Archive for the ‘Steven’ Category

Staff Review: American Savage – Dan Savage

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Dan Savage: Bane of the Hypocrites

Reviewed by Steven

Two thoughts kept running through my mind as I was reading Dan Savage’s book of essays called American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics. They were: ‘Preaching to the choir!’ and ‘God, am I glad that I do not live in America.’ Savage does an excellent job of poking holes in the rhetoric of right-wing, hypocritical and generally religious zealots (of which there seem to be a lot in the US) with regards to social issues. This seems like a frustrating and thankless job to me, as they are not the kind of people to come up with rational arguments based on impartial research. Instead, they excel at circular, emotive reasoning and pointing at Holy Books, insisting that some sections should be followed to the letter by all – even by non-believers – while ignoring parts of the text that are inconvenient to them and parts that are obviously morally reprehensible by current standards. A detailed and reasonable counter-argument likely won’t yield more reaction than them putting their fingers in their ears and the continued insistence that everyone blindly live by their hand-picked moral absolutes. Even if they themselves don’t actually adhere to them. Reality be damned!

I admire Savage because he actually takes the time and effort to fight stupidity. Even though he is unlikely to get through to the enemy, it’s good for the left-wing to see their opinions clearly verbalized. Savage’s rallying of liberal troops and pushing people into action is necessary. Zealots have more righteous fight in them than moderates, and are better at wrangling their followers, putting them into action. People need to keep pushing back, to expose hypocritical, immoral extremists for what they are and to keep them from fooling the sometimes sheepish mainstream. I have to non-religiously confess that I am someone who believes in an absolute separation of church and state. So I ironically count my blessings that I live in the relatively relaxed Netherlands, where people generally believe what they want and don’t try to impose their religious beliefs on others by law.

As always, Savage’s writing is funny and smooth, the flow only broken by a few overly long footnotes. The topics and opinions will be familiar to anyone who reads his columns and/or listens to his podcasts. He does indeed cover faith, sex, love and politics – as the subtitle of the book suggests – and talks about gun control, healthcare and euthanasia, among other things. There is a touching piece about the death of his mother and a sneak peek behind the curtain of a debate he had with a zealot he invited over to his house for dinner (a long and entertaining story). A lot of the specifics for these essays are very America-centric, as the title already suggests. If you don’t care about American politics, you may not care about some of the content. But if you do care even a little bit about the messy ways in which politics and religion are colliding in the US of A, it is a fascinating and entertaining read. Though it may leave you angry.

Steven is one of the Espresso Book Machine operators in Amsterdam, and a large part of our Special Order department there, too.  He is the author of Gay and Happy: The International Guide for Gay Men.  More of Steven’s reviews can be found on his blog, PopCultJunk.

Pulp Fiction – it’s not just a Tarantino movie!

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

The holiday season is long gone and the dull and dreary months of January and February are enveloping us like a dull and dreary envelope. Time for some fantastical adventures in worlds that sparkle with excitement and melodrama!

There be fiendishly perplexing mysteries, investigated by dark and stormy detectives. There be ghostly apparitions, the rattling of bones and things that go bump in the night. There even be big, buxom women, apparently from Mars! Wildside Press has kept these otherwise hard-to-find gems in print and thanks to the magic of our Espresso Book Machines, we can have them ready for you, freshly made, often on the same day you order them. So have a look at this list of available titles and leave the mundane behind for a while. Dive into the world of Pulp Fiction!

More Wildside Press titles are available – if you can’t find what you are looking for, send your request to and we will check if we can print it for you.

ABC’s Favorite Reads 2013, part 5: Maarten, Steven, Tom

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

It’s my favorite part of the blogging year: our favorite reads! The ABC staff has looked through all the books and magazines they’ve read over the past year, or games they played, or stationery they used, and picked out their top 5 (or 4, or 8). Every single item in these posts comes highly recommended, and we hope to add some ideas to your 2014 reading list.

Of course, we always love reading tips ourselves, too, and so we hope you will send in YOUR favorite reads of 2013 to us. They don’t have to be books published in 2013, just read in 2013. Please mail your Top 5 (and why these books were so good) to by December 31st, and don’t forget to include your home address so we can send you an ABC gift certificate in the new year as a thank you. As has become a tradition, your Top 5s will be published in January.

This fifth Favorite Reads post comes courtesy of



Store Bits: DH sections, trams, giveaway, “legendary” & amazing books

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

If you’re planning to visit ABC The Hague, don’t be surprised if you can’t, at first, find your favorite non-fiction books.  We’ve done a MAJOR switcharound but no worries, all sections are still alive and kicking!  They’re just kicking in a different spot, is all.

The affected sections include: Ancient History, History, Military History, Law, Current Affairs & Politics, Science & Digital Age, Social Science, Business, Travel, Travel Literature, Religion, New Age and Poetry.

Just ask one of the staff to point you in the right direction if you’re lost.  Chances are we may need to do a bit of searching still, too.  :-)


The trams are running again, hooray!  The work on the road is all done and you can take your regular tram 1, 2 or 5 to the corner of ABC Amsterdam.


Did you know that Steven, one our of EBM operators, is also the author of a very popular book?  He is giving away 3 print copies of his book Gay and Happy over on Goodreads. Over 190 people have entered the lottery so far, but more are always welcome.  Only 12 days left to enter the draw, though, so best click over there now.


Author David Hewson (The Killing, the Nic Costa books) has us blushing thanks to this truly glowing article about last weekend’s launch of Colleen Geske’s Stuff Dutch People Like (pictures over here).  “Legendary” – wow.  Thanks for the praise, sir!


And Jilles sent in pictures of “some of the amazing and original books we carry” (that don’t get their own book launches or social media mentions).  Come browse, people, there’s always treasure to be found…  :-)

Writers on Demand – International!

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

As mentioned on a previous post we can now upload books to the international Espresso Book Machine network, allowing other EBM stores to print and sell your book. You will boldy be going where the following two test subjects went before. Their books are now available not only at ABC, but also across the border.

The Time Between – Bryna Hellmann-Gillson

Author Bryna Hellmann-Gillson describes her book, The Time Between, as a novel about the occupation of Holland in WWII, written for teenagers who know about Anne Frank, and not much else.

Here’s a novel about three young women and their brothers and friends during the German occupation. Pam smuggles Jewish children to safe houses, Jo helps to murder a Dutch collaborator, and Hannah looks for a man who can protect her. This is Amsterdam during those dangerous years: the Jewish star, deportation to the camps, the Hunger Winter, courage, loyalty, friendship and yes, of course, love.

Gay & Happy: the international guide for gay men – Steven van Lijnden

Steven van Lijnden is our very own EBM-operator in Amsterdam. He originally wrote his book Gay and Happy in Dutch, but it is now available in an adapted and updated English version.

Gay and Happy is a guide that aims to amuse, inform and advise you, whether you are about to bust out of the closet or have already experienced the highs and lows of guy-on-guy love. Coming out, the gay scene, dating, relationships, health and sex are all discussed, in a frank and adult manner.
The book has been written with an international readership in mind.In the back, you’ll find lists of books, movies, television series and a list with resources for easy reference. This title also contains over thirty illustrations.