Archive for the ‘Ester’ Category


Should you judge a book by its cover color?

Monday, September 1st, 2014

In July this year our store in Amsterdam had a great window: Blue books everywhere and some accompanying questions like “I’m looking for a book I saw here the other day, the blue one” or “I don’t remember the title, but it was blue.”  Believe it or not, we do get these kind of questions quite often. That shows you how important the cover, and certainly the color, is as part of the book.

As a follow-up to the blue window, two colleagues of the The Hague store, Simone and myself, got the idea to add some permanent color to the ABC’s website recommendations. Under the “C” you will now find nine lists, all made up of books sorted by cover color.

While adding these recommendations I noticed that the cover colors are ’section sensitive’. For instance, you’ll find a lot of blue and black books in the Business/Economics section, and most other non-fiction sections -come to think of it- harboring books that want to send out a message of dependability, authority and intelligence. Black is also often seen in covers of Sci-Fi books -the color of  space out there? ;-) - and Thrillers, where death and grief is often an issue. In the Psychology and Health sections you will see a lot of the color white, mostly associated with calm, space and peacefulness.

You can probably guess the most used color in the Nature/Gardening section: that’s right, green, the color of nature, trees, plants and grass. (And grass = soccer = green covers in the Sports section as well.)  And what about pink? Well, it’s a feminine color and therefore the color of a lot of style and fashion books and, of course, ideal for the Romance books, except for the really hot and steamy ones, which often have -blush- red (don’t forget the firemen) on their covers.

That said, most of our beloved books aren’t just one color and knowing what some colors mean, they aren’t always relevant to the content of the book. Sometimes the colors are just nice and/or go well together. So, although colors might be used for strategic and commercial purposes, don’t stare yourself blind (oh my gosh, a pun!) on them.

(Read more about cover colors here.)

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).

This Just In: Plays

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Six Recently-Arrived Titles from the Plays/Drama Section:

Please be sure to contact our stores for an exact stock check.

Ebook available for Doubt, August: Osage County, Our Town and The Oedipus Cycle.

Store Bits: Blind Dates, Windows and Inventory

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Tiemen took the idea and ran with it at ABC Amsterdam, and now Ester has followed suit at ABC The Hague: Blind Date with a Book.  Choose from Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy and/or Mysteries & Thrillers!

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The Amsterdam Window Team has done another stellar job with a Carson McCullers tribute.  See our Facebook page for more pictures.

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And finally, a beautiful shot from this past Inventory Day at ABC Amsterdam.  All those books, one by one.  :-)

Saw the movie? Read the book!

Friday, January 17th, 2014

These January movies are based on books:


Ender’s Game: Based on Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (ebook here).  Did you notice Harrison Ford took out his earring for this role?

Parkland: Based on Four Days in November: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy by Vincent Bugliosi.  Although based on a true story and depicting real-life people, the end credits state: “All characters in this film are fictional and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.” (source: IMDb)

Philomena: Based on The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith (ebook here)(retitled to Philomena for the movie).  Did you know Judi Dench is “only” 5′ 1″ (1,55 m) tall?

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Based on the short story The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber.  Tagline: Stop dreaming. Start living.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit: Based, not on a specific book, but on the character Jack Ryan as created by Tom Clancy.  Ryan first appeared in 1984, in The Hunt for Red October (ebook here).  Personal quote by Tom Clancy: “The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.”

The Wolf of Wall Street: Based on The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort (ebook here).  An oopsie: During the interview at the FBI office, the evidence box moves by itself to right next to Belfort. (source: IMDb)

The Book Thief: Based on The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (ebook here).  In this film, Death has a voice. POSSIBLY SOMETHING LIKE THE VOICE OF DISCWORLD’S DEATH.

Edited to add: The Congress: “Inspired by” The Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem (ebook here).  Director Ari Folman’s previous movie was Waltz with Bashir.

Bonus movies based on books:

I, Frankenstein: Based on the (currently unavailable) graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux.  Director/writer Stuart Beattie is known for co-screenwriting parts 2 and 3 of Pirates of the Caribbean.