My books of 2015 – Top 5

I like reading. A lot. In 2015 I read 43 books for a total of 17312 pages. Or, as Goodreads puts it: Schermafbeelding 2016-01-01 om 17.04.48

As reviewing 43 books is far too much work (and would make for a really long post) I will give you my top 5. If you want to see all I have read you can friend me on Goodreads.

1. Diana Gabaldon – The Outlander series

At the start of the year Starz premiered a new series. Outlander is set in Scotland, and revolves around a woman (Claire) who gets transported from the 20th century to the 18th century. I loved the show and, as it’s based on a series of books, I decided to read those books. In 2015 I read the first 3. I loved Outlander and Voyager, but Drums of Autumn started getting on my nerves. As the TV show hasn’t gotten that far into the story yet, I won’t tell why (spoilers!), but it may take a while before I pick up book 4.

2. Aziz Ansari – Modern Romance

I marathoned through Parks & Recreation at one point in 2015 (right before season 6 started). Even though Amy and Ben were my favorites, I loved the whole cast, including Tom played by Aziz Ansari. In 2015 he released a book which was discussed on a couple of podcasts I listen to. I was intrigued enough to check it out and I am very happy I did. Ansari is a stand-up comic, but Modern Romance isn’t just funny. It’s also insightful in how romance and dating has changed over the years. The book is a quick, funny and thought-provoking read.

3. Patti Smith – Just Kids

Apparently my recommendations this year won’t be YA fantasy books, which is what I read the most. I don’t really remember why I picked up Patti Smith’s Just Kids, as it’s not really a new release. I’m very glad I did though, because Patti Smith is a great storyteller, and has a great story to tell. Just Kids tells the story of her leaving her parental home and finding her place as a young artist in NYC. Not an easy life, but hard lives usually make for better stories.

4. Jenny Lawson – Furiously Happy

Furiously Happy: a mix of heartbreaking and hilarious stories. Just read it. Honestly.

5. Welcome To Night Vale

Night Vale, a small desert town where all conspiracy theories are true. Try out the podcast and, if you like that, pick up the book. Something for us weirdos :-)

Pentatonix – On My Way Home Tour

Last Sunday I got to see Pentatonix perform live again, at Vorst Nationaal in Brussels. This was the third time I’d seen them. I knew it’d be good, but I was still surprised by how much they’d improved. Each time the show is bigger and better.

The biggest shock of the evening was learning that they’d been dropped from their label a week after winning The Sing-Off. They were only signed again last year. That just doesn’t make sense to me. It was clear even on The Sing-Off that they’d be big. Which they are. They have the 24th most subscribed too YouTube channel. They won a Grammy. They had the best-selling Christmas album since 1964.

Anyway, here are some photos I took during the concert. All photos are up on Flickr.

PS: Mitch was exceptionally good, killing it during Aha!

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My books of 2014

Each year I write a post about the books I’ve read over the past year. This year I will (once again) try to do it a little bit different. Instead of mentioning all the books I’ve read, I will give you my top 5 suggestions based on what I’ve read.

1. Rainbow Rowell

I discovered this author this past year, and immediately fell in love with her writing. She writes amazing young adult stories that will make you laugh, cry and cheer for the main characters. This past year I read Eleanor & Park, Fangirl: A Novel and Landline. I am very much looking forward to reading more by this author.

2. The Kingkiller Chronicle

So far, there are 2 books in this fantasy series by Patrick Rothfuss. Both The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One and The Wise Man’s Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 2) are long reads (670 and 1000 pages respectively), but well worth it. I loved getting to know Kvothe through him telling his life’s story, and I can’t wait to read whatever comes next.

3. The Rosie Project

This book I started reading because I saw that my best friend, Anne-Sophie, had loved it so much. After I finished the book I gave it to my dad as a birthday present. He likes getting gifts that other people loved. Its follow-up, The Rosie Effect, was also very good.

4. The Giver

The Giver (Giver Quartet, Book 1) was a very enjoyable book, showing a boy who defies the path society has set for him and how things that appear perfect on the outside can be very messed up inside. I’ve read, though I don’t know if it’s true, that this has already become a classic in American schools. The book was released in 1994. Although I really enjoyed this book, I do not feel any need to read the others in the series. The story felt finished to me.

5. The Circle

My advice, do not read this book (sorry, dad, I did not like it all). I hated the way The Circle portrayed social media and the internet, like everybody online is a sheep who will do whatever is told to them and has no ability to think critically. This is not the world we live in, thankfully.

If you have any suggestions of books I should read in 2015, please let me know.

Discovering home

I recently moved into my first apartment. With a big deadline at work, getting my apartment set up and the bad weather I hadn’t had the time or energy to go out and explore much. I decided to change that today and went for a long walk along the water.

Here are some photos I took while exploring this new city that is, or will be, home.

More photos on Flickr

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