Archive for the ‘Renate’ Category

Our Favorite Reads: Renate, Lynn, Maarten

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

It’s time for this blog’s favorite posts of the year: the ABC Staff’s Favorite Reads of 2014! We hope these books, magazines, games, and more will help you start your new literary year with a bang.

We want to know about YOUR favorite reads, too.  They don’t have to be books published in 2014, just read in 2014.  Please mail your Top 5 reads, and your reasons for enjoying them so much, to by Christmas Day.  Your favorites will kick off the new year for this blog, as they have done for the past 7 years, and you will receive a € 7,50 ABC Gift Certificate as a thank you!


Gift Ideas for Avid Readers

Friday, November 14th, 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!

Today is the day that all you avid readers of fiction get your chance to look through our suggestions.  Not to suggest that non-fiction readers are any less avid, but generally speaking, Fiction, Romance, Poetry and Memoirs & Essays readers log those page numbers the most (together with the Geeks and the Sleuths, of course).  :-)   Happy reading! If you want more tips, meet our Fiction buyers: Renate, Reinoud, and Simone.

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.


Ebook available for Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, Stone Mattress, The Bone Clocks, Us, and Barracuda.


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).

Meet the Buyers: Fiction

Friday, May 9th, 2014

We want to introduce you to the faces behind the books. First up is one the largest sections, in both stores: Fiction. Meet Simone, Fiction buyer at ABC The Hague, and Renate and Reinoud, Fiction buyers at ABC Amsterdam.

How long have you been the Fiction buyer?

Simone: Since 2000.
Renate: Since 2009.
Reinoud: From 2005 – 2010 and again since 2013.

Which author(s) do you ALWAYS keep in stock?

Simone: James Clavell, Jean Auel, Philip Roth, John Irving, Haruki Murakami.
Renate: Clarice Lispector, Joan Didion, Virginia Woolf, Jonathan Franzen, Lydia Davis.
Reinoud: James Salter, Natsume Soseki, John Updike, Evan S. Connell.

Which author(s) should be read more widely and why?

Simone: Lorrie Moore. She has a unique voice, and a wonderfully quirky use of language. She’s gaining popularity in the US. Hopefully her new short story collection (Bark) will make her more well-known in Europe, too.
Renate: Clarice Lispector because she is Virginia Woolf-meets-Kafka-meets-Joyce, all wrapped in a Brazilian layer of passion. Alejandro Zambra also; every one of his books is a gem. Truly stunning!
Reinoud: Soseki. He is a Japanese author from the Meiji period who wrote the first modern novel. Besides that he pretty much tried every literary style. Oh, Janet Lewis also deserves an audience.

How do you decide what new titles to buy for stock?

Simone: Through customer queries, publisher suggestions, newspaper and/or internet reviews. Anything that has a buzz about it, really.
Renate: I check the positive reviews in the New York Times or the Guardian. I also order books I would love to read (besides the big names you have to have). I want to create a bit of a niche; books that other bookstores wouldn’t have. It’s very much a question of feeling, intuition.
Reinoud: Whatever takes my fancy. (It’s chaos.)

What has been the best-selling Fiction title of 2014 so far?

Simone + Renate + Reinoud: The Circle by Dave Eggers.

Name some hotly-anticipated summer releases.

Simone: The new Murakami, the paperback edition of Bleeding Edge, the small paperback edition of The Circle, Tigerman by Nick Harkaway, and the small paperback of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize winner, of course.
Renate: The new Francine Prose and the new Rivka Galchen. I’m also waiting for the new editions of Muriel Spark’s works, like The Informed Air, from New Directions press.
Reinoud: Updike by Adam Begley. Updike was a genius.

Ebooks (currently) available for: Bonsai, Botchan, The Circle, Bleeding Edge and Updike.