We’ve been on the move so much this summer that we haven’t done as much reading as usual. Here’s what Jette has read so far this trip:
She’s enjoyed them all and is reluctant to choose a favorite.
Last week we watched the Lord of the Rings movies, and we have just downloaded all of the Tolkien novels for her. She also got some recommendations from Mia, which we will probably add to her Kindle tonight.
I’ve read read a couple of historical fiction novels by David Bliss:
It has been years (!) since I’ve read fiction, but this was a good read, especially given our travel agenda. It paints an interesting picture of Amsterdam in the latter half of the 1600’s when the Dutch dominated global trade and Amsterdam was the commercial hub of the world.
Here’s the Amazon blurb describing the book:
Author David Liss once again travels back in time to a crucial moment in cultural and financial history. His destination: Amsterdam, 1659—a mysterious world of trade populated by schemers and rogues, where deception rules the day.
On the world’s first commodities exchange, fortunes are won and lost in an instant. Miguel Lienzo, a sharp-witted trader in the city’s close-knit community of Portuguese Jews, knows this only too well. Once among the city’s most envied merchants, Miguel has lost everything in a sudden shift in the sugar markets. Now, impoverished and humiliated, living on the charity of his petty younger brother, Miguel must find a way to restore his wealth and reputation.
Miguel enters into a partnership with a seduc-tive Dutchwoman who offers him one last chance at success—a daring plot to corner the market of an astonishing new commodity called “coffee.” To succeed, Miguel must risk everything he values and test the limits of his commercial guile, facing not only the chaos of the markets and the greed of his competitors, but also a powerful enemy who will stop at nothing to see him ruined. Miguel will learn that among Amsterdam’s ruthless businessmen, betrayal lurks everywhere, and even friends hide secret agendas.
With humor, imagination, and mystery, David Liss depicts a world of subterfuge, danger, and repressed longing, where religious and cultural traditions clash with the demands of a new and exciting way of doing business. Readers of historical suspense and lovers of coffee (even decaf) will be up all night with this beguiling novel.
It was an interesting way to tell the story of the evolution of markets and finance. I enjoyed it. It’s a subject that interests me so I bought a couple of his other novels:
The Conspiracy of Paper was also a good read and seemed especially relevant given our current economic situation. I’m about halfway though The Devil’s Company. So far, it’s decent but feels weaker than the other two. I’m not sure if this is a function of the book or if I am just getting a bit tired of the genre and style. I may set it aside and come back to it later.
Oh, I signed up for Kindle Unlimited, but have found that few of the books that I want to read are included, and that searching for Kindle Unlimited books using the Kindle Touch is a VERY clunky process. It is easy to see what is popular, but it is hard to search for specific titles. As a result, I’ve struggled to find anything that I want to read on Kindle Unlimited. I downloaded and read one of the Amazon recommended spy-thrillers: Ratcatcher. I finished it, but probably won’t been continuing with the series.
Unless Mila and Jette find some books they want, I will cancel the Unlimited subscription and just buy books individually. It’s too bad. I like the idea of the subscription model, but if the content isn’t there…
We’ve brought two Kindles with us. Jette has a Paperwhite and I have a Kindle Touch (thank you Grandad!). The Paperwhite is a big improvement over the Touch because of the backlit screen. There have been many nights, especially when camping in the tent, that I would have liked to have read for a few minutes before I went to sleep but did not because the Kindle Touch does not have an illuminated screen. If you are in the market for a Kindle, I would suggest that you consider the Paperwhite.
Of course we can read using the Kindle apps on our phones and computers, but with power and charging a challenge when we are camping, we have’t been. Here in Amsterdam, that is certainly an option, but for readers, having a Kindle device with a easy-to-read screen and good battery life is worth the weight in your luggage and (lack of) hassle charging it every once in a while – they have great battery life.
Have YOU read any good books this summer?
Tell us about them in the comments!
Several years ago I read a book titled ‘Tulipomania’. It was also about Amsterdam in the 1600’s when tulip trading was part of the boom and bust economy. Very interesting–some of the bulbs sold for thousands of dollars apiece!
I haven’t read it, but I think my parents have it on their bookshelf at home. Holland in the 1600’s was a pretty happening place!
Hi guys! I’ve been keeping up-to-date with all your postings on Field Trip X.
I received Mila’s lovely postcard yesterday 🙂 Love seeing all the pics & reading about your adventures. Those Swiss Alpes were breathtakingly beautiful! Your bike ride video stressed me out (you were going so fast with weak breaks…mama mia). And poor Mila with her broken arm.
No good books to recommend yet but I have one I’ll be reading on the beach soon & will let you know if it’s worth a read.
Hugs to all & a special extra belated birthday tight hug for Jette (love the earrings)!
Thank you! Thinking of you. In fact, we’re about to go visit a local bakery that serves mille-feuille cakes on Saturdays. We’ll let you know how it compares to Lady M. Enjoy the beach!
Have you considered reading with Jette Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book”? I think it won either the Newberry or the National Book Award — regardless, it is a great book. Wonderful for adults and kids too. If you aren’t a fan of Gaiman yet, you might consider reading his amazing “American Gods.”
If you are looking for books for yourself, have you seen that Neal Stephenson has a new book out? You gave me his Cryptomicon years ago so I assume you are a fan. You might also consider Don Winslow’s new novel “The Cartel” — I think you would like his style (and I am basing this on his book “Savages,” which I read and liked).
Also, did I give you Phillip Meyer’s “The Son”? If not, or if you have not read it, you might do so — it kind of tells the story of Texas through the generations of a single family. A cowboy Buddenbrooks, of sorts! I read it about a month ago and really liked it.
Great suggestions, thank you. Jette says The Graveyard Book “sounds good!”
I don’t think you sent me “The Son” but I’m not sure. If you did, it is packed away with all of our other stuff in storage. I enjoyed Cryptonomicon, but didn’t make it through the Baroque Cycle. Might give his new one a shot though. The others sound good as well. Thanks!
One more thing — if you are serious about reading all things ‘Dutch’ or ‘Amsterdam,’ you might consider, for non-fiction, Simon Schama’s generally well-regarded work of popular history “The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age”
Check this out too:
Hermann Koch, who is Dutch, is everywhere these days and his dark novels have made quite a splash in Europe and in the US.
Regrettably, it looks like there is not a KINDLE edition of The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age. Bummer! I might pick up the paperback before we get back on bikes. Don’t want to have to carry a physical book once we are back on the move. We have enough junk already.