason for doing so, and each of their stories is representative of a science fiction sub-genre (military SF, cyberpunk etc.).
A great introduction to SF, and a great read.”

Store Bits: Staff Choices

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Some more newly-added Staff Choices (not necessarily of new books, though :-) ).

I Didn’t Do My Homework Because… – Benjamin Chaud & Davide Cali
Recommended by Shirley

“I would have been happy if I had this book when I was a kid… A very funny excuse is: ‘I had to help my uncle build a high-tech do-my-homework-for-me machine, but when finally finished, it didn’t work.’”

Annihilation – Jeff VanderMeer (ebook)
Recommended by JeroenW

“This book is really spooky. A Lovecraftian tale for the modern age, unsettling and surreal.
Already one of my favorite reads of 2014!”

Battle Cry of Freedom – James McPherson (ebook)
Recommended by Jeroen

“More than 25 years after its first publication, still by far the best overview of th American Civil War.
Excellent analysis of its causes and well-written.”

The Savage Altar – Asa Larsson (ebook)
Recommended by Nicki

“I re-started this after getting distracted years ago. It has been ’staring’ at me ever since and I’m so pleased that I pulled it out of my book case again.
Her descriptions of the Kiruna countryside, the Swedish winter and the people have me wanting to book my next vacation there!”

The Conqueror’s Shadow – Ari Marmell (ebook)
Recommended by Jouke

“Slick magic, dry humor, and brutal action is what this book is about.
It’s a welcome change of pace from the myriad of generic, dime-a-dozen fantasy titles.”